It was at about 8:45 on the morning of September
11, 2001 when the world’s social, economic and political climate underwent
a fundamental change. Two hijacked jumbo jets plowed into the twin rowers
of the World Trade Centre about eighteen minutes apart, sending these colossal
buildings crashing to earth and killing some 3,000 people as the streets
of Manhattan filled with a choking maelstrom of dust and smoke. A third
airplane crashed into the west wing of the Pentagon, while still another
plummeted into a field in Pennsylvania.
by Don Weitz
(This is the text of a flyer which was distributed at the Ontario Common Front’s demonstrations outside the Tory leadership convention, Toronto, March 22-23, 2002)
1. In 1995, the Harris Tories killed the Advocacy Commission, which would have provided individual and systemic advocacy for psychiatric prisoners, developmentally disabled and elderly citizens in institutions. There are a few psychiatric patient advocates in the provincial psychiatric hospitals - none in general hospitals and other institutions.
2. In June 2000, the Harris Tory government passed its fascistic "mental health law" deceptively titled "Brian's Law" or Bill 68; it was proclaimed on December 1, 2000.
3. Bill 68 targets and criminalizes thousands of citizens labelled "seriously mentally ill", "psychotic" or "schizophrenic".
4. Bill 68 re-traumatizes and re-stigmatizes vulnerable people.
5. Bill 68, the Health Care Consent Act and Substitute Decisions Act perpetuate the common myth/stereotype of the "violent mental patient" and promote psychiatry's medical model.
6. Studies show that only 4% of violent crimes are committed by "mentally ill" citizens - 96% by "sane" or "normal" citizens.
7. Bill 68 makes it easier to lock up innocent and vulnerable citizens.
8. Under Bill 68, a "community treatment order" (CTO) can be imposed on any citizen who has been treated in a "mental health facility" for at least 30 days or twice within the last three years. This includes those admitted voluntarily.
9. A CTO authorizes another health professional to forcibly treat (e.g., drug and/or electroshock) you in the community. If you refuse the treatment or miss a doctor's appointment, the police can force you back into a psychoprison ("mental health centre") where you will be locked up, drugged and/or shocked for a longer period.
10. Under the Mental Health Act, any doctor can lock you up for 72 hours for "observation and assessment" on the belief or suspicion you are "mentally ill" and dangerous - without a hearing or trial. This is preventive detention which is prohibited by international law. During this time, you have no legal right to appeal your incarceration, which also violates your rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
11. The Toronto police have killed several "mentally ill" and homeless citizens during the last twelve years - most were men of colour. For example, in 1988 Lester Donaldson was killed by the Toronto police while defending himself in his own home. In 1997, Edmond Wai Hong Yu - Chinese, homeless and a brilliant former medical student with a brief psychiatric history - was shot and killed on a deserted TTC bus by policeman Lou Pasquino. Pasquino was never charged in this incident. One-and-a-half years ago, Hungarian immigrant Otto Vass, once labelled "schizophrenic" when he tried to refuse "medication", was kicked to death in five minutes by four Toronto police officers outside a 711 store. All were charged with manslaughter, the trial has not yet started.
12. The Tory Implementation Task Force on "mental health" (Toronto-Peel Region) is approximately one-year old, it's chaired by former Federal Tory Finance Minister Michael Wilson. (This is one of 9 such "Task Forces" currently meeting in the Province). The task force is dominated by psychiatrists and other "service providers" - there are only 3 or 4 psychiatric survivors on this 34-member committee. It also holds secret meetings.
Psychiatric survivors have started reaching out to other poor and vulnerable people in social justice organizations such as the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), Street Health, and the Ontario Common Front. We're determined to throw the Tories out, because they've violated our human rights and seriously threatened our health and lives. We must resist now. IT'S TIME TO FIGHT TO WIN.
note: People Against Coercive Treatment (PACT) is a grassroots group of psychiatric survivors and human rights activists in Toronto totally opposed to CTOs and all other forced treatment in Ontario. For more info on PACT and the survivor movement, please see these websites: <www.tao.ca/~pact> <www.MindFreedom.org> Ph: 416-760-2795 E-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(Don Weitz is an anti-psychiatry activist and a member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. He was co-founder of the magazine Phoenix Rising and co-editor (with Dr. Bonnie Burstow) of the book Shrink Resistant: The Struggle against Psychiatry in Canada).
Resources in Toronto
People Against Coercive Treatment