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Ontario Hansard - 07-April2005

Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): Children and young people with autism and severe mental and physical disabilities brought together Christians and Jews at an historic event last night.

Major General Doron Almog, former head of the Israel Defence Forces' southern command, whose 21-year-old son, Eran, is autistic, characterized the event as a gathering of "the strongest for the weakest."

The event, whose honorary chair Gerry Schwartz, raised in excess of $400,000 in support of the Aleh Negev project in Israel, where children and young adults with autism receive compassionate care and benefit from rehabilitation therapies.

Present at the event was the Israeli Vice Prime Minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert, who praised supporters for demonstrating in such a tangible way that they care for the human needs of people.

I was honoured to be in attendance at this event. I was inspired by the support for the Aleh Negev project and the generosity of the supporters. It was heartwarming to see what is being done for autistic children in Israel.

But as a member of this Legislature, I also felt a sense of shame for our own province, because rather than forging similar coalitions and demonstrating political and moral leadership on behalf of autistic children, our Premier, Dalton McGuinty, and his government are refusing to provide even the basic care and therapies ordered by the Ontario Superior Court.

I call on this Premier and this government to reassess their priorities.

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