LILLEY: Trudeau's move on autism a cynical ploy

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After being found to have broken Canada’s ethics laws for the second time last week, the Trudeau government is desperate to change the channel.

You can see it on Twitter as cabinet ministers and top staffers tweet about Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer taking his kids on a fishing charter without life jackets on or trying to switch to the idea that Scheer doesn’t like science.

These are both examples of what Liberals have been doing.

On Monday morning, the Trudeau Liberals will take another step in trying to change the channel and they will do it using an emotional and volatile issue in provincial politics — autism funding.

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Pam Damoff, the parliamentary secretary to the health minister, will make an announcement in Oakville described as new support for “Canadians living with Autism Spectrum Disorder and those who care for them.”

It’s an odd timing: With the election is just 64 days away, the Trudeau Liberals have been asked to make autism a federal issue for the last four years and they have done nothing. So why are they acting now?


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It’s simply part of their strategy to campaign in Ontario against the Ford government.

They did it last week when Trudeau himself announced new federal funding for legal aid. The PM tried to make that announcement out to be him stepping up to save vulnerable people from harsh cuts by Ford.

In reality, it was Trudeau finally paying the federal part of legal aid funding that they are responsible for under immigration and refugee cases.

At every turn Trudeau has sought to make the federal vote in Ontario all about Ford rather than Scheer.

Now he is doing it again with a highly-controversial and emotional topic, one that has been at the forefront of Ontario politics over the last several months.

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The Ford government inherited a broken system when it came to the Ontario Autism Program and their first attempts to fix it created a massive backlash. After a cabinet shuffle and a walk back on their changes, the Ford team have doubled autism funding, promised a needs-based program and put in place an advisory panel to help them craft a new program.

Into this will walk the Trudeau government.

Do you doubt for a moment that this will be about using autism funding as a wedge issue?

For families looking for new funding, new support, that is unlikely to matter. On the other hand, where was the federal government for the last four years? Why is this an issue for them just before election day?

The answer is obvious, votes.

Which means families dealing with autism are being used as political pawns again.

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Their pain and suffering is only good for attempting to keep Liberal seats in Toronto’s suburbs.

Ontario’s PC’s promised these same families they would fix the system and didn’t. They may yet but only in the face of the backlash.

Before that, the Ontario Liberals had made the same promise and didn’t get the job done over 15 years.

This new and cynical push by Trudeau should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism.

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