The 2% solution

The 2% solution was designed in November, 2005 on the back of an envelope after a FEAT of BC rally marking the first anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Auton. This campaign strategy was non-partisan and focused on a limited number of electoral districts in which the margin of victory in the preceding federal election had been less than 2%. This strategy was used in both the 2006 and 2008 federal elections.

In the January, 2006 election, five electoral districts in Metro Vancouver were chosen and, in two of those, our campaign made the difference. These electoral districts, that had been Conservative or Reform for many years, returned a Liberal and New Democrat to Parliament.

In the October, 2008 election, our campaign went national, targeting fourteen electoral districts from BC to Nova Scotia.  In this election, our main purpose was to raise public awareness of and support for our cause, as well as to recruit new activists and supporters.

In each election, the 2% solution introduced parents to a new advocacy tool – direct political action.  Our campaign’s focus was around a simple question put to each candidate:

“If you are elected as a member of parliament, will you publicly support legislation which will amend the Canada Health Act to include autism treatment under Medicare?”

We trained parent-activists, who attended and asked this question at all candidates’ meetings, in one-on-one interviews with candidates, or via email.

Candidates’ responses were published in local community newspapers.

And, during the the 2008 campaign on our website

Table of responses of candidates during the 2008 federal election

In 2008, the Health Minister’s electoral district of Parry Sound-Muskoka, Ontario was included in our target list.  Three MFAN board members  campaigned there. We attended an all-candidates meeting in Bracebridge, where the Minister was questioned by us.  We also did interviews with local newspaper, radio and TV reporters.