This is a delightful image of a simple snowman created by two brothers, including one of whom has benefited from previous treatment through the Ontario Autism Program. The parents anticipate that funding has now ended. They don’t know what’s in store for their son now. They came to support this peaceful Brantford organized protest because to them and thousands of others, it matters.
The irony of this location is not lost at this protest over the weekend. Joseph Brant was dedicated to bringing cultures together not create inequality. In the background is the Federal Court House representing Canadian Law such as the Health Canada legislation that includes one objective, specifically to, “Reduce health inequalities in Canadian society”
14-year-old Abby Noonan, on the right, and her sister Caitlin did most of the planning and with the help of their Mom Aimee, the multi media whiz, and her Dad, the chauffeur, are there to support her brother’s future. She spoke to the crowd in honesty and calm deliberation about her love for her brother and the positive community support for her petition, already over 300 names. Her research indicated that what was being offered on a yearly basis would barely cover the cost of the diagnosis in year one.
“This is Brantford, This is positive attention. You are the ones who make Brantford amazing.”
Caitlin added a little riff on her own, “5,6,7,8 Who do we appreciate? Not Doug Ford…”
Signs were created, horns were honking and the protesters, family members, neighbours and friends cheered on.
One young Mom had been spending about $6000 per month in treatment for her child and now expects nothing with this legislation.
Another family had determined a sharp turn in the care of their child. This selfless young woman realized her funding would end shortly and has enrolled in a two-year post-secondary diploma program, ‘Autism Behavioural Science’. In her reasoning, she is calculating that she can become the expert in the household and dedicate 24/7 attention to her son as a life choice.
There were also supporters from OSSTF (Ontario Secondary Teacher’s Federation) who are anticipating the unintended consequence to funding cuts in the school system for the vulnerable children they are assigned.
The over-riding attitude by these folks on a chilly Saturday in Brantford is that this is not the end of their voice on this issue… it is just the beginning.