Toronto, Canada – A councillor has been blasted for lack of support to a troubled half way house and autism support centre The Griffin Center in Ontario, Canada.
Doug Ford Councillor for East York ward, was quoted as saying that the center had ruined the community in a meeting of concerned neighbours. He said :
“My heart goes out to kids with autism. But no one told me they’d be leaving the house. If it comes down to it, I’ll buy the house myself and resell it.”
The Griffin Centre which has been open since 1975, has provided services and a safe home for up to five young adults with autism who have no where else to go. The centre helps with their socialisation issues and education. Neighbours have raised their concern since a number of calls have been made to police in the area regarding the centre.
Director of the home, Deanna Dannell, who was present at the meeting, was quoted by the Toronto Star:
“We wanted to keep the children from that facility in their community. Given some of the challenges and issues that these youth face, it becomes very difficult for parents to support (them). It was disappointing to hear that kind of reaction from (Ford). Certainly we had hoped for something different. “
Councillor Ford, talking in an interview with TV channel CP24 news was also quoted as saying that he’d be happy to take the address of anyone criticizing him for his comments and
“we’ll put the house right next door to them and see how they like it.”
Reaction has been strong with various politicians, including former federal Liberal leader Bob Rae responding loudly. Rae tweeted:Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne was on the campaign trail yesterday and had this to say to reporters,
“Had our budget passed, had the NDP and the Conservatives not decided to defeat our budget, we would already be implementing that budget and that $810 million would have begun to be spent.
“There has not been a government that has put as much focus and as much support in place for children with autism, right through to adults with autism.”