A state of mutualism : a political study of organizations which represent mentally retarded persons in the Province of Manitoba
Adams, Christopher J.
In Canada, and throughout western industrialized society, there has been a change in direction concerning services and attitudes towards mentally retarded persons. Manitoba has not been excluded from these social shifts. This is becoming more apparent in the 1980s as many become aware that mental retardation can be seen within a social framework. The thesis will deal with North American trends in mental retardation policy and how Manitoba has been a part of these overall developments. Issues such as deinstitutionalization have arisen outside Manitoba but have influenced both the Provincial Government and the Association for Community Living. The local divisions have strong contact with their national organization hence influence, and are influenced by them. The development of attitudes toward, and treatment of mentally retarded people in Manitoba will be the focus of the examination. Because the patterns in Manitoba will be compared to those found in North America, the thesis is both descriptive and comparative. It is aimed at the political nature of the developments through a description of those interests of mentally retarded people and an examination of the means by which they have affected government policy. Manitoba, it will be argued, has shown advances along the lines which the ACLs have wanted but this should not be seen as unique as it will be shown that throughout North America there has been a push for deinstitutionalization and community living. The ACLs are effective organizations and the government of late has shown a responsiveness in Manitoba but Manitoba should not be seen as the vanguard of community living. It has been progressive in some areas and slow to change in others. For example, the Manitoba Human Rights Act regards "mental Handicap" as a condition which is to be protected from discrimination while the Manitoba Mental Health Act is considered as one of the Province's most regressive pieces of legislation. Therefore the thesis in each section...