On February 12, 2020, Canadians for Vaccine Choice (CFVC) and the Park Theatre held a secret showing of Vaxxed II: The People's Truth for the Winnipeg audience. This film is a propaganda piece that spreads false and exaggerated claims of harm resulting from vaccines. The viewers received the location of the presentation on the day the film was shown, almost certainly in an effort to avoid protests.
After the viewing was completed, a question-and-answer session was held by Gerry Bohemier, D. C. This presentation, which was uploaded to YouTube, included the following claims:
Claim: 100 per cent of children are injured by vaccines.
Truth: If this were the case, every children's hospital would be overflowing with patients all the time.
Claim: Fifty per cent of children that will be born five years from now will be autistic due to vaccines. Truth: The apparent increase in autism is due to two factors. One is improved diagnostics; the other is a change to the definition of autism in the DSM-5 which added the former Asperger's Syndrome to the definition.
Claim: Vaccines contain poisons.
Truth: This is likely a reference to thimerosal, a compound that contains mercury, and aluminum salts. Thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines except the one from influenza; there also exists a thimerosal-free version of that vaccine. The average person eats more mercury and aluminum in a single day than is contained in a vaccine. This may also refer to formaldehyde, which is actually manufactured by the human body as a part of the metabolic process.
Claim: There is no science indicating that vaccines are effective.
Truth: Vaccine efficacy is constantly being measured; if a vaccine turns out to be ineffective, it would be removed from the market. Smallpox has been completely eliminated due to vaccines; several other diseases have almost been eradicated.
Claim: Vaccines have no benefit to society.
Truth: This insinuates that vaccine-preventable diseases are good for society. Should we bring back smallpox?
Autistics United Canada firmly condemns the filmmakers, CFVC, and the Park Theatre for their roles in spreading falsehoods and endangering the health of all people; and in their efforts to hide this misinformation session from the public.
Autistics United (AU) Canada is a grassroots self-advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of Autistic people in what is colonially known as Canada.
Statement on MacLean, Livingstone, Delaney and Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia v. Province of Nova Scotia Remedy Decision
Autistics United Nova Scotia strongly condemns the insufficient compensation by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission's board of inquiry in the case of Beth MacLean, Joey Delaney and the late Sheila Livingstone.
It is important that the board of inquiry did recognize that Beth, Joey and Sheila suffered discrimination and violence while institutionalized at Emerald Hall, and that they should receive compensation from the province for it. We must also commend the order to have Beth and Joey placed in community-supported housing and that the progress on this will be monitored. However, we object to the comments by the board chair of the inquiry, Walter Thompson, used to justify the amount of compensation.
Mr. Thompson said, “Joey Delaney is so disabled that payment to him of a very large sum will not have a greater impact on his life than a moderate sum. Beth MacLean does have capacity but the potential benefit to her of a very large damage award is limited.”
Particularly troubling is when Mr. Thompson said that Beth, Joey and Sheila have “a lack of capacity to benefit from the fruits of a (larger award).”
This kind of statement is extremely ableist. It is shockingly similar to what many people often say in support of sheltered workshops, where disabled people work for mere pennies on the dollar. When disability rights activists call for sheltered workshops to be closed, their parents often intervene, with statements such as:
“My son is 37. He can’t read or write. He’s not worth $14 an hour, but he is worth something.”
Mr. Thompson called it compensation for “soul-destroying” institutionalization, yet he still awarded Beth MacLean a mere $5,263 per year for each of the 19 years she spent confined in prison-like conditions. She lost 19 years of her life. This decision communicates that disabled lives have a low monetary value.
Our human worth and dignity are not determined by our perceived competence and ability. Moderating the amount of compensation based on disability is discriminatory. The implication is that the harm suffered does not matter as much if it happens to a disabled person.
Mr. Thompson also said that the province did not discriminate against others in similar situations because it is commonplace. However, just because discrimination is common does not mean that it does not exist or that it does not have similar long-term damaging effects on other disabled people.
While it is probably too late to increase the amount of compensation awarded, we call on Mr. Thompson to immediately retract and apologize for his comments suggesting that disabled people are not entitled to large damage awards on the sole basis of their disabilities. We also urge the provincial government and the Human Rights Commission to address larger issues of neglect in institutionalization as the widespread crisis that it is.