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July 12, 2011

No single cause of autism, research review concludes

No single cause of autism, research review concludes

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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Image: Ernest F.

Many factors of a child’s birth and the condition of the newborn are linked to the future development of autism, but no single factor has been identified as the cause, a meta-analysis of forty previously published research studies concludes.

Autism refers to a cluster of neurological developmental disorders, ranging to mild and severe, that interfere the child’s ability to adjust normally, including defects in normal communication and social interaction.

The systematic review, published in Monday’s issue of Pediatrics, presented the results of a meta-analysis of over sixty perinatal and neonatal risk factors associated with autism reported in the forty published studies. It identified sixteen that were significantly associated with autism. These included low birth weight, complications associated with delivery, fetal distress during labor, “poor condition” of the newborn along with a low Apgar score, multiple births, birth injuries to the baby, and hemorrhaging of the mother during childbirth.

However, the review found that often these factors are linked; not occurring independently but in combination, making the effect of any one factor difficult to determine. Further, the conclusions of the studies often were in conflict with each other regarding the relationship of any single one of the factors to autism. The researcher concluded there was “insufficient evidence to implicate any one perinatal or neonatal factor in autism etiology.” However, they said some evidence suggested the presence of “multiple neonatal complications may increase autism risk.”

Cquote1.svg [M]ultiple neonatal complications may increase autism risk. Cquote2.svg

—Study’s authors

The review also ruled out some factors, finding some were not linked to autism such as the use during childbirth of anesthesia, forceps delivery or vacuum extractor delivery. High birth weight and large head circumference of the newborn were also discounted.

The researcher who headed the study, Hannah Gardener, who was at the Harvard School of Public Health at the time and is now at the University of Miami School of Medicine, emphasized in an interview that parents should not worry if any one of the factors was present at the time of their child’s birth.

Cquote1.svg There is no single strong cause of autism. Cquote2.svg

—Hannah Gardener, researcher

She said, “There is no single strong cause of autism.”

Twin studies have concluded that there is a genetic component to autism and Gardener emphasized the importance of the review’s conclusions that point to the need for continuing study of how factors surrounding birth may interact with genetic factors to result in future autism in a child.



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March 23, 2011

Gene mutation produces autism-like traits in mice

Gene mutation produces autism-like traits in mice

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Diagram of a synapse

By causing the mutation of one specific gene, researchers have produced mice with two frequently encountered behavioral traits of persons diagnosed with autism. Autism commonly affects the ability to interact socially and is associated with repetitive behavior. The finding was reported in the March 20 online edition of Nature.

Using mice, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Duke University mutated one of the genes associated with autism, known as shank3, a gene that controls the production of the shank3 protein present in the brain. Mice that were given this mutation exhibited repetitive behavior and avoided social interactions with the mice around them.

According to MIT Professor Guoping Feng: “Our study demonstrated that Shank3 mutation in mice lead to defects in neuron-neuron communications.”

3D rendering of the shank3 gene

Shank3 protein are found in synapses within the brain. Synapses allow brain cells (called neurons) to communicate with each other. The mutation in the mouse gene interfered with this communication, apparently producing the subsequent autism-like traits. Researchers believe their work demonstrates the important role of shank3 in the functioning of brain circuits that determine behavior.

While hundreds of genes have been linked to autism in human patients, only a small percentage have been linked to shank3. Professor Feng hypothesizes that disruptions of other genes that act on the production of brain proteins affecting synaptic communication may also be related to autistic behavior. If this disruption is real, Feng claims that treatments could be developed to correct synaptic function for any defective synaptic protein in an autistic patient.

Feng continued; “These findings and the mouse model now allow us to figure out the precise neural circuit defects responsible for these abnormal behaviours, which could lead to novel strategies and targets for developing treatment.”

About one in 110 children in the U.S., and at least one in 100 in UK, have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, for which there is currently no effective cure.



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September 30, 2009

Court revelation by John Travolta of son’s disease sparks autism debate

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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A recent revelation by American actor John Travolta in court testimony during an ongoing extortion case in The Bahamas that his late son Jett suffered from autism, has stirred debate and controversy over the disease. News media and critics have questioned whether Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston should have acknowledged Jett’s illness sooner. In response to comments made Tuesday about the recent events on the ABC television program The View, the National Autism Association issued a press release stating they “very much support the Travolta family and all families affected by autism”.

John Travolta in 2008
Image: Michael Wolf.

Cquote1.png My son was autistic and suffered from seizure disorder. Cquote2.png

John Travolta

Travolta’s testimony last week admitting that his son was autistic was the first time he had stated as much publicly; previously he and his wife had only said Jett had experienced Kawasaki syndrome. Travolta’s son Jett died in January 2009 at the age of 16 after experiencing a seizure. “My son was autistic and suffered from seizure disorder. Every five to ten days he suffered seizures which lasted 45 seconds to a minute,” said Travolta in his court testimony on September 22. A piece in iVillage noted Travolta had been pressured for years to speak out publicly about his son Jett’s autism. iVillage cited a 2007 piece in the New York Post, where a source commented “He could do so much good for autism awareness if he would just come forward.”

News media and critics have suggested that Travolta and his wife’s allegiance to Scientology was behind their rationale for not previously acknowledging that Jett was autistic. The Church of Scientology opposes psychiatry and does not recognize autism as an affliction. Church representative Tommy Davis had told MSNBC that “The Church of Scientology has no position on autism,” however a Scientology-founded organization the Citizens Commission On Human Rights stated to the United States Senate in 2008: “The Citizens Commission on Human Rights believes that there is no known medical treatment for autism except off-label drugs.”

Former Scientologists Tory Christman and Claire Headley were interviewed about the recent revelation by Travolta for The Daily Beast, and commented on its implications. Christman suffers from epilepsy, a condition which also causes seizures. She told The Daily Beast that the Church of Scientology pressured her to go off of her seizure medications, and instead take “vitamins and supplements”. After doing so, Christman experienced a grand mal seizure and knocked out two of her teeth in the bathroom. Headley, who has filed a lawsuit against Scientology for labor-law violations, told The Daily Beast that the only techniques that Scientology would have sanctioned to help Jett would have been internal procedures known as “assists and objective processing”. Church representative Tommy Davis responded to The Daily Beast: “This religion is utterly and completely about helping. It’s just insane to think that Scientology would be a factor in somebody not getting all the help they need.”

Cquote1.svg Everybody handles autism in the best way that they can and for whatever personal reasons they had, they chose not to make it public. Cquote2.svg

—President of the National Autism Association

ABC News reported Tuesday that the president of the National Autism Association (NAA), Wendy Fournier, stated those that had experience with autism awareness had previously recognized signs from media video that Jett Travolta suffered from the disease. Fournier commented: “It didn’t really come as a surprise for people. But I’ve read some things that really bother me – basically that they should have come forward sooner. Everybody handles autism in the best way that they can and for whatever personal reasons they had, they chose not to make it public. Just because you have a child with autism and you’re a celebrity, it does not automatically mandate you to be a spokesperson for the disorder.” Another official from the autism community, the national manager for Talk About Curing, Autism Rebecca Estepp, said to ABC News: “The Travoltas are suffering right now from a tragedy that could affect anyone. … We’ve heard of several children passing away with seizures lately.”

On Tuesday’s edition of the ABC television program The View, co-host Whoopi Goldberg commented on the statements made by the representative of the National Autism Association to ABC News about Travolta’s admission of his son’s autism. “Since John Travolta has testified his son Jett was autistic in this blackmail case, the National Autism Association has come out saying they didn’t expect him to be a celebrity spokesperson for autism, but he should have come forward sooner,” said Goldberg.

The View co-hosts proceeded to discuss whether Travolta should have publicly revealed his son’s ailment earlier, and the impact of labels in society and the media. Sherri Shepherd commented on the negative impact of labeling individuals, and guest-host Gloria Estefan remarked: “I don’t like labels, period.” “I guess what is stunning to me is that anyone has the right to expect you to say anything about your family,” said Goldberg.

“Isn’t it partly that he’s a Scientologist and that there’s a reputation that Scientologists don’t believe in diseases of certain kinds?” asked co-host Joy Behar. Goldberg asserted that it was the individual’s decision whether or not to speak publicly about such an issue. Shepherd pointed out that celebrity actress Jenny McCarthy has spoken out publicly about autism, which her son suffers from, and noted that her voice has helped to focus public attention on the disease.

Behar questioned Travolta’s earlier statements that his son had Kawasaki disease: “The thing about Travolta though – he called it Kawasaki disease. Did he know that it was autism, and just said it was Kawasaki – was he making that up? I don’t know.” Goldberg said: “This is not the way to get people to come out and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to take a stand.’ It’s just, it’s none of your business until somebody wants to make it your business, but that’s just me.

Cquote1.png As a nation, we need to instead focus on helping those affected by autism, which now affects 1 in 100 children. Cquote2.png

—Board chair, National Autism Association

After the program’s broadcast, the National Autism Association came out with a press release Tuesday, in response to statements made on The View. “The National Autism Association stated today that they very much support the Travolta family and all families affected by autism”, said the press release. The NAA clarified that the statement made to ABC News by its president Wendy Fournier was the opposite position of that quoted by Goldberg, asserting that it was taken out of context. “I agree with Ms. Goldberg, the Travoltas, like any other family struggling with the illness of their child, are entitled to their privacy. I have read hurtful, judgmental comments from individuals as well as organizations, suggesting that that the Travolta family owed it to the autism community to use their celebrity to bring awareness to the disorder. I couldn’t disagree more,” said Fournier.

The organization’s board chair, Lori McIlwain, commented in the press release: “NAA is here to support families and fellow parents. This debate does not serve anyone. As a nation, we need to instead focus on helping those affected by autism, which now affects 1 in 100 children.” According to the release, the organization was founded in 2003, and is one of the largest in the United States. The NAA’s mission includes educated families about autism and neurological disorders.

Cleveland, Ohio-based University Hospitals Case Medical Center child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Marcie Hall said that according to studies one fourth of autistic children may concurrently have seizure disorder. The director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Management Center at New York City‘s Montefiore Medical Center, Dr. Shlomo Shinnar, stated: “In neurologically-normal children with epilepsy, the risk of death is actually no different than for children without seizures.”



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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikipedia
Learn more about Scientology and psychiatry and Autism on Wikipedia.


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Court revelation by John Travolta of son\’s disease sparks autism debate

Court revelation by John Travolta of son’s disease sparks autism debate

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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A recent revelation by American actor John Travolta in court testimony during an ongoing extortion case in The Bahamas that his late son Jett suffered from autism, has stirred debate and controversy over the disease. News media and critics have questioned whether Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston should have acknowledged Jett’s illness sooner. In response to comments made Tuesday about the recent events on the ABC television program The View, the National Autism Association issued a press release stating they “very much support the Travolta family and all families affected by autism”.

John Travolta in 2008
Image: Michael Wolf.

Cquote1.svg My son was autistic and suffered from seizure disorder. Cquote2.svg

—John Travolta

Travolta’s testimony last week admitting that his son was autistic was the first time he had stated as much publicly; previously he and his wife had only said Jett had experienced Kawasaki syndrome. Travolta’s son Jett died in January 2009 at the age of 16 after experiencing a seizure. “My son was autistic and suffered from seizure disorder. Every five to ten days he suffered seizures which lasted 45 seconds to a minute,” said Travolta in his court testimony on September 22. A piece in iVillage noted Travolta had been pressured for years to speak out publicly about his son Jett’s autism. iVillage cited a 2007 piece in the New York Post, where a source commented “He could do so much good for autism awareness if he would just come forward.”

News media and critics have suggested that Travolta and his wife’s allegiance to Scientology was behind their rationale for not previously acknowledging that Jett was autistic. The Church of Scientology opposes psychiatry and does not recognize autism as an affliction. Church representative Tommy Davis had told MSNBC that “The Church of Scientology has no position on autism,” however a Scientology-founded organization the Citizens Commission On Human Rights stated to the United States Senate in 2008: “The Citizens Commission on Human Rights believes that there is no known medical treatment for autism except off-label drugs.”

Former Scientologists Tory Christman and Claire Headley were interviewed about the recent revelation by Travolta for The Daily Beast, and commented on its implications. Christman suffers from epilepsy, a condition which also causes seizures. She told The Daily Beast that the Church of Scientology pressured her to go off of her seizure medications, and instead take “vitamins and supplements”. After doing so, Christman experienced a grand mal seizure and knocked out two of her teeth in the bathroom. Headley, who has filed a lawsuit against Scientology for labor-law violations, told The Daily Beast that the only techniques that Scientology would have sanctioned to help Jett would have been internal procedures known as “assists and objective processing”. Church representative Tommy Davis responded to The Daily Beast: “This religion is utterly and completely about helping. It’s just insane to think that Scientology would be a factor in somebody not getting all the help they need.”

Cquote1.svg Everybody handles autism in the best way that they can and for whatever personal reasons they had, they chose not to make it public. Cquote2.svg

—President of the National Autism Association

ABC News reported Tuesday that the president of the National Autism Association (NAA), Wendy Fournier, stated those that had experience with autism awareness had previously recognized signs from media video that Jett Travolta suffered from the disease. Fournier commented: “It didn’t really come as a surprise for people. But I’ve read some things that really bother me – basically that they should have come forward sooner. Everybody handles autism in the best way that they can and for whatever personal reasons they had, they chose not to make it public. Just because you have a child with autism and you’re a celebrity, it does not automatically mandate you to be a spokesperson for the disorder.” Another official from the autism community, the national manager for Talk About Curing, Autism Rebecca Estepp, said to ABC News: “The Travoltas are suffering right now from a tragedy that could affect anyone. … We’ve heard of several children passing away with seizures lately.”

On Tuesday’s edition of the ABC television program The View, co-host Whoopi Goldberg commented on the statements made by the representative of the National Autism Association to ABC News about Travolta’s admission of his son’s autism. “Since John Travolta has testified his son Jett was autistic in this blackmail case, the National Autism Association has come out saying they didn’t expect him to be a celebrity spokesperson for autism, but he should have come forward sooner,” said Goldberg.

The View co-hosts proceeded to discuss whether Travolta should have publicly revealed his son’s ailment earlier, and the impact of labels in society and the media. Sherri Shepherd commented on the negative impact of labeling individuals, and guest-host Gloria Estefan remarked: “I don’t like labels, period.” “I guess what is stunning to me is that anyone has the right to expect you to say anything about your family,” said Goldberg.

“Isn’t it partly that he’s a Scientologist and that there’s a reputation that Scientologists don’t believe in diseases of certain kinds?” asked co-host Joy Behar. Goldberg asserted that it was the individual’s decision whether or not to speak publicly about such an issue. Shepherd pointed out that celebrity actress Jenny McCarthy has spoken out publicly about autism, which her son suffers from, and noted that her voice has helped to focus public attention on the disease.

Behar questioned Travolta’s earlier statements that his son had Kawasaki disease: “The thing about Travolta though – he called it Kawasaki disease. Did he know that it was autism, and just said it was Kawasaki – was he making that up? I don’t know.” Goldberg said: “This is not the way to get people to come out and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to take a stand.’ It’s just, it’s none of your business until somebody wants to make it your business, but that’s just me.

Cquote1.svg As a nation, we need to instead focus on helping those affected by autism, which now affects 1 in 100 children. Cquote2.svg

—Board chair, National Autism Association

After the program’s broadcast, the National Autism Association came out with a press release Tuesday, in response to statements made on The View. “The National Autism Association stated today that they very much support the Travolta family and all families affected by autism”, said the press release. The NAA clarified that the statement made to ABC News by its president Wendy Fournier was the opposite position of that quoted by Goldberg, asserting that it was taken out of context. “I agree with Ms. Goldberg, the Travoltas, like any other family struggling with the illness of their child, are entitled to their privacy. I have read hurtful, judgmental comments from individuals as well as organizations, suggesting that that the Travolta family owed it to the autism community to use their celebrity to bring awareness to the disorder. I couldn’t disagree more,” said Fournier.

The organization’s board chair, Lori McIlwain, commented in the press release: “NAA is here to support families and fellow parents. This debate does not serve anyone. As a nation, we need to instead focus on helping those affected by autism, which now affects 1 in 100 children.” According to the release, the organization was founded in 2003, and is one of the largest in the United States. The NAA’s mission includes educated families about autism and neurological disorders.

Cleveland, Ohio-based University Hospitals Case Medical Center child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Marcie Hall said that according to studies one fourth of autistic children may concurrently have seizure disorder. The director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Management Center at New York City’s Montefiore Medical Center, Dr. Shlomo Shinnar, stated: “In neurologically-normal children with epilepsy, the risk of death is actually no different than for children without seizures.”



Related news

  • “Testimony by John Travolta that son was autistic raises Scientology questions” — Wikinews, September 24, 2009
  • “Wikinews Shorts: January 3, 2009” — Wikinews, January 3, 2009
  • “Marathon runner addresses Toronto, bringing attention to autism” — Wikinews, July 24, 2008
  • “Large study provides new insights in autism’s genetic code” — Wikinews, February 22, 2007

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikipedia Learn more about Scientology and psychiatry and Autism on Wikipedia.
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September 26, 2008

CanadaVOTES: Liberal Sandra Gardiner running in Perth—Wellington

CanadaVOTES: Liberal Sandra Gardiner running in Perth—Wellington

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Friday, September 26, 2008

CanadaVOTES
Interview series
2008 Canadian federal election

ALBERTA
Calgary Southwest: CHP
Edmonton—Leduc: NDP
Yellowhead: CHP

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Langley: CHP*
Vancouver Kingsway: NDP

MANITOBA
Brandon—Souris: CHP

NOVA SCOTIA
Dartmouth—Cole Harbour: CHP

ONTARIO
Cambridge: NDP
Carleton—Mississippi Mills: NDP
Don Valley West: NDP
Elgin—Middlesex—London: NDP
Haldimand—Norfolk: LIB, CHP
Hamilton Centre: NDP i
Hamilton East—Stoney Creek: NDP i
Lanark-Front.-Lennox & Addin.: LIB
Parry Sound—Muskoka: NDP
Perth—Wellington: LIB
Prince Edward—Hastings: NDP
Simcoe—Grey: NDP
Thornhill: LIB i
Toronto Centre: AAEV*
Toronto—Danforth: LIB, AAEV
York—Simcoe: CHP

QUEBEC
Louis-Hébert: CHP
Westmount—Ville-Marie: NDP

SASKATCHEWAN
Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar: Lbtn

* Asterisks designate riding incumbents or registered political party leaders.
The letter “i” after a party abbreviation signifies an incumbent MP response.

To write, edit, start or view other Canada articles, see the Canada Portal

On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. Liberal Party candidate Sandra Gardiner is standing for election in the riding of Perth—Wellington. A Stratford resident for the last 17 years, she has worked as a Registered Nurse for the last 14, in hospital, long term, and community care settings. She is a member of Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Canadian Association of Physicians concerned about the Environment, FarmGate5, Common Action for the Restoration of the Environment, Autism Ontario, the Planning Committee for Rotary Respite House, and board member of Optimism Place, the local women’s shelter.

Wikinews contacted Sandra, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.

The riding is currently held by Conservative Gary Schellenberger, who was also MP for the previous riding, Perth—Middlesex. Perth—Wellington includes the County of Perth, and the Town of Minto and the townships of Mapleton and Wellington North in the County of Wellington. Also challenging Schellenberger are John Cowling (Green), Irma DeVries (Christian Heritage), Julian Ichim (Marxist-Leninist), and Kerry McManus (NDP).

For more information, visit the campaign’s official website, listed below.

Interview

Why are you running for political office, why at the federal level, why this party, and why in this riding?

I am running for office because I care about Canada and my fellow Canadians. I am worried about the future we are leaving behind to our children. I am running for Member of Parliament because it is Canada?s top level of government that carries the responsibility of overseeing which path we take in dealing with the following issues: the direction we chose for our Economy and ensure it stays on course; the way we chose to deal with the Environment; protection of our Universal Health Care System and many other issues. The Federal Government sets the tone for the rest of the Country to follow. I want to be a part of how we shape the future. The Liberal Party of Canada has come to match my values best. I support our plans addressing the following issues Economy, Environment, Healthcare, Poverty Reduction, continued support for our Arts and Culture Community, our policy on immigration and our role Internationally. I have just touched on just a few of the reasons I have come to embrace the ideas of the Liberal Party of Canada. I am running in this riding because I have been a resident here for almost 20 years. As a result I have first hand experience with some of the issues here locally. I am passionate about my community.

Previous to this campaign, have you been politically involved? How will you apply your previous work/volunteer/life experience to serving your constituents?

I became politically active when my children’s child care centre was threatened with closure 4 years ago. I organized a group of parents from the Day Care and we were successful in preventing this closure. This lead me to become involved in many other activities.
I think that having first hand experience working within the Health Care System will be a crucial part to my work as a Member of Parliament and making decisions when it comes to Health Care. Being a woman and a mother also contributes to how I will make my decisions.
Finally I am a creative thinker. I am always coming up with new solutions for old problems. I believe that Canadians are looking for politicians with ideas and a vision for the future. Canadians want a Prime Minister who cares about the future of Canada and cares about all Canadians. I think Canadians are tired of the negative attack ads and rhetoric.

As you campaign around your riding, it’s likely that some issues are mentioned more often by voters, than other issues. What would you say are the three hottest topics this election, in your riding?

The Economy which would include job losses we have experienced and the ripple effect that has been felt as a result. How well agriculture has been performing is also a part of our local economy here. We have the third largest pork producing region in Canada. Their industry has suffered greatly over the last few years. The beef industry has also experienced hard times. Agriculture is the largest movement of economic activity in and out of this riding daily. 1 in 3 jobs are tied to agriculture in this riding. We have watched a large number of manufacturing jobs leave this riding over the last couple of years. We have the local issue funding of the University of Waterloo Site in Stratford. The Federal Government has not committed to the $10 million requested to assist with the project. This is a contentious issue for local residents. Funding of the University will have a profound economic effect on this region.
Arts and Culture is the second issue that has been brought up at the door. Many are deeply concerned over the cuts to the programs in recent months. They are also concerned about the future of Arts and Culture under the Harper government should he be successful in winning a majority government.
I have to say I have had a number of comments over the timing of the election and constituents not feeling that the election was necessary. They would state that they felt that parliament was working and the election could have waited until the fixed date October 2009. Most are undecided in how to vote or there is a sense of voter apathy.

What would you and your party do to address these issues?

We have come out with an exciting, comprehensive platform to address all of these issues mentioned except Stephen Harper breaking his own law of a fixed election date. I can state that I will come through with the funding portion of the Federal Government for the University of Waterloo site in Stratford, provided we are governing party.
I think that hosting an ongoing open dialogue with your constituents is key to representing your riding and also working collaboratively with your partners in both the provincial and municipal levels of government. One needs to be versed and vocal on the issues, be honest in what they can promise and follow through on.
Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Is there any misconceptions about you, your leader, or your party and platform?

There are 2 misconceptions that we have had to contend with so far.
One is that our leader, Stephane Dion is perceived as being a weak leader. My response to that question is that Stephane is a man of integrity and honesty; by no means is he weak as a leader. I will remind those that view Mr. Dion as weak that he united Canada with the Clarity Act and stood by this. Despite all the death threats he and his family received during this time.
Secondly there have been many lies by the Conservatives during this campaign such as the Liberals will raise the GST back up to 7% and that the Liberals will repeal the Universal Child Tax Benefit. Both statements are absolutely 100% false.
The Conservatives have also panned and widely dismissed our Green Shift Plan. Stating it is a plan to simply raise taxes and that there would be a great number of job losses associated with this plan and it would cause everything to go up in price. Never before have we had such consensus amongst Environmentalists and Economists; all agreeing this is the right plan for both the Economy and the Environment. We will have income tax cuts and we will create a tremendous amount of jobs for this country.

There’s a more ways than ever to get your message out, from the traditional campaign fliers and lawn signs, to new media like websites, Facebook, and YouTube. The tried-and-true routes get the message out to the masses much easier, but digital alternatives are much more measurable in how many are seeing or interacting with your campaign. What seems to be the most effective, from your experience?

I am using the web and Facebook. I am still finding though that good old fashioned meeting people appears to be the most effective way to communicate the messages of the Liberal Party and for constituents to know who I am and why they should vote for me.

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July 24, 2008

Marathon runner addresses Toronto, bringing attention to autism

Marathon runner addresses Toronto, bringing attention to autism

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Canada
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Four months and 3,200 kilometres ago, Canadian runner Jonathan Howard began his run across the second-largest country in the world, to raise awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

A graduate of McMaster University, Howard arrived in Toronto this week, to address the nation’s largest city before continuing his westward run which will take him through all ten Canadian provinces.

Art Eggleton (L) and Jonathan Howard (R).
Image: Joshua Sherurcij.

Howard was met Monday at a charity barbecue by Senator Art Eggleton. The fundraiser was part of Howard’s strategy to raise 2.5 million dollars to assist families that support children with ASD. “Spectrum is a very puzzling word,” he told the gathering “because there are many types of autism on that spectrum”. The real goal of his RunTheDream.ca charity drive though, Howard explained, was simply to “get people involved in the issue” and generate attention for the little-understood disorder.

Eggleton, who welcomed Terry Fox to the city as mayor in 1980, drew comparisons to the Marathon of Hope runner who became a Canadian icon. While praising Howard’s efforts to raise money and awareness, the senator said he believed that “an awful lot more needs to be done” at the political level to combat the financial and emotional difficulties that face those dealing with autism.

Howard reassured supporters that he still intended to reach Victoria, B.C. before December 31. “The challenges are great,” he confessed “but as long as the determination is greater, anything can be achieved”.

Terry Robinson, a two-time Canadian Paralympic contender born with cerebral palsy, pledged to follow Howard’s journey two weeks ago on its three-month leg from Ottawa to Winnipeg.

Robinson addressed the city, speaking about how his own disabilities left him with an appreciation for how important it was to ensure that people struggling with autism had access to services that could support them.


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May 28, 2008

Florida teacher lets students vote to remove child from class

Florida teacher lets students vote to remove child from class

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Location of Port St. Lucie within Lucie County and the state of Florida.

A kindergarten teacher in Port St. Lucie, Florida, United States is being reassigned following an incident last week in which her students voted to remove a possibly autistic child from the classroom.

According to school officials, Morningside Elementary School teacher Wendy Portillo held a vote in her kindergarten classroom concerning the removal of 5-year-old Alex Barton. The boy’s mother, Melissa Barton, says her son is in the process of testing for Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism which can impair social skills and behavior. She says that Alex has had disciplinary problems stemming from his condition.

Alex’s mother gave her account of the events. She said each of his classmates was allowed to say what they didn’t like about him; this included comments such as “disgusting” and “annoying”, Barton said. After that, the teacher held a vote in which the class voted out Alex by a margin of 14 to 2. “He was incredibly upset,” she said. “The only friend he has ever made in his life was forced to do this.” Barton says that after the vote, the teacher asked Alex how he felt, to which he replied, “I feel sad.”

Cquote1.svg The only friend he has ever made in his life was forced to do this. Cquote2.svg

—Melissa Barton, Alex’s mother

Alex then left the classroom and spent the rest of the day in the school nurse’s office, his mother says. The nurse reportedly told Barton to talk with the child’s teacher, who told the mother what had happened. Barton says her son will not be returning to Morningside Elementary anymore. “I’ll never be able to send him to school again without worrying if something is going to happen,” she said.

Barton says she is considering whether to file a lawsuit. The state attorney’s office decided that no criminal charges would be filed, since the incident did not meet the criteria for emotional child abuse. But the school district is investigating Portillo’s actions, says St. Lucie County School District spokeswoman Janice Karst, and it could be up to two weeks before a conclusion is reached.

After being contacted by Barton, the school’s resource officer interviewed Portillo about the incident. According to police spokeswoman Michelle Steele, the teacher said Alex had been sent to the office earlier that day, and when he came back to class, Portillo asked the students if they were ready for him to return. She allegedly had told her class that the vote was part of a lesson on tallying.

Portillo, who has taught in St. Lucie County for 12 years, has been reassigned out of the classroom at the district offices for the time being. Alex’s mother believes that Portillo has “no business being near children at all” and should be fired, calling her reassignment “just a slap in the face”.

The school board has advised Portillo not to speak with the press.



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November 8, 2007

Trailer released for Lordi horror movie

Trailer released for Lordi horror movie – Wikinews, the free news source

Trailer released for Lordi horror movie

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Finland
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A short trailer for the movie Dark Floors, a horror starring Finnish theatrical hard rock band Lordi, has been released.

The film, set in a hospital, follows a group of people left trapped by a broken lift as they are attacked by monsters, and focuses heavily on one particular patient, a little autistic girl.

Dark Floors, acted in English by a largely Finnish cast, cost €4.2 million (approximately US$6 million) to make. It will make its full premiere in Finland on February 8, 2008, although advance screenings will begin this year.

Lordi recently attended the Cannes Film Festival to promote the movie, where the band’s lead vocalist and frontman described it as a “traditional modern horror” and promised “horrific scenes.”



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October 9, 2007

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green Party candidate Gordon Kubanek, Nepean Carleton

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Green Party candidate Gordon Kubanek, Nepean Carleton

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ontario general election, 2007

Algoma-Manitoulin: FCP
Ajax-Pickering: GRN
Beaches-East York: FCP
Bramalea-Gore-Malton: GRN, NDP, PC
Brant: PC
Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound: NDP
Carleton—Mississippi Mills: GRN
Chatham—Kent—Essex: FCP
Don Valley East: FRE
Don Valley West: FCP
Durham: PC
Essex: LBR
Hamilton Centre: GRN
Hamilton East: FCP
Kenora—Rainy River: PC
Kitchener Centre: FCP
Kitchener-Conestoga: LBR
Lambton—Kent—Middlesex: FCP
London-Fanshawe: PC
London North Centre: GRN
Nepean-Carleton: FCP, GRN
Newmarket-Aurora: FCP
Oakville: GRN
Ottawa Centre: COMM
Ottawa-Orleans: FRE
Ottawa West-Nepean: GRN
Oxford: LIB
Parkdale-High Park: LBR
Peterborough: GRN
Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke: NDP
Scarborough-Rouge River: LBR, NDP
St. Paul’s: FCP, IND
Sudbury: FCP
Thornhill: GRN
Toronto Centre: COMM
Toronto—Danforth: LBR, COMM
Thunder Bay-Atikokan: GRN
Trinity-Spadina: LIB, PC
Vaughan: GRN, NDP
Welland: GRN
Willowdale: GRN, FCP
Windsor-Tecumseh‎: GRN
Whitby-Oshawa‎: GRN
York Centre: GRN

What colours will the map be October 11th?

Map of the new ridings in Southern Ontario coloured in by using the transposition of the results of the 2003 election.

To write, edit, start or view other Canada articles, see the Canada Portal
Elections Ontario

Gordon Kubanek is running for the Green Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Nepean-Carleton riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Interview

Why have you chosen to involve yourself in the political process? Why did you choose to run in this constituency?

Three years ago I moved out of the city to live the country life but a virus from my new environment gave me congestive heart failure. During my three year recovery period I promised myself that IF I recovered I would find a new purpose to my life. That purpose is helping the Green Party to bring a saner and healthier way of living to Ontario.

What prior political experience do you have? What skills and insight can you bring to office, from other non-political positions you may have held?

Previously I was the riding president for the federal Conservative party in Ottawa; am the federal Green party riding president; have helped out in 3 campaigns, worked with many school initiatives in the public school I teach in and on several committees in the school my children attend. My experience living and working in Europe, USA, Australia and Canada have given me a global perspective that none of the other local candidates have. My consulting work of the Department of National Defence using a computer modeling methodology called “System Dynamics” [ the same method used to create scenarios for the world’s future in the classic ‘Limits to Growth”] give me a real experience how we MUST think ahead and act BEFORE big problems happen by changing how we live and behave pro-actively.

Which of your competitors do you expect to pose the biggest challenge to your candidacy? Why? What makes you the most desirable of all candidates running in the riding?

The Conservative candidate is the biggest challenge as she is the incumbent and the voters currently see themselves as mostly ‘conservative’ – no matter what the facts are. I am perhaps not the most desirable but certainly most capable of guiding this riding into the 21st century as only the Green platform has new solutions to our new 21st century problems. I am also the only candidate raising his family in this riding and the only candidate with enough life experience to see that simple solutions to complex problems only make things worse.

What do you feel are the three most important issues to voters in your riding? Are these the same top three issues that are most important to you? What would you do to address these issues?

  1. Transportation/urban sprawl: We must redesign our cities around walkable communities linked by light rail; the Federal governments plans for the old Rockcliff air base is an excellent example of how the province should work with the cities to redesign how we live.
  2. I am focused on opposing the proposed MINTO development in Manotick because it will create traffic chaos, destroy the village character and legal status of the village, and make a real mass transit solution even more difficult to implement, and increase smog that increases the asthma rate among our children.
  3. The ticking time bomb in Nepean-Carleton is the rise in environmental illness. It is well documented that autism rates have increased 100 fold in the last 30 years in Nepean-Carleton. However asthma, peanut allergies, fatal responses to even perfumes are all indication that our autoimmune system is under great stress. I almost died of heart failure from a virus three years so I know personally what our environment is trying to tell us something significant: remove the toxic chemicals that have become integral to our lifestyle or our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences

What should be the first order of business in the 39th Legislative Assembly?

Stop the loss of well paying industrial job by investing in 21st century high tech and green jobs that cannot be done by 3rd world countries.

Are the property taxes in your riding at a fair level for the amount of services received in the municipality?

The property taxes are high but that is not the REAL issue. The real issue is that the property tax system should be changed to a LAND value taxation system [LVT] that, for example, charges the same tax to a parking lot as a large building; or charge the same tax to a developer who sits on land with no buildings as it would if the land hand building. This will increase intensification in the city and stop developers from sitting on land and developing it when they want to.

How can the province lead the way in stimulating job creation?

Invest in helping companies that do ‘green’ & high tech activities. Eg. Robotics.

What are your views on the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) referendum?

I am VERY pro MMP as without it we have no democracy because in my view democracy means 50% +1. Now we have government with a majority elected by the minority who imposed its will on the majority – this is NOT democracy.

What role, if any, does “new media” play in your campaign, and the campaign of your party? (websites, blogs, Facebook, YouTube videos, etc) Do you view it as beneficial, or a challenge?

My website has been my #1 campaign tool. I have post videos from Utube on my site and have a Facebook identity. I know that I should do more but frankly have not had the time to do it all.

Of the decisions made by Ontario’s 38th Legislative Assembly, which was the most beneficial to your this electoral district? To the province as a whole? Which was least beneficial, or even harmful, to your this riding? To the province as a whole?

I do no think that the government did very much. They are good caretakers in that we have had labour peace and they have undone some of the damage done to the environmental legislation created by the PCs. Their problem is that they have no new ideas on how to remove Ontario from being the province now lowest in job growth. We need NEW ways to move us forward and they need some the Green party platform ideas to do this.



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Wikinews
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June 9, 2007

Lordi horror movie receives 300,000 euros of Finnish government funding

Lordi horror movie receives 300,000 euros of Finnish government funding

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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Finnish group Lordi perform Hard Rock Hallelujah at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest.
Image: Indrek Galetin.

Dark Floors, a horror film under production in Northern Finland and starring the hard rock band Lordi (who are famed for their monster costumes and lyrical themes), has received €300,000 (£200,000) funding from the Finnish government.

Lordi are also famed for their record-breaking 292 point victory in the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 with their song Hard Rock Hallelujah. It was also the first time a hard rock song had won the contest, and Finland’s first ever victory.

The film is being shot in English, with a largely Finnish cast, and has a production cost of €4.2 million (£2.84 million). The plot features a “monster attack” on the world, with a young Autistic girl being the only person in a position to save it.

Lead singer Mr Lordi said that as their masks and costumes were derived from horror films it was “kind of natural” that they should make their own.

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