Doug Ford, the campaign manager of scandal ridden brother and Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford, has done something very important. He has opened up the world to the trials and difficulties of what it means to be a parent of or an individual living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Given his comments regarding the subject this was clearly not his intention.
After showing up twenty-five minutes late for a meeting his office organized Doug Ford, who is also the councillor for Ward 2 – Etobicoke North, made a number of very offensive comments regarding the residents of a residential group home known as the Griffin Centre.
The Griffin Centre houses developmentally disabled youth with mental health issues. Some of the youth residing there happen to have ASD. Given the particular concerns with some of the residents there may be an occasion in which emergency services must be called in to provide assistance. This should not be considered unusual. Given the amount of time emergency services had found themselves at the Mayor’s personal residence I would have expected Councillor Ford to understand the necessity of an emergency service professional from time to time. However, that does not appear to be the case. Following a strange campaign-style comment regarding the city needing more subways (side note: the Ford plan for transit would not include a subway extension to anywhere in Etobicoke) Councillor Ford has seemingly made up his mind long before the meeting had begun. Following the verbal abuse from residents of the Kipling Avenue and West Humber Boulevard Area, Griffin Centre staff was forced to hear their local councillor attack them, stating, “We can’t have fire truck and police cars and EMS there all the time and eight cars parked on the street. You’ve ruined the community.”
He continued, “You can’t destroy a community like this. People have worked thirty years for their home... My heart goes out to kids with autism. But no one told me they’d be leaving the house. If it comes down to it, I’ll buy the house myself and resell it.”
The comment about forcefully purchasing the house and reselling it is an odd one. Anyone with a conservative belief of personal property and the need to keep government out of such business would oppose such action. Councillor and Mayor Ford have previously professed a belief in such policy. However, that appears to have been one of the many lies they have found themselves caught in.
The comment regarding autistic children is just plain offensive. This is where it gets personal for me. I am the parent of a five and half year old little girl who loves to sing and dance and is incredibly intelligent and happens to be on the ASD spectrum. Believe me when I say when you attack her you attack me. And when you attack one member of ‘autism nation’ you attack us all.
Ford Family; you have mobilized some of the most determined people around. We are the parents of and those living with ASD. And year will be hearing from us. Ford Nation will come and go, but autism nation is not going anywhere.
We will be seeing you on the campaign trail.