Lisa Gretzky MPP, for Windsor West

Government of Ontario

MacLeod must explain why she twisted parents words: NDP MPPs

Published on February 26, 2019

QUEEN’S PARK — Today in question period, the NDP’s critic for Community and Social Services, Lisa Gretzky, and critic for Children and Youth Services Monique Taylor both asked Children and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod to account for her manipulation of families with children awaiting autism services. 

Gretzky, MPP for Windsor West, called out MacLeod for twisting the words of Sherri Taylor, a Windsor mother of four kids with developmental disabilities, who was outraged to learn that MacLeod manipulated, during yesterday’s question period, a quote the mother of four sent the ministry in January about seeking therapy for her autistic son. Sherri says MacLeod skewed her words to make it sound like she supports the Ford government’s cuts to the Ontario Autism Program — a far cry from reality.

“Sherri is disgusted with the way she has been used,” Gretzky said in the legislature. “MacLeod’s office asked [Sherri] for a statement before the announced changes to the autism program. Sherri showed me emails [from the minister’s office], where she was told to add the line, ‘The government is on the right track’ to her statement. Sherri was not told what this statement was to be used for, nor that the minister would be reading it aloud.”

Sherri sent a letter to MacLeod, and posted it on social media to share her outrage at MacLeod, writing, “How DARE you serve your political needs by manipulating my words and my intentions? How DARE you use my quote in Queen’s Park to make it look like I wrote to you AFTER the announcement in support of a plan that will harm our children? How many other quotes have you manipulated? How many other parents have you used? How can anyone trust that the stories you read in Queen’s Park have any shred of truth to them?”

Gretzky asserted: “The minister has bullied, threatened and manipulated families like Sherri’s, and service providers like ONTABA, into giving their support to a plan before they even laid eyes on it.” MacLeod should resign, or be removed, she said. 

Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain, underscored that MacLeod’s lies have dissolved families’ trust in her, referring to documents that surfaced yesterday, which revealed that Doug Ford and MacLeod froze autism therapy waitlists this past fall, then lied about it, telling autism service organizations to hide the freeze from parents. 

“Families have struggled to understand why the government would withhold services from their kids,” Taylor said. “Trust has been broken. Families feel betrayed. Can the Minister tell us how many children were denied service while the government imposed their secret freeze?”