In mid-July, after a patient in CAMH’s forensic unit went out on a pass and didn’t return, the premier was angry about it. He telephoned Newstalk Radio 1010 to vent. He called the man a “nutcase.” He was criticized for using that language, but refused to apologize. For Ford, it’s all irrelevant like the Canadian media, so much cheese falling off crackers.
A couple of weeks later, on August 9, Ford was in Kitchener to make a transit announcement. He was asked if he regretted his use of language.
He replied that he didn’t regret it at all. Instead, Ford doubled down. “Nutcase” became “animal.”
Bill C-30, aka the NCRMD defense, which stands for “not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder,” became the law in Canada in 1992. The bleeding heart in charge at the time was Brian Mulroney.
To be found not guilty under the NCRMD defense an accused must (1) have a mental illness; (2) not have the capacity to appreciate their actions; (3) not know right from wrong and (4) not be in control of their behaviour because of their mental illness.
It’s unfortunate the mental health establishment failed to rise up with one voice to condemn Ford’s hateful language.
There was a letter or two, a press release or two, but they talked about the ins and outs of forensic psychiatry and didn’t mention “animals” and “nutcases” at all.
Then there’s Bell and its Let’s Talk campaign. How do “animals” fit with that?
Words matter. But I don’t like the word “stigma.” I prefer “discrimination.” The premier’s trash talk is hate talk.
The premier should watch his mouth.
David Reville is a former city councillor, MPP and adjunct professor at Ryerson University’s School of Disability Studies.