As a parent with a kid who has severe autism, I am deeply concerned about the government’s use of the notwithstanding clause suspending the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Premier Ford in his presser on September 10th, hinted that he would be willing to use this clause outside of the issue with Toronto City Council. In a further television interview later that day on CP24, Premier Ford announced that the province is in a “financial disaster”. I am concerned that your government will use the notwithstanding clause to circumvent the rights of our most vulnerable children in order to balance the budget. Our children are already in a humanitarian situation as a result of a support system that is broken, lacks accountability and treats our families and children as adversarial. I have provided copies of documentation with supportive evidence to Amy Fee’s office, and what our family is currently going through with respect to support and service.
I am concerned that the government will not fix this system of supports to ensure that it respects our children’s fundamental human and constitutional rights, and may be moving to circumvent those rights in order to push forward its mandate to balance the provincial budget. A concern I expressed directly too you during the last election, and most recently to your staff who also made me aware they also have children who are autistic, and are also concerned about this latest move by Ford to use the notwithstanding clause and suspend the charter. We need a government that respects the rule of law, and respects the will of the people, and most importantly respects our independent judiciary to which upholds our most fundamental rights and freedoms. Once you suspend the rights of one group of people, you open up the door to suspending the rights of anyone on any given issue. This is why the notwithstandingclause is very rarely used, and when used done so in a thoughtful careful way.
I hope that your government will reconsider this move to use the notwithstanding clause, and ensure that the rights of all Ontarioians are respected in policy and legislation moving forward during your term as my MPP and the provinces attorney general. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss how we can achieve the mandate of fiscal restraint, and at the same time respecting the very fundamental constitutional rights our system of government is tasked to uphold.