Windsor

Windsor mom says she was misconstrued by Lisa MacLeod, doesn't accept apology

MacLeod used a quote from Sherri Taylor as evidence parents are supportive of the government's controversial changes to autism therapy funding.

MacLeod used a quote from Sherri Taylor at Queen's Park Monday

Sherri Taylor is the mother of five children, one with autism. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

A Windsor mother is upset after Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod used a quote to imply she supported the government's controversial changes to childhood autism therapy funding.

On Monday, MacLeod read a statement from Sherri Taylor at Queen's Park. It said, in part: "Parents need to have services available to them before their child is no longer a child. Families need more support and choice for their children with autism ... our government is heading in the right direction, recognizing that early intervention is key."

Under the new program, a family can receive a childhood maximum of $140,000 in total funding, depending on the child's age and the family's household income.

Advocates say this is not enough, as the cost of a single year of treatment can be more than $80,000.

Taylor said a ministry official first asked her for a quote while the government was doing its autism roundtable consultations, which took place before the government announced its changes. She also said it was a ministry official who asked her to add the line about the direction of the government.

She does believe the system needs to fund more treatment methods than just Applied Behavioural Analysis. However, she said they should have been funded in the manner they were prior to the PC reforms — that is to say, fully covered by the government.

"I absolutely do not support [the government's changes to autism treatment funding]," she said. "The plan that [the minister] has put in place is damaging."

On Tuesday, Windsor West NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky challenged MacLeod on her use of Taylor's quote, prompting the minister to apologize, saying "if I used that quote ... incorrectly, I apologize."

Taylor doesn't accept the apology — and wants MacLeod to step down.

"When anybody apologizes using the word 'if,' that's not an apology," she told Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre.

"She has not owned up to the deception."

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto is the host of Up North, CBC Radio One's regional afternoon show for Northern Ontario and is based in Sudbury. He was formerly a reporter/editor and an associate producer at CBC Windsor. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.

With files from Chris Ensing and CBC London

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