Mike Lake is one of the Conservative MPs from Edmonton and one of the nicest guys you’re likely to meet. His 16-year-old son, Jaden, has autism. So Mike has used his platform as an MP to raise awareness about — as Mike calls it — “this mysterious disorder” and he’s doing so again this week ahead of the September 9th Edmonton Walk Now for Autism. Do click through on that link for information about how you can help raise awareness, chip in a couple of bucks and learn more about Jaden and autism.
One of the most effective ways Mike has helped demystify this “mysterious disorder” for those reporters, politicians, staffers and others who work in and around the House of Commons is by letting us get to know Jaden. Jaden is a frequent a visitor to the House of Commons foyer and even if it’s only for a few minutes here and there a few times a year, watching Jaden grow over the last few years (he’s now 16) and and watching Mike, his wife Debi and their daughter Jenae interact with Jaden has helped me (and I’m sure lots of others) think in different and more positive ways about those with autism.
Better yet, click on the video below to hear Mike talk about his son. This is Mike’s annual statement in the House of Commons on World Autism Awareness Day. This year it happened on April 2 during the “Members Statements” session that MPs can use to say anything they want for 60 seconds just before daily Question Period starts. I remember being in the House for this one, sitting in the reporters’ gallery. Jaden and his family were sitting in the public gallery opposite the government benches — you’ll see Mike nod and gesture to Jaden during this speech here — and I dare you not to well up a bit while you watch.
Good luck with the walk in Edmonton, Mike!