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Canada

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – The Judge and the Hijab

Posted March 1, 2015 by The Arbourist

I’m always impressed with La Belle Province and her ability to serve up controversy. Recently a judge in Quebec decided that a hijab was considered not to be suitable attire for her courtroom and dismissed a case when the litigant refused to comply with her request. The judge’s words courtesy of the CBC:

“Hats and sunglasses for example, are not allowed. And I don’t see why scarves on the head would be either,” Marengo says in the recording.

“The same rules need to be applied to everyone. I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing (Read more…)

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General

Winter’s Chill

Posted February 27, 2015 by Marguerite

It was a slow start to winter this year.  We had reasonably warm temperatures and little to no snow for all of December and January.  February changed all that. A lovely day to go to the beachA thick blanket of snow fell down and covered the …

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General

19 Year Old Non Verbal Autistic Man Evicted From Miramichi Special Care Home Because He Is An Adult

Posted February 26, 2015 by H L Doherty

Huge gaps remain n New Brunswick’s adult autism residential care and treatment system. An autism specific residential care and treatment centre and autism specific group home system is needed to bridge those gaps. 

HON. CATHY ROGERS

Minister of Social Development
HON. VICTOR BOUDREAU
Minister of Health
HON. BILL FRASER 
MLA Miramichi 
HON. STEPHEN HORSMAN
MLA Fredericton North
As an autism advocate for over 15 years in New Brunswick (and father of a 19 year old severely autistic son) I was saddened, though not at all surprised, to read the report by Samantha Magee of the  Miramichi Leader of a 19-year-old, non verbal autistic man whose family was informed by Social Development on Feb 9 that he would not be able to remain in his special care accommodations in Miramichi: after February although he has been given a reprieve until March 31. The Leader reported that his transition to adulthood was the reason for the forced departure:
“Bob Daley, residential services manager for M.O.R.E. Services Inc., said in an emailed statement to the Miramichi Leader that the issue is related to Brandon’s age and funding.
“For a number of years, M.O.R.E. Services has been providing a children’s service in the upstairs apartment of the home in question. When a resident reaches the age of 19, they are no longer considered a child and therefore receive services through adult programs,” he said.”
I have been involved with public autism advocacy in New Brunswick and Canada  for over 15 years.   I know that there have been several high profile incidents of youths and young men being sent to the Spurwink facility in Maine at considerable public expense because autism specific treatment and residential accommodation including drops off between the ages of 15 (Stan Cassidy Autism Centre) and 19. 
Concerns over the lack of adult autism treatment and care facilities have been presented to successive governments for over a decade.  A proposal by distinguished autism expert, clinical psychologist and UNB professor emeritus (psychology) Paul MdConnell Ph.D. was made public in 2010 on the CBC web site.  The proposal for a Fredericton based autism residential treatment and care facility (near the UNB-CEL Autism staff and the Stan Cassidy Autism Centre also included autism specific group homes with autism trained staff and oversight from the Fredericton centre.
New Brunswick has been a Canadian and North American leader ( as recognized by the Association for Science in Autism Treatment) in establishing early intervention services. We have also made advances in autism trained education aides and resource teachers.  There is no reason in principle that we could not have extended the expertise we have developed to the adult care and treatment level as described by Professor McDonnell (CBC, 2010) and provided both a centre for those with severe autism needing permanent care, treatment and oversight and autism specific group homes in Miramichi and around the province to keep as many autistic people as possible close to home, family and community.
Cost has not been the primary obstacle in the refusal to develop an autism centre and network of autism specific group homes.  Costs of sending each person to Spurwink have been estimated at approximately $300,000 per year and would be saved with the development of the NB based adult care network.  Jobs would also be created in the center and group homes for the trained staff.
As a father of a now 19 year old severely autistic adult son I genuinely empathize with the Miramichi adult and his family and I can provide no reasonable explanation as a long time public autism advocate as  to why NB with its proven ability to develop a well recognized early autism intervention program, and its extension of that program to train our school teachers and aides can not organize a centre based network with autism specific group homes around the province.  Had that been done years ago the current situation in Miramichi would probably not have arisen.
Please take this letter seriously, as a call to action to develop the autism centre and group home network proposed by Professor Emeritus Paul McDonnell in 2010.
Please act to provide residential care and treatment for NB’s severely challenged autistic adults before more time is needlessly wasted.
Respectfully,
Harold L Doherty
Fredericton North
New Brunswick
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Canada

The Winter Getaway… And Energizer EcoAdvanced Giveaway!

Posted February 26, 2015 by Sonya

When it comes to traveling with kids, we’d like to think we’ve got it all figured out. We’ve got packing down to a science, well, except for me… I always over pack shoes. Like our recent trip to San Francisco […]

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Family

A rare ski day

Posted February 23, 2015 by andrea tomkins

Mark and I have learned two things about winter during our parenting careers: 1) Unless we get out there and find a way to enjoy it, this six month season of sub zero torture will seem EVEN LONGER THAN IT IS. 2) By dressing appropriately and reframing our idea of “cold,” we are better equipped […]

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Beauty

Hello, Beautiful… Here’s a Giveaway For You!

Posted February 20, 2015 by Loukia

I just got back from an amazing quick trip to Toronto. Thank you, Almay Canada, for flying me to Toronto and for putting me up in the ultra-cool Hotel Le Germain at Maple Leaf Square, so I could attend the beautiful breakfast event at Aria. It was a lovely treat, and a pleasure being there in person. Are you ready to talk makeup? (And win some great beauty products from Almay, too?)

Almay is a brand we all know and love, but did you know that Almay was the first hypoallergenic cosmetics brand? Almay uses hypoallergenic ingredients, and tests all products with dermatologists and ophthalmologists. This is really important to me, becuase what I put on my face as part of my beauty routine has to pass a few tests—and Almay passes, with flying colours. Almay is celebrating its hypoallergienic heritage with a fresh take on beauty—pure beauty.

Almay understands that women and moms are busy—we wear many hats, and accomplish more before 9 a.m. than is sometimes humanly possible! We juggle full-time jobs, meet deadlines, attend meetings, get the children ready for school, take our children to their after school activities, volunteer, run the household, and, somehow, we make time for ourselves.

Almay knows that mornings are busy, and they’ve helped simplify my beauty routine with a few beauty product must-haves, like:

Almay Smart Shade Skintone Matching Makeup: Almay Smart Shade Skintone Matching Makeup is a great foundation that is very lightweight, complete with SPF 15. The perfect start to your beauty routine.


Almay One Coat Get Up And Grow Mascara: Mascara can be tricky; many different brands promise amazing things for your lashes but few actually work as well as they say they do. I had my make-up applied by a make-up artists and was blown away by how great Almay’s mascara worked on my lashes, especially because it’s a completely affordable product. This mascara really lengthened the look of my lashes and the anti-breakage pro-vitamin formula helps protect my lashes too. (Also, mascara applied on lower lashes? A look I was scared to try before, but now, I love!)


Almay Smart Shade Butter Kiss Lipstick: You guys, I own hundreds of lipsticks. I know I’m not alone here; shopping for lipstick is fun. Of course, very few become personal favourites of mine, and even fewer can do two things at once: moisturize my lips, and give great colour. This lipstick by Almay does both these things! I am in love with Almay’s new Butter Kiss Lipstick because of the great colours and also because it’s a product that does what it is supposed to. It’s a creamy lipstick that is hydrating, with ingredients like jojoba, coconut oil, and vitamin E. There are 12 shades to choose from, and each lipstick is under ten dollars. Amazing.

Almay Intense I-Colou Smoky-I Kits: These eye shadow kits are perfect for creating a mistake-proof (seriously!) eye look, from day to night. This pretty eye shadow trios are easy to apply, last a very long time, and come in four shades for Blues, Browns, Hazels, and Greens, although you can definitely mix and match them to get the desired colour you want.

The Almay Eyeliner is a great smudge-proof eyeliner that lasts all day. So even if you’re in the office in front of a computer all day, your eyes will look as great at 5 p.m. as they did when you first applied your make-up in the morning.

I’m also a fan of the Almay Makeup Removers for eyes and face, because they are very gentle. They also do a great job of taking off my eye make-up at the end of the day with irritating my eyes.

Not only did I discover new makeup with Almay, but I also had the pleasure of meeting the authors of How To Feed A Family—these two busy moms (and bloggers) are the new faces of Almay Canada, and hearing them talk about how they find balance in their life (with great tips like packing lunches the night before, keeping everything by the front door, cooking dinners that become lunch the next day, and using the weekend to do some batch cooking or baking, so you’ll have something for the kids to eat during the week) was helpful. Laura Keogh (former Beauty Director of FASHION Magazine) and Ceri Marsh (former editor-in-chief of FASHION Magazine) were lovely to speak to, and have motivated me to cook more. (Thanks, ladies!)

We even got to take home cookie mix, and pick our own toppings. A beautiful breakfast event in Toronto, in a room full of amazing, smart ladies, while testing out the latest beauty products by Almay? A perfect day.

I’m giving away something special from Almay, for one of my lovely readers, too! Enter to win a package that includes the book How To Feed A Family, and the latest beauty products from Almay Canada.
Just leave me a comment below sharing one tip that helps you get out the door in the morning! Please remember to leave your contact information, too.
Winner will be selected randomly on February 27th.
Good Luck, beautiful!
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General

Notes from a Dim Sum convert

Posted February 19, 2015 by andrea tomkins

This is a peek at my lunch yesterday. A group of us from the office went for Dim Sum at Yangtze: Fitting eh? Since today is the Chinese New Year. :) Funny thing: I cannot for the life of me remember if I’ve been here before. I MUST have been, years ago, but my brain […]

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General

A rafter of turkey tales

Posted February 19, 2015 by Jennifer A. Jilks

I glanced out the back window, and spotted the turkeys huddling together for warmth. The leader would pop up his head and the others hunkered down in the -20 C. weather. Then peek and hunker down!

They are fascinating critters, with heads lacking feat…

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Activism

Looking for Heroes?

Posted February 19, 2015 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

I’ve been watching The Book of Negroes this week. I have no words. I only recognize justice, integrity, brutality, acknowledgement, witnessing, story telling and a myriad of other foggy responses. It’s easy to also ponder qualities of heroes. Then I read this from earlier this week, and nodded. Do you get it? Anishinabe Women Protest … Continue reading Looking for Heroes?

People who read this page, also read:

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General

Family Day weekend recap (a few words but mostly photos)

Posted February 17, 2015 by andrea tomkins

Despite the subarctic temperatures and lack of skiing/skating/outdoor activities I declare our Valentine’s/Family Day weekend a big success. It began, of course, with a PD day on Friday. I worked while the girls lolled around and binge-watched a string of Veronica Mars episodes. Valentine’s Day was Saturday. Mark made me my morning coffee. I made his. […]

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Canada

But Will Harper’s C-51 Save Us From Mad Cow? No!

Posted February 13, 2015 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Harper’s terrorist legislation doesn’t protect us from the REAL menace! #RejectFear Stephen Harper’s Anti-Terror Bill C-51 needs to be expanded to give CSIS the authority to thwart the mad cow threat and beef up Farmland Security. via The Bovine Threat – YouTube. February 19, 2015 Looking for Heroes? (0)December 11, 2013 How Harper is Gutting … Continue reading But Will Harper’s C-51 Save Us From Mad Cow? No!

People who read this page, also read:

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General

Fun Stuff For Families At The Canadian International AutoShow

Posted February 13, 2015 by Sonya

This weekend, the Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS) is in Toronto. And while it might not seem like your first pick for a family outing, it’s actually a great place to spend some time with the kids. The spectacular show runs from February […]

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Canada

Stephen Harper: Racist AND a Hypocrite!

Posted February 13, 2015 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

I recall once that Stephen Harper believed in championing religious freedom. Except for people he doesn’t like. Now he’s appealing a federal court ruling allowing people to exercise their religious freedom by becoming citizens while not publicly  removing their niqab. But why, you ask? Because Canada is transparent, open, equal and just. And Stephen Harper … Continue reading Stephen Harper: Racist AND a Hypocrite!

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Alberta

Reader’s Diary #1119- Todd McFarlane: Spawn, Origins Collection Vol. 1

Posted February 12, 2015 by John Mutford

On my quest to becoming an expert in Canadian comics (trust me, I’ve got a LONG way to go), I’d better start knocking some of the heavy hitters off the list. Originally from Calgary, Todd McFarlane, is known for a lot of successful ventures, though he …

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Canada

3 More “Conveniences” I Missed When Traveling

Posted February 12, 2015 by Zhu

My tan is already fading. I think so, anyway—it’s not like I have many occasions to strip and take selfies in front of the mirror these days. It’s cold, bitterly cold, so cold that I already forgot what it feels like to sweat. And I certainly don’t want to be naked, unless I’m under a […]

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General

Family Day Weekend Arts & Culture Events In Toronto

Posted February 11, 2015 by Sonya

We’re excited for the upcoming Family Day Weekend in the city and there’s no shortage of things to do. While we know that that there are plenty of skating rinks and ski hills to enjoy but if you’ve got kids […]

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Beauty

Nordstrom Ottawa Beauty Bash

Posted February 9, 2015 by Loukia
On March 6th,  Nordstrom Ottawa will finally open its grand doors in Rideau Centre. 
Nordstrom is my favourite department store—Nordstrom carries all the amazing brands I love, from shoes and beauty products to accessories and clothes. Also, the service is always excellent. I frequently visit and shop at south Florida’s Aventura Nordstrom, but now I won’t have to travel to get my shopping fix.
I actually just got back from south Florida and came home to this gorgeous box from Nordstrom Ottawa, filled with the best beauty product must-haves—in anticipation of the upcoming Nordstrom Beauty Bash. 

To celebrate the grand opening, Nordstrom is hosting an early-morning Beauty Bash outside the main mall entrance on Friday, March 6th, at 7:30 a.m.,  lasting until the store opens at 9:30 a.m. 

Customers are invited to enjoy complimentary skincare consultations, demonstrations, and makeup lessons, and everyone will have the chance to meet with beauty and fragrance experts from Chanel, NARS, Burberry Beauty (exclusive to Nordstrom in Ottawa), Chantecaille (also exclusive to Nordstrom), Jo Malone, Creed, La Mer and so much more. How fun!

As a bonus, the first 2,000 customers to visit the Beauty Bash will receive an exclusive commemorative tote bag, while supplies last.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the great brands and products you’ll find when you shop Nordstrom Ottawa, including my new favourite products that I was so fortunate to receive:

AMOREPACIFIC ‘Time Response’ Eye Renewal Creme: This is a powerful anti-aging cream that renews the area around the eyes taking years off in days. The advanced 24-hour time release formula restores collagen products, increases skin’s antioxidant production and speeds up cellular regeneration to address all aging concerns including fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles while improving skin firmness. This product retails for $275.

La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil: La Prairie is just as luxuriously wonderful as you’d expect; it’s a sheer treatment filled with age-delaying fortifiers that strengthen skin’s resilience, transforming your complexion into a beautiful, radiant one that thrives in stressful conditions. “The oil is formulated with a patent-pending complex of Alpine flora to renew the look of firmness and smooth the appearance of wrinkles, keeping you looking younger, longer.” This product sells for $360.

Guerlain ‘Terracotta Joli Teint': This new Terracotta sunny duo leaves my face looking tan and glowy even in cold winter days. This fluid foundation with ultra-light texture melts instantly into your skin, goes on like a powder, and creates a perfectly sun-kissed complexion while protecting skin with SPF 20. Retail price is $60.

La Mer Creme de La Mer Moisturizing Cream: I was so excited to  use this coveted much-loved moisturizer and I’m already in love—this legendary Creme de la Mer “…has the power to transform the skin with its ultra-rich, dewy formula. In a short time, firmness improves, lines, wrinkles and the look of pores become less visible and skin looks virtually ageless. Even the driest complexions are renewed and rejuvenated.” With the nutrient-rich Miracle Broth, the heart of La Mer’s profound powers of transformation, skin is immersed in moisture, sensitivities are soothed, and radiance is restored. This product sells for $180.

Kate Somerville ‘ExfoliKate’ Intensive Exfoliating Treatment: Now you can treat yourself to a Kate Somerville Signature Facial at home! This is a great exfoliating cream that leaves skin clean, revealing a smooth, glowing complexion. Sell for $27.

Nars-Dual Intensity Blush: I’m a lover of Nars; especially for blush! (My favourite is Orgasm.) This blush comes with two shades—the ultimate in versatility. It’s the only blush that delivers two different finishes: Translucent Veil or a Second-Skin Watercolor Effect. Sells for $52.

Bobbi Brown Brightening Brick Compact in Pastel Pink: I love Bobbi Brown cosmetics, and this blush is such a pretty shade of pastel pink. It provides an overall brightening effect, “a lit from within glow” plus a hint of pretty pink. You can use it on the cheeks for a soft blush or all over the face, for veil-like luminosity. This blush is $54.

Armani ‘Maestro’ Fusion Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15: This is an ultra-lightweight formula that is easy to apply, leaving skin moisturized and conditioned for a flawless complexion with just a drop. It’s great coverage with a natural finish, and this product won Allure magazine’s ‘Best of Beauty’ award for Best Medium Coverage Foundation. A good foundation can be hard to find—and this product does not dissapoint at all. It’s officially my new must-have foundation. Sell for $68.

Chantecaille ‘Faux Cils’ Longest Lash Mascara: This mascara is so brilliant, I don’t even have to use an eyelash curler before I apply it. It’s a high-performance, super-volumizing mascara that is better than false eyelashes—really, why go through the trouble when this product works so well? It intensifies lashes, plumping them for a super-dramatic effect that is healthy and stunning, making your eyes the focus of your face. Sells for $50.

Clarins ‘Double Serum’ Complete Age Control Concentrate: This is my favourite serum, and I use it faithfully. “This double serum’s innovative, dual-chamber system combines two age-defying formulas into one groundbreaking serum that reactivates skin’s vital functions.” The results? Firmer skin, reduced wrinkles, more even skin tone and less visible pores in just a few weeks. Yes! Sells for $85.

Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Treatment Oil: This lightweight fast-absorbing oil nourishes, hydrates, and revitalizes skin. I love that it can be used on clear skin, under moisturizer, over moisturizer, or added to moisturizer. Sells for $41.

I’ve tried these amazing products and I love them all. My skin is feeling and looking great, and I’m looking forward to shopping at my favourite department store very soon, where I can stock up on my must-have spring beauty products.

The big Nordstrom Gala is coming up, too, on Wednesday, March 4th, with all proceeds from ticket sales going to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and United Way Ottawa. I am so excited to be attending the Nordstrom Gala—I’ll give you all the details of the glam night soon!

Thank you, #NordstromOTT, so much!

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General

Apathy In The Toronto Sports World

Posted February 5, 2015 by torontosportsmedia

By TSM Not that long ago it was easy to get Toronto Maple Leaf fans going. Rip the team. Either the players, coaches, management would get attacked and the fans would be quick to get pissed off. For those who’ve followed what I’ve had to […]

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General

Faith In Humanity—Restored

Posted February 5, 2015 by Kath

How often do you browse through social media accounts, only to toss your phone aside in disgust, your faith in humanity hitting rock bottom? I know it happens to me several times daily: news of atrocities committed in the name […]

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General

Ever Wonder How the 1% Talks to Each Other? Shhh. Listen!

Posted February 5, 2015 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

It’s not a secret language, it’s a style, an effervescence. A whimsicality. It’s like how people stand when they’re shopping in Tiffany’s. You feel me? Read on about a new luxury property on Georgia in downtown Vancouver [emphasis is mine]: The Penthouse Upstairs, in the 48th-floor penthouse, it is a different story again. It is … Continue reading Ever Wonder How the 1% Talks to Each Other? Shhh. Listen!

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General

Lunatics tighten grip on madhouse

Posted February 4, 2015 by Ted Bird

   It’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate reality from satire.  Three times in the last 24 hours, I’ve had to do double-takes to make sure news headlines I was reading were from mainstream media sources and not send-ups from co…

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Climate Change

The So-Called Transit Referendum: Don’t Be Duped!

Posted February 2, 2015 by Guest Contributors

By Emily Griffiths The Transit referendum “Yes” campaign has been asserting itself all over Facebook, Twitter, neighbourhood news boxes, and I can’t help but ask myself, Since when is increasing a flat tax a leftist thing to do? Oh! The word “transit” has been attached to the newest proposed consumer flat tax increase, therefore rendering … Continue reading The So-Called Transit Referendum: Don’t Be Duped!

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Canada

It ain’t paintball, folks

Posted January 29, 2015 by Ted Bird

   Not that it comes as a surprise, but some of Canada’s political and media elites are demonstrating breathtaking cluelessness on the fundamentals of military affairs.  The fretting by the opposition parties and their journalist allies …

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Entertainment

BOOM! A Generation of Influence

Posted January 27, 2015 by Sonya

Why should we take a look at the past? Well, it helps us understand where we are today. Most of us weren’t even born in the “baby boomer” generation but we certainly are aware of it, hopefully? For me, it’s […]

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Canada

It’s a Love Thing with Twin Kennedy

Posted January 21, 2015 by Jes

Meet Canada’s newest country duo – Twin Kennedy.Well, that actually isn’t true. They’ve been around, touring and writing songs as Carli and Julie for years. Since they were children they have been playing instruments and singing for any audience that w…

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Canada

Ryan Reynolds heads to Vancouver to film Deadpool

Posted January 19, 2015 by Jes

Ryan Reynolds is going to be back in Vancouver reprising his role as Deadpool from X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. Deadpool will begin filming in the stars hometown in March.I’m not sure if you recall how that movie ended, but Reynolds went from hawt…

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General

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Legalize tent cities.

Posted January 19, 2015 by Laila

As my regular readers know, I have a real issue with the way homelessness is dealt with in many cities. Instead of doing what needs to be done to alleviate the issues related to homelessness, it seems we are getting … Continue reading

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Entertainment

Heart Of Robin Hood Is Action-Packed Fun!

Posted January 19, 2015 by Sonya

Everything about the classic tale of  Robin Hood is turned upside-down in the new exhilirating theatre production, Heart of Robin Hood, now on stage at the Royal Alexandra Theatre (Toronto) until March 1st. Yes, Robin Hood (Gabriel Ebert) and his […]

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Entertainment

Coping In “The Waiting Room” With Diane Flacks

Posted January 19, 2015 by Sonya

There’s a new theatre production that has caught my attention as a parent and theatre lover. WAITING ROOM by Diane Flacks (in collaboration with director Richard Greenblatt) is making its World Premiere at the Tarragon Theatre  in Toronto (January 14 […]

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General

So Many Things Left

Posted January 16, 2015 by The Pedgehog

Still here, still angry. Still too cynical to tell y’all my in depth feelings about recent developments. I am currently reading Olivia Chow’s memoirs and the message I am taking away is the same that permeated Jack Layton’s last letter – hope is better…

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General

What To See At The Interior Design Show #IDS15

Posted January 16, 2015 by Sonya

Spring is just around the corner, I promise! But while we wait, you’ll can check out the Interior Design Show, January 22-25, 2015 at the Metro Convention Centre. Under one massive roof you’ll discover the latest in home design trends, […]

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Activism

Yet Another Logistical Solution to Homelessness

Posted January 16, 2015 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

So, Utah has been eradicating homelessness by giving people homes. The bonus is that it’s easier and cheaper to provide social services to people when their housing needs are met. From Amsterdam, we see yet another logistical solution for emergency housing while we have a national dialogue on a national housing plan. A rich country … Continue reading Yet Another Logistical Solution to Homelessness

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General

Sustainable Lifestyle & Best Designer Consignment Shops

Posted January 15, 2015 by Sonya

When you have time to think and assess life, ever wonder what you can do to make the world a better place? I’m not talking about massive changes—unless you want to, of course. But what manageable steps can we take […]

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General

Manitoba Autism Crisis Demonstrates Need For A REAL Canadian National Autism Strategy

Posted January 15, 2015 by H L Doherty

Canada, despite a private members motion championed by the late Fredericton MP Andy Scott and Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer which called for one, does not have a REAL National Autism Strategy.  The failure to enact a REAL National Autism Strategy means that in some provinces very few autistic children receive intensive early ABA intervention.
The  private member’s bill, Bill C-304, introduced by former PEI MP Shawn Murphy, set out below was crushed by the Harper Conservatives and Quebecois MPs.   Had Bill C-304 passed 9 years ago many,  many more autistic Canadian children would have received early ABA intervention and made the substantial cognitive, linguistic and behavioral gains reported decades ago by Dr. Ivaar Lovaas and confirmed by studies and reviews since.

 Manitoba’s Wait List Autism Crisis

One example of the checkerboard pattern of ABA service for autistic children in Canada is Manitoba as reported in the CBC article Autistic children’s families frustrated by therapy wait-list:

“Some Manitoba families with autistic children say they might get turned away from a highly sought-after therapy program because they have been on a waiting list for so long, their children may end up being too old to qualify. Families that want access to applied behaviour analysis (ABA) therapy for their children must wait roughly 1½ years on a list. The program is available only to children under the age of five. With the waiting list so long, some children may end up being too old to qualify for ABA, meaning they would be turned away this September.
“I just can’t imagine where kids are going to wind up without having ABA,” said Guy Mercier, president of Manitoba Families for Effective Autism Treatment. “Without ABA in my son’s life, he wouldn’t be where he is.”
The ABA program gives children three years of intensive therapy, teaching them social skills and life skills before they enter kindergarten. It also provides support for five years while they are in school.
Samantha Bawtinheimer said she placed her 2½-year-old son, Noah, on the waiting list for ABA soon after he was diagnosed with autism last September.
Bawtinheimer said she is frustrated by how long it will take for Noah to get into the program. “You’re supposed to be there to protect them. You’re supposed to be there to help him. I can only do so much,” she said. “I’ve done my research. I can’t do it all. I still have to work, I have to provide for him. I can’t do it all. I need their help.”
The Manitoba situation proves the need for a real national autism strategy. 

History of the Struggle for A REAL National Autism Strategy

The struggle for a REAL National Autism Strategy is summarized following from a commentary on this site on March 29, 2014:

In The Courts Autons (BC) and Wynberg/Deskin (ONT)
Canadian parents fought initially , and ultimately unsuccessfully, through the courts in BC (Auton) and Ontario (Wynberg/Deskin) for autism treatment coverage under medicare and autism services before commencing their more overtly political efforts, including the Medicare for Autism NOW! campaign.

History of the Struggle for a REAL National Autism Strategy in the Maritimes

Andy Scott Fredericton NB MP,  Peter Stoffer NS MP, Shawn Murphy PEI MP,  Senator Jim Munson NB

Here in the Maritime provinces we took a political approach to developing a national autism strategy with the NB efforts in  which I was personally involved beginning  in 2001, primarily by many discussions with our Fredericton MP, the late Andy Scott.  In 2003  Andy Scott, made a public commitment in 2003 to work toward a National Autism Strategy at a tribute to his 10 years of service as an MP at the Boyce Famers’ Market, an event I attended and reported on to the members of the Family Autism Centre for Education (FACE):

“October 19 2003

Hello everyone:

Some good news for those interested in autism issues emerged last night  at the Boyce Farmers’ Market in Fredericton New Brunswick as Frederictonian’s gathered to pay tribute to MP Andy Scott’s  10 years of service as an MP on behalf of Frederictonians and as an advocate for human rights, services for the disabled, and cultural harmony. Andy announced that he would be meeting with Paul Martin in the hopes of pursuing a national Autism strategy. Although health care is primarily within provincial juridiction some health issues, such as breast cancer, HIV, etc. have been approached on a national level because of the magnitude of the issues involved.  While we have all heard political promises in the past,  Andy Scott has a proven track record of commitment to, and follow through on, disabilities and human rights issues.  Great news.


Harold Doherty
Family Autism Centre for Education (FACE)”

Andy’s comments at the Boyce Farmers’ Market were also featured in a 2003 Telegraph Journal article by Tali Folkins:

“Fredericton MP Andy Scott said Saturday he has been lobbying prime- minister-to-be Paul Martin for a federal program to help young children with autism. “I desperately want a national autism strategy – and let me just assure you that Paul Martin knows it,” Mr. Scott told supporters at a party celebrating his 10th anniversary as an MP in Fredericton Saturday evening.

Early work by therapists with young autistic children, Mr. Scott said, can make a big difference in their capacity to lead fulfilling lives as adults – and can save money in the long run. But the costs of starting such early intervention programs are high and should be borne directly by Ottawa rather than each individual province, he said. “We have responses and therapies and so on that I genuinely believe can work,” he said. “You’re going to save millions of dollars over the lifetime of an autistic adult. If you can get in at the front end, you can make enormous progress.

“But it’s very expensive, and there’s not a lot of stuff being added to Medicare, generally – that’s why we have catastrophic drug problems and other things,” he said. “In the province of New Brunswick, P.E.I., or even Quebec or Ontario it’s very, very expensive. The feds are going to have to step up to the plate.” 

Andy did answer the call on behalf of autistic Canadians and  actively pushed for a National Autism Strategy which he ultimately realized with the passage of Motion M-172.  However, the motion was essentially a commitment in principle with few obligations being undertaken by our federal government but it did help put autism on our national agenda and it was Andy Scott being Andy … getting done what could get done … with a view to moving forward further in future.  One of the specific items that the federal government did commit to in the motion was a national surveillance program, a program that would tell us how many Canadians now suffer from autism disorders.  It is a commitment that has still not been honored 8 years later. 

Andy Scott himself did continue the fight   as demonstrated in his June 5, 2007 statement in the House of Commons:

“Autism 

[Table of Contents]

Hon. Andy Scott (Fredericton, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker, it is regrettable that we have seen little action by the government toward implementing a national autism strategy.

It has been more than a year since I introduced Motion No. 172. My private member’s motion called for evidence based standards, innovative funding arrangements for diagnosis, treatment and research, and a national surveillance program.

The motion was adopted in good faith and supported by the government. However, it was very disappointing to see no reference to a national autism strategy in the recent budget or any discussion this spring.

Recently, I joined my colleagues from Charlottetown and Sackville—Eastern Shore and Senator Munson at a rally in Halifax that reinforced that there are families with autistic children across Canada who need the government’s help.

The Conservatives should move off their default position of jurisdictional excuses, show creativity and compassion and start helping these Canadians.”

Jean Lewis, FEAT-BC, Medicare for Autism Now!


NB MP Andy Scott, FEAT-BC, Medicare for Autism NOW!’s Jean Lewis
National Autism Rally, Halifax, May 26 2007
Andy Scott’s reference to his colleagues from Charlottetown and Sackville-Eastern Shore were  references to PEI’s Shawn Murphy and Nova Scotia’s Peter Stoffer both of whom, along with Andy Scott and Senator Jim Munson, also worked tirelessly toward achieving a National Autism Strategy.  The rally of which he spoke was a Halifax rally organized by Jean Lewis and FEAT-BC who had been raising autism awareness, lobbying politically and fighting for national autism coverage in the Courts for several years and continued to do so with its “Medicare for Autism NOW!” efforts.  I attended the FEAT autism really in Halifax and had the privilege of meeting Jean Lewis, several of the BC advocates and tireless Nova Scotia autism advocate Jim Young.  Under the BC leadership there have been subsequent national meetings in Oakville and Toronto.

NS MP Shawn Murphy, Senator Jim Munson, NB MP Andy Scott 
National Autism Rally, Halifax, May 26 2007

Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer,  National Autism Rally, 
Halifax, May 26 2007
In 2006 Shawn Murphy went on to introduce his own private member’s bill, Bill C-304,  in the House of Commons which, if passed, would have put Canada well on the way to establishing a REAL National Autism Strategy:
C-304

First Session, Thirty-ninth Parliament,
55 Elizabeth II, 2006

HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA

BILL C-304
_____________________________________________
FIRST READING, MAY 17, 2006
_____________________________________________

MR. MURPHY (Charlottetown)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
55 Elizabeth II, 2006

HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA

BILL C-304

An Act to provide for the development of a
national strategy for the treatment of
autism and to amend the Canada Health
Act

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Senate and House of Commons
of Canada, enacts as follows:

SHORT TITLE

1. This Act may be cited as the National
Strategy for the Treatment of Autism Act.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

2. The Minister of Health shall, before
December 31, 2006, convene a conference of
all provincial and territorial ministers responsible
for health for the purpose of working
together to develop a national strategy for the
treatment of autism. The Minister shall, before
December 31, 2007, table a report in both
Houses of Parliament specifying a plan of action
developed in collaboration with the provincial
and territorial ministers for the purpose of
implementing that strategy.

AMENDMENTS TO THE CANADA
HEALTH ACT

3. Section 2 of the Canada Health Act is
renumbered as subsection 2(1) and is
amended by adding the following:

(2) For the purposes of this Act, services
that are medically necessary or required under
this Act include Applied Behavioural Analysis
(ABA) and Intensive Behavioural Intervention
(IBI) for persons suffering from Autism Spectrum
Disorder.

Bill C-304 was defeated soundly by a coalition of Harper Conservatives and separatist Blog Quebecois votes in the House of Commons. During debates in the House of Commons Harper conservative MP Mike Lake from Alberta, the autism face of the Harper government, a father of an autistic son, fought against the Murphy bill and helped vote it down to defeat.  

The hard truth is that there will never be a real National Autism Strategy as long as the Harper government rules in Ottawa.  Nor will a REAL NAS emerge from national autism charities that were never part of the struggle for a national autism strategy to begin with and who do not acknowledge the efforts made by parents across Canada who fought hard and long for a National Autism Strategy. National charities dare not speak contrary to federal government policy for fear of risking their charitable status. 

A real National Autism Strategy, even a real, current estimate of the number of Canadians who suffer from autism disorders will not come into existence until the Harper government is retired from office and will only come into existence with parent driven initiatives for whom helping their autistic sons and daughters is their most important objective.   Until then we will have to accept US figures for autism prevalence.  Accordingly, let it be known:

1 in 68 Canadians has an autism spectrum disorder. (Many of whom still do not receive effective ABA early intervention)
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