People with autism are not all violent, unthinking, unfeeling or uncaring, incapable of progress or love. When supported in a loving environment and by people who believe in them and their potential locked within, most of the kids can go on to be very successful and lead fulfilling lives with loving relationships.
As it happens, inconveniencing people, being rude, screaming in their faces and generally pissing them off is not very successful in rallying them to your side. Funny how that works. Yet, in Ontario, three very passionate groups have used these tried-and-failed techniques in an attempt to force public opinion.
As a mental health advocate, I was addicted to appearing to be recovered. I was afraid to admit that I am living with an eating disorder. Afraid that it meant the messages I was telling people about recovery being possible wasn't true. That living with an eating disorder, while being highlighted as recovered, meant I was a fraud.
For my entire life, I've been on the run -- at first it was as a child, "running away" from the violent and daily physical abuse that took place behind closed doors in my home. From that moment onward, I kept everything inside of me, and around me, off in the distance. And thus began many years of escape that came in the form of a destructive alcohol and drug addiction.
I generally regard myself as a Nice Person, until my son's needs are compromised. Until your kid is wronged or overlooked in some way, you have no idea how fiercely your mama bear will react. Whether it's a major incident or some minor trifle, your child does need to you to "fight" on their behalf until they are mature enough to do so of their own accord.
It's been nearly 25 years since Canada signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, agreeing to protect and ensure the rights of our youngest citizens. Yet there is still no formal mechanism to hold the government accountable for the way it treats its youngest citizens. Every day, Canadian children experience poverty, abuse, neglect, preventable diseases, and unequal access to quality health services and education. At the root of many of these problems is public policy that does not put the needs of children first.
My daughter Journey will not live on a shelf. We may not be able to protect her from every seizure risk and she may incur some injuries now and then, but she will live life fully and share diverse experiences as a result of the collaborative efforts of her family, friends, educational team, and community.
I am writing this blog on behalf of plenty of other people with life experience who want to share their story but can't afford to. Life experience is invaluable in order for the mental health agenda to move forward in this country organizations need to hear firsthand from us. People with lived experience are experts and nobody should expect us to work or always provide our services for free.
We live in a society where it is impossible to live a functional lifestyle and not consume products made from petro-chemicals every single day. As such, the notion that environmentalists -- such as Neil Young for example -- have no right to criticize oil sands developments, pipelines or fracking because they "choose" to heat their homes and drive cars is downright nonsensical.
After almost six months of being bullied I snapped and I lashed out. You may wonder why I didn't resign from the panel. It was because I felt like I was being pushed out through bullying and felt it was up to the organization to end it. During my lashing out I said some regrettable things and to this day I remain apologetic.
Several large media organizations won't publish articles if a travel writer received assistance from a tourism board, or they will put a disclosure at the end of the article saying the trip was sponsored. This is a blatant double standard, and it stands to hurt and limit the importance of travel journalism.
Right now the Supreme Court of Canada is tackling the obvious contradictions implicit in it being against the law to "communicate for the purposes of prostitution," "operate a bawdy house," or "live off the avails of prostitution." In effect, the court is trying to decide whether brothels and their pimps/managers/bookkeepers/cleaning staff/bodyguards/chauffeurs etc. should be legalized.
Last week, Canadian Mennonite magazine revealed that it had been threatened by the government. A Canada Revenue audit team the magazine that it could lose its charitable status because of what it published. CRA found some 2011 articles to be in violation of the Income Tax Act which forbids "the direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party or candidate for public office." Where is this taking Canada? Will we be a nation without dissent, without criticism, without discourse? A nation where even the most well-meaning and well-respected charities must keep silent on everything or risk the wrath of government?
Canadian actress and emerging playwright, Sarena Parmar, has performed in film, television and on the stage. In this in-depth interview on Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner, Parmar discusses her rapid rise in her acting career, how her South Asian background has influenced her work, her interest in human rights and advocacy, and also her involvement with Plan Canada's "I Am A Girl" campaign.
In cottage country, and even on Toronto's beaches up to the mid 1950s, it was common to see signs that read "No Dogs or Jews Allowed." Though we, as a nation, have made great strides in the name of human rights for all, we cannot be complacent. There cannot be justice for Jews if there is not justice for everyone.