For those outside Ontario (and even for those inside the province), we are presently in a provincial election. Media coverage has been sparse and frankly, there are not a lot of issues being discussed. Perhaps it is voter fatigue but it appears this is a sleeper election.
The Ontario Liberals are going for a third term. It appears (though it is by no means inevitable) they will win a third majority government. This saddens me because I am angry at this government for ignoring autism. If you question Liberals about autism, they will tell you how much they have done to assist and how they "undid" decisions from the previous government. Fair enough - but news flash! They have been in power for eight years... what you did eight years ago is done, let's focus on the future.
Perhaps my greatest complaint is the rolling out of all-day learning. Dalton McGuinty likes to tout himself as the "education premier" and he believes giving children all day kindergarten will result in better outcomes for learning. Perhaps this is true, perhaps not - Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to try it. It may improve learning, or it may be a populist decision to provide free child care to thousands of parents who wish to return to work and not pay for said child care out of pocket.
All of that aside, my primary complaint is this: why do typically developing children, who are already excellent learners, get two more years of full day learning when children with autism are stuck on waiting lists for two or three years to receive treatment to help them learn? Why do school age children, for whom tens of thousands of dollars is allocated, not have those funds follow them in the school? Why do parents have to fight so hard for a decent education for their autistic kids when evidence-based best practices are known and being applied in other jurisdictions?
It would seem according to Dalton, only regular, non-disabled children are worthy of education. That is an attitude I can't ignore. It is wrong and it should scream wrong to everyone.
Autism aside, there are things I like in all platforms - PC, NDP or Liberal. But I have to speak for autism because there are so very few voices speaking for autism and they are too quiet to be heard by politicians.
I can't vote Liberal. I implore you, as the reader, to vote NDP or PC, or anything else but Liberal. Our kids are worthy of education... of having a meaningful education that suits their needs, not the needs of the teachers, or the EAs, or the board. How sad the "education premier" can't see this.