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Updated: Sun, 18 May 2014 13:51:49 GMT | By The Canadian Press, cbc.ca

Kathleen Wynne reacts to Doug Ford remarks on autistic home



Councillor Doug Ford, Mayor Rob Ford's Campaign Manager makes his way past waiting journalists as opponents John Tory and Karen Stintz formally enter the Mayoral race at Toronto's City Hall on Monday February 23, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young The Canadian Press

Councillor Doug Ford, Mayor Rob Ford's Campaign Manager makes his way past waiting journalists as opponents John Tory and Karen Stintz formally enter the Mayoral race at Toronto's City Hall on Monday February 23, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young The Canadian Press

Doug Ford, the brother of Toronto mayor Rob Ford, is being criticized over comments attributed to him in a media report about a residential home for developmentally disabled youth, which he says has “ruined” the neighborhood.

The Etobicoke Guardian has reported that Ford told a public meeting on the west-end facility should be moved. The comments have sparked many angry comments on Twitter and a rebuke from Kathleen Wynne, the province's Liberal leader.

Ford suggested the root of the problem is the closure under the Liberal government of a regional centre in the west end.

"The provincial government, [Premier] Kathleen Wynne, they closed down the Thistletown Regional Centre," Ford said.

"It was a beautiful centre, had 43 acres that allowed families to have their children with challenges there. Since she has closed that down they have dispersed these folks throughout the west end."

Wynne, on the campaign trail Sunday, responded to Ford’s comments by pointing out that her government had $810 million set aside in her last budget for services for children and adults with developmental difficulties.

Wynne did not respond directly to Ford's comment but instead reiterated her government's commitment to helping autistic people.

“There has not been a government that has put as much focus and support into children with autism and adults with autism,” said Wynne Saturday morning. "For me, what's important is that the services that are provided to the people who need them are provided in the best way possible."

“I would love the opportunity to implement that $810 million.”

The services and programs that Thistletown provided were transferred to the community and the closure is in line with government efforts to "build a more coordinated mental health system," the province said when it announced the closure.

At that time there were 15 adult and youth residents at Thistletown and about 400 people were receiving support through non-residential programs.

The community newspaper the Etobicoke Guardian reported on Friday that Ford's office organized a public meeting on Thursday concerning the facility run by the Griffin Centre.

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