Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Finally, A Response From The Premier's Office!!!

Remember my post titled "An Email To The Premier Of Manitoba Regarding Our Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders?"  I sent that email on April 26th.  Getting impatient, as we all know how impatient I am, I decide to call the Premier's office.

Premier's answering service:  "Your email is under review."
"Under review?  What does that mean?"
"I'm not sure..."
"You're not sure?!  Could you pass the phone to someone who can help me?"
"Yeah, can you hold?"

Silence.  Not even elevator music.  On hold for five minutes.  Do you know how long five minutes is when there's no music and you're ticked beyond belief?  It's a looooooooooong time.  By the time the poor girl got back on the phone, I was ready to scream.

She gets back on the phone:  "Your email is under review, meaning 'they're' looking at it."
"Does that mean 'they're' reading it now?  How long until someone calls me to discuss my email?"
"I'm not sure..."
"Well, put me on hold and find out, or get someone who does know on the phone!"  I've lost all patience now.  I have things to do and people to annoy.  Ugh!  I'm betting she's blond and her name is Bubbles.  I'm wondering if she's the coffee and donut girl.

Bubbles finally gets back on the phone, stammering:  "Reviews take between one and two weeks, then someone will get back to you."
"I don't have two weeks.  I'm very upset, and I've just been handed a five page "Threat Incident Form" from my son's school because the teacher feels my son puts her life in danger.  It seems the school thinks a 60 lb 9 year old is able to kill a 170 lb adult woman.  Each page is stamped with the word "CONFIDENTIAL."  I'm guessing this has to do with your office transferring the call I made to you last week to my MLA, who in turn called Manitoba Education.  Manitoba Education in turn called me as well as Dayton's school.  The principal threw the five page "Threat Incident Report" at me and through flaring nostrils told me Manitoba Education was paying them a visit.  Awwwwwwesoooooome...  So you see, I need to talk to someone NOW!!!"
Bubbles:  "Ummm, OK, would you like me to leave a message?"
"Ummmm, yeah!  Do that!"

About an hour later, I get an email:

May 2, 2011

Lou Lovrin
Dear Ms Lovrin:

On behalf of the Honourable Greg Selinger, Premier of Manitoba, I would like to thank you for your recent email.

We have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of your correspondence to Honourable Nancy Allan, Minister of Education, and to Honourable Gord Mackintosh, Minister of Family Services for their consideration and response. 

Once again, thank you for writing to Premier Selinger.


Judith Baldwin

Coordinator of the

Premier’s Secretariat

Of course, I lost my ever living mind.  Did Judith bother to read my email, or just saw the word autism and decided to forward the email to Manitoba Education?  Seriously?!  I had been calling the Premier's office since noon yesterday, when I received the email.  I've left at least a dozen messages for Judith to call me back.  This afternoon, I snapped.  I call the Premier's office at 3:26pm this afternoon, and guess who answers the phone...  That's right, it's miss Bubbles!  Oh joy!

"Hi, I just spoke to you a couple of minutes ago, and quite frankly, I'm done talking to you after this phone call.  I've left a dozen messages for Judith already, so I want you to leave her a new message.  Tell her I'm mad.  Tell her I've spoken to CJOB radio station and told them my story.  They're interested in doing an interview with me.  You let her know that if I don't hear back from her by 4pm tomorrow, I'm not only doing the interview with CJOB, but I'm going to Global TV and CTV and the Winnipeg Sun.  Any questions?"

Half an hour later, I get a call from Judith. Had I known that all I had to do is threaten her, I would have made this threat in my email to the Premier.

Judith sounded concerned about my fight for Dayton's education, completely missing the boat.
"This is not just about Dayton Judith, this is about all kids with disabilities.  1% of our children are now being diagnosed with some form of autism.  This 1% does not include the rest of the disabilities children are being diagnosed with.  We have a problem in our education system.  Parents are forced into bankruptcy because they have no faith in our education system and have to home school their children.  During today's "The Town Hall" on CJOB, a concerned parent asked the Premier why his teenage daughter's high school has 2 law textbooks for the entire class.  The teacher has to photocopy the textbook for the rest of the class.  WE HAVE A PROBLEM!  It needs to be addressed!  This is not something Manitoba Education can change, only our Premier can, which is why I emailed him, only to have YOU respond to me.  THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE."

I continued with my views on "inclusion" and how I really loved the "theory" of "inclusion," our children are not experiencing genuine inclusion.  As parents we don't have a choice in our children's education, nor do the schools get help with our children from the government, other than money.  We need more services, more Occupational Therapists, more Speech Therapists, more autism savy educators and teacher's assistants... etc.

She promised my concerns are not falling on deaf ears, and that she will be calling me back.  I told her not to bother unless I get an appointment with the premier.  And if I don't...  I told her to let him know that I will be talking to him on CJOB in person during his "The Town Hall" interviews every first Tuesday of the month from 11am to noon Central time!

Let's see what happens, shall we?!

Consider yourselves hugged,


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