Premier vows Autism Centre will ‘hugely’ improve services; Minister Disagrees?

Confronted by media questions about her plans to invest $20 million in provincial funding in a costly building instead of addressing gaps in autism services, Premier Christy Clark initially appeared stumped. But in a quick recovery, she assured investigative reporter Sean Holman that the centre was being designed to create a “huge improvement” in autism services:

(Video from Holman’s Public Eye Online)

No word yet on exactly how the proposed $34 million East Van facility, with its I-pad equipped waiting rooms, “subtle” paint colours, North Shore views and rooftop gardens will help families in Chilliwack or Cranbrook who’ve been told there’s no money for respite, zero funding/ support for kids once they turn 19, no money for aides in school, and only $6,000 a year for therapy that costs $50,0000.

But we’re dying to hear PAFC and the “comunity leaders” helping to plan the building concept explain on Premier Clark’s behalf exactly how they think that’s going to work.

The Premier’s promise also appears to conflict with statements by her Children’s Minister, Mary McNeil. Last month, McNeil told MOMS the $20 million will go towards capital building costs, and that her government is counting on PAFC to fundraise privately to cover the costs of any promised improvements to autism service programs.

Meanwhile, Public Eye also quoted Housing Minister Rich Coleman, whose ministry is putting up the funding for the centre via BC Housing’s budget for affordable housing. Under questioning from Opposition Critic Nicholas Simons in the BC Legislature, Coleman assured British Columbians that he was confident this was the right thing to do because his sister in Ontario was an expert on autism:

Read the full post on Public Eye.

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