Trying to get a meeting with Lisa MacLeod — The Sequel
Before we begin, here’s some background reading for you, if you’re not familiar with my first attempt at this from a few years ago:
We’ll also be hearing about Sophie Barrette’s recent push for a meeting, as she too had an interesting experience back in 2019:
My attempts to make contact
The day after Lisa MacLeod was somehow re-elected as MPP of Nepean, I decided it was time to try, once again, to request a meeting with my member of provincial parliament. I still have many concerns with the state of the Ontario Autism Program, so I wanted to voice those concerns, and honestly feel that I could be helpful in finding solutions to improve the program.
Fortunately, I already had a blank copy of the Meeting Request Form in my documents from last time, as well as some email contacts that hopefully still worked, so I began the process, in earnest, to meet with my “voice in Queen’s Park.”
My initial contact last time was someone named Patricia at the constituency office, and via Susan Truppe (Lisa’s chief of staff, and frequent companion to events) I also had the email to Lisa’s (previous?) scheduler, Jacqueline B.
June 3, 2022
First set of emails sent out to Patricia at the constituency office, Jacqueline B the scheduler, and Susan Truppe, with my completed Meeting Request Form attached.
Right away I receive 3 separate automated ‘out of office’ emails.
Cool, I can handle that.
From Patricia’s automated response, it directs me to instead email someone named Larry, also from the constituency office.
Jacqueline’s auto-response directs me to 2 other possible contacts: Sean or Vijay, and provides their emails addresses as well. Not sure what their positions are, but I’m happy to try and contact them.
Susan’s out of office email directs me to someone names Jacquie S, who I believed to be her executive assistant.
June 6, 2022
Just to cover another base, I send my meeting request to Lisa’s general email: firstname.lastname@example.org, which was something Sophie was told to do when speaking directly with someone at the constituency office.
Done and done.
June 14, 2022
At this point, I haven’t received ANY (non-auto) responses back from my first round of emails, so I begin the next round.
Emails this time were sent to Larry (constituency office alternate), Sean and Vijay (the scheduler’s alternate contacts), as well as Susan Truppe again, as it was now past the ‘out of office” time frame shown in her original email response.
I also addressed an email to Jacquie S, the executuve assistant.
I get an auto-reply stating her “email will not be monitored,” and to contact someone named Noah for all matters after June 3rd.
Cool. I can do that.
(Susan should probably update her automated reply if she hasn’t done so yet).
I go ahead and email Noah right away, rather than waiting, because I can eliminate the chance of a reply from Jacquie S.
A quick search confirms that Noah is also listed as an EA to Lisa.
June 23, 2022
Still not a single email response from anyone, so I go ahead and send follow-up emails to Noah and Susan, Larry, Sean & Vijay.
I also try tagging Susan in a tweet, in case that may help draw her attention to my request:
Still no response from anyone.
Let’s see how Sophie made out.
Sophie seeks a meeting
First of all, my emails don’t hold a candle to the level of commitment Sophie has put in.
June 5, 2022
Sophie tells me that she has sent in a meeting request form.
She also spoke directly to Larry at the constituency office the next day (likely the same Larry I was directed to email) who told her to expect a 1–2 week delay in getting a response as they try to figure out their schedule, etc
He provided her the email address I spoke of above for meeting requests.
June 14, 2022
Sophie does a follow-up call, adding some additional concerns that had popped up since her initial meeting request, and is told she will get a call back from the office once they figure some things out.
Sophie then received a voicemail to tell her the email request can’t be found, and reiterated the email address she should be sending to … which Sophie already had, and received an email confirmation for.
The constituency office insisted she send in her request again, and so she did, receiving another automatic email confirmation. She’s told she should receive a call back the next day.
June 15, 2022
No call-back, so Sophie calls the office, and clearly outlines why she would like a meeting with her MPP, whose job it is to listen to the concerns of her constituents and be their voice in Queen’s Park. Given that we’ve been waiting years for a meeting, autism parents have been more than patient, and deserve time and respect from their elected official. Sophie is told by the receptionist that they don’t know Lisa’s schedule, that they couldn’t offer a meeting at this time, but that they would call her back.
She did receive a call back, later that day if you can believe it, and was told “Lisa’s schedule is fully booked”… despite just that morning being told by the other receptionist that her schedule is not known at this time.
Sophie was clear in stating she would wait, and accept the first available time, but was told they couldn’t schedule anything for her, and tried to redirect her to the MCCSS, the Ministry responsible for the autism program.
Sophie’s concerns are not just about the autism program, and so her interest was to meet directly with her MPP, which should be her right. She had previously contacted Dr Fullerton’s office to request a meeting there, but told that wouldn’t be possible, and that she needed to contact her own MPP.
It’s a hot potato situation.
Lisa’s office is now telling Sophie that they’re going to try and get something arranged with Fullerton, or at least someone with MCCSS, despite there being non-autism concerns to discuss.
No meeting was offered with Lisa MacLeod, and it didn’t sound promising that there ever would be. In theory there should still be a call-back regarding the Fullerton/MCCSS route.
June 17, 2022
Sophie calls again, and leaves a message with Lisa’s office to follow-up, as there have been no commitments yet for a meeting with anyone, of any kind.
Lisa MacLeod demoted, again
Shortly after 11 am on June 24th, it was announced that Lisa had lost her position in Cabinet. She would no longer be a Minister, which also should open up her schedule quite a bit for meeting with constituents.
Then at 12:26 pm, Lisa posts this:
I’m sure the timing is no coincidence.
What bothers many people about this is not just how she waited until after it was announced that she had lost her cabinet position to make this statement, but also:
Why did you run for re-election in the first place?
If she was struggling so much with her mental health, it’s clear that not only is she not in any position to take on the role of a cabinet minister right now, but what’s more, she can’t even provide the basic service of a back-bencher MPP.
If she didn’t feel like she could do her job a few weeks ago, she should have bowed out of the election to keep the position available for someone able to actually serve and represent their constituents.
Did she step down as MPP after her statement?
She’s “temporarily taking a breather.”
Nepean is now officially left without access to their MPP, instead of the unofficial status of no-access autism parents have been experiencing for the last 3+ years.
In my case, every single attempt at email contact was ignored. No response from anyone.
For Sophie, she was given the verbal runaround, first told they didn’t know Lisa’s schedule, then told her schedule was full, followed by an attempt to hand her off to another MPP that already redirected her.
Then, we all find out that Lisa is stepping away from her responsibilities for an unknown amount of time to work on her mental health.
What about our mental health?
What about the 50,000+ autism families out there still waiting for entry into any semblance of a functional autism program?
We can’t just take a break from that life. Lisa now has the luxury of some paid time off to rest and recoup, while thousands and thousands of families languish on an autism services waitlist for meaningful support, made possible by Lisa MacLeod’s destruction of the autism program.
Did I expect to get a meeting when I sent in my request? Not really.
Did I expect to be completely ignored? No.
From the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s website on MPPs:
MPPs in Their Constituencies
When not at the Legislature, MPPs have a number of responsibilities in their home ridings such as meeting with constituents to listen to their concerns, helping to resolve matters related to provincial government services, and attending community events such as school openings or local fundraisers.
Lisa MacLeod is not meeting her responsibilities, and has never shown any interest in doing so.
Disappointing to say the least.