An open letter to MP Gerard Kennedy, MPP Cheri DiNovo, and City Councillor Bill Saundercook

February 23, 2010.

Dear Minister of Parliament Gerard Kennedy, Minister of Provincial Parliament Cheri DiNovo, and City Councillor Bill Saundercook,

I have resided in this ward for about 20 years now. I raised two children who attended schools here, and although they had to leave home, they still live in the ward, as do both of my parents (although not together).

It was while living here that I was chemically injured, not once, but several times. Not from industrial accidents, but from legal and toxic consumer products and roadwork.

I have done everything in my power to protect and regain my health, but all my efforts have been in vain as it’s the activities of others that have injured me. I have no power or ability to prevent those activities, despite doing everything I possibly can.

I have also contacted all of your offices for help, not once, but numerous times over the past several years, and often from what very nearly became my deathbed. Despite my pleas, I remain without any means to ensure I live instead of dying a completely preventable death.

My time is now running out. The Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) decided last year that I have until April 4, 2010, to vacate my home of 18 years.

I have been trying to find appropriate, medically required housing since 2005. I have had a large number of people helping me look, including people from Toronto’s Shelter Support and Housing Administration (SSHA) and the not-for-profit organization Center for Equality Rights in Accomodation (CERA). In five years, we have not found a single, suitable, affordable place that would allow me to survive.

Due to the deteriorating circumstances here, my health has continued to decline, and still there has been no effort to make medically required, non-toxic housing available and accessible for people like myself, who are disabled by Environmental Sensitivities, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and Electro-Hyper Sensitivities (ES/MCS/EHS). Safe housing is our number one medical need, a place we can avoid the triggers and substances that disable us, in order to heal.

All levels of government are responsible for allowing this travesty to occur. There is no regulation of toxic chemicals and harmful substances in everyday consumer goods and housing, no accessible or appropriate healthcare for people injured and disabled by them, and no appropriate assistance or access to services that everyone else takes for granted. This is discriminatory and possibly even Criminally Negligent (bodily harm, death that might have been prevented, acceleration of death, administering noxious things).

I ask you all now to change the trajectory, to intervene on my behalf, to show that you have hearts, and that you care about the people you represent: First, to make sure I am not made homeless in April; and then to ensure that I have a safe place to move to from here, where I can recover my health and abilities, so that I can again become active in society, able to share the gifts I have been given and have developed.

I have assembled a team of people willing to help accomplish this, but we need your help to make it happen.

I await your responses at your earliest convenience.

Regards,

Linda Sepp

Toronto, Ont
https://lindasepp.wordpress.com/
Facebook page

~~~

A note to my blog readers:

If you can take a moment to email or call and ask these representatives in government to intervene on my behalf, here is their contact info:

Gerard Kennedy
Member of Parliament
KenneG1@parl.gc.ca
gerard@gerardkennedy.ca
Telephone: (613) 992-2936
Fax: (613) 995-1629
Constituency office Telephone: (416) 769-5072

Cheri DiNovo
Member of Provincial Parliament
Queen’s Park
dinovoc-qp@ndp.on.ca
Tel 416-325-0244
Fax 416-325-0305
Constituency office: dinovoc-co@ndp.on.ca
Tel 416-763-5630
Fax 416-763-5640

Bill Saundercook
Toronto City Councillor
City Hall
councillor_saundercook@toronto.ca
Phone: 416-392-4072
Fax: 416-696-3667

Bea Mozdzanowski
Constituency Assistant
416-338-5165
bmozdza@toronto.ca

~~~

The health and ability for those with environmental sensitivities rests with the choices and actions of others.

~~~

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13 responses to “An open letter to MP Gerard Kennedy, MPP Cheri DiNovo, and City Councillor Bill Saundercook

  1. I am a fellow ES sufferer who also has extreme difficulty with finding environmentally safe, and affordable, housing (on ODSP) in southern Ontario where I was born, and northern Ontario where I now reside. I will stand up for Linda Sepp and go the mile to help her achieve a safe home in which to live.

    She, and countless others like her really need help with this “important” request so she can begin to get well enough to get back to living as we all have a right to…live in peaceful enjoyment. We do not get to enjoy that..we live in constant turmoil, depression and fear along with illness on a daily scale. Sometimes going minute to minute in a health crisis caused and aggravated by our very surroundings in our homes!

    I am ashamed of those who would have the authority and means to help people like Linda return to a normal life, and somehow, they seem to be asleep on the job. Please wake up…and hear the alarm clock…this is a life and death situation we’re dealing with here, not a simple everyday, landlord/tenant complaint.

    This woman and many like her, are actually trapped and dying. Many tuned in and saw the people being dug out of debris after the earthquake in other country recently. Help came, not as quickly as could have, but nevertheless, it did come shortly. This woman has been waiting to be ‘dug out’, so to speak, for many years. It is not acceptable that she has been ignored this long. I feel really really badly and hope we can all stand up. Now.

    As a human being, no matter what your beliefs are, whether in God, or a higher power in the universe, or a power within ourselves, we know the difference between standing by and pretending not to hear or see our sister or brother suffering. A finely tuned conscience is a wonderful thing that is so rewarding when we’ve learned to use it, and not bury it when we feel we don’t want to use it, and try to hide from it. I could not live with myself if I did not speak out from my heart after hearing Linda Sepp’s situation explained to me, and after hearing her strong plea for help. If it was in my power to make the wheels start turning to help her, I would do it immediately….just as I would run to help my neighbours after an earthquake. I couldn’t just sit there and pretend nothing happened and go on with my own life as if nothing happened. That would be unforgiveable conduct on my part if I had the means to do anything to help others.
    Doris H. Cote
    Elliot Lake
    Ontario

  2. I would like to add:
    I have taken note of the names and email addresses of those Linda wishes to reach. I will then send my letter to those people on her behalf, dated, and with my address, tel. # at the end. I hope this will be of some help, Linda.

  3. It’s done. I sent the letter to each of the people you mentioned in your letter Linda.

  4. Thank you Doris.

    We know what to do, we just can’t do it ourselves and need help to do it.

  5. Response from Gerard Kennedy’s office:

    From: KenneG1@parl.gc.ca
    Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 17:04:09 -0500

    Dear Ms. Sepp:

    Thank you very much for taking the time to contact our office.

    We have carefully reviewed your correspondence, and will contact you if we receive any information on safe housing.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Paul A. Bovdis

    Office Assistant

    Office of Gerard Kennedy, MP

    Parkdale-High Park

    (Tel:) 416-769-5072

    (Fax:) 416-769-8343

  6. The response I got, almost identical to yours Linda. What does this mean?….we’ll let you knw if suitable housing becomes available….? I sincerely hope the MP himself will respond to you,,,,us. Have you had this runaround before…same words?
    If so, I find this unacceptable. I’m hopping mad at the moment. What a lame response. I wonder if he will actually read our letters? I ‘m going to continue to write, maybe to someone who gives a dam.

    Dear Ms. Cote:

    Thank you for taking the time to contact our office.

    We have carefully reviewed your correspondence, and will bring your concerns to Mr. Kennedy’s attention.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Paul A. Bovdis

    Office Assistant

    Office of Gerard Kennedy, MP

    Parkdale-High Park

    (Tel:) 416-769-5072

    (Fax:) 416-769-8343

  7. Hi Linda,
    I have also written to your 4 contact emails, and c.c. a copy to you also.

    Truly Linda I am wordless, but I would give my life in service, even in battle, to stop the chem invasion!!!

    In Years of Tears
    Div Boyes (chem injuried),
    and my wife Kathryn Boyes
    Email: todivi@yahoo.co.nz

  8. Jackie Burke-McGinnis

    Linda
    I also live in Ontario. I also am chemically injured. I also will be writing letters today to the people you mentioned. I will also send you a copy of these emails. I pray for you each and everyday to find safe housing.
    Jackie

  9. Try forwarding to MY NEWLY elected MP FIN DONNELLY – and add him as a friend on FACEBOOK – FIN is the new FISHERIES critic for the NDP. As a “friend” of mine and an attendee at conferences where I have been, he is aware that MCS is an environmental issue. See if he gives you a reply or will bring the issue forward for you despite the fact that he is from BC.

  10. Linda
    what if we get a petition of thousands of names asking for a demand to action for you to get housing. we have to bombard these MP’s till they do something about this!

  11. HI Linda,
    this is the email I sent from Australia,
    good luck

    Dear Honourable Kennedy, Honourable DiNovo, Honourable Saundercook and Honourable Mozdzanowski.

    I am writing to you as President of the MCS Society of Australia in support of Ms Linda Sepp who wrote you on 23rd of February 2010 requesting that medically required chemically safe public housing be provided for her.

    In Australia people with MCS are dealing with similar housing situations to that of Ms Sepp. In our country it is a Human Rights, Equal Opportunity, Disability Discrimination and Disability Access issue. My understanding is that you have similar obligations as Australia under your own treaties and Acts.

    In recent years State housing authorities in Australia have built a number of chemically safe public houses for people with MCS. There are MCS housing estates being built in USA, your own country and Zurich, Switzerland. The Zurich estate of about 11 units is being built in partnership with the Zurich City Council.

    I ask you to also compare the cost of providing housing, which will last as an asset for decades, and say, providing a heart transplant, which will last not as long as a house. I understand the National average house price in Canada is in the order of $300,00 and that the total cost of a heart transplant can range from about $150,000 to $800,000. For a life compromising and threatening condition, such as Ms Sepp’s, the cost of providing chemically safe housing is not exorbitant.

    I ask you to give deep consideration to Ms Sepp’s circumstance, your Human Rights, Equal Opportunity, Disability Discrimination and Disability Access obligations and the not exorbitant cost of providing Ms Sepp with medically required chemically safe housing.

    I thank you for taking the time to consider this request of you,

    Harry Clark
    President
    MCS Society of Australia

  12. Hi Linda,

    Have received a response from Office of Gerard Kennedy, MP:::

    “Thank you for taking the time to contact our office and expressing your concerns
    regarding Ms. Linda Sepp. Our office is proceeding in discussions with Ms. Sepp at
    this time.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Paul A. Bovdis, Office Assistant
    Office of Gerard Kennedy
    Phone (416) 769-5072”

    A copy of the letter I emailed:

    Wednesday 24.02.2010
    To:
    Gerard Kennedy, Member of Parliament

    From:
    Div Boyes, New Zealand. Email: div@livingorganics.co.nz

    Re: Safe Housing For Linda Sepp, Toronto, who is housebound from severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

    Dear MP Gerard Kennedy,
    Thank you very kindly for your time here.

    I am writing in support of my chemical injured friend, Linda Sepp’s
    requests to you for safe housing, free from chemical and environmental
    exposure severe illness.

    My own health is severely compromised from chemical injury by commonly used chemicals, and chemical sensitivities, this has been a worsening struggle for nearly 20yrs.

    Without the chemical/environmental exposure illness, I have very good health and contribute to my community via internet connection.
    My Wife and I are setting up an online organics store. http://www.livingorganics.co.nz/
    Most chemical sensitive regain their health without the ongoing chemical/toxic environmental exposure.

    Due to chemical exposure illness, which occurs at even very low levels of exposure, my wife and I have been homeless for 9 months now, due to herbicide spraying at our last place and not being able to find a safe place where I will not get sick from even low levels of chemical exposure.

    Our Last place was a tent in the bush for nearly two years. Up until 9 months ago, when I was exposed to road verge chemical spraying,
    we both worked part time, but since the last road verge spraying 9 months ago, I have not been able to set up out online organic business.

    Safe Housing Help for Linda Sepp

    Please Please Gerard, acknowledge the worth of Linda Sepp, as a member of your country, please do better than my own country has done for my family and myself, and help her with safe housing.

    It is us chemical injured whom you need to hear when deciding about chemical saftey and safe homes.
    We are all born and then injured by chemical/environmental toxic/harmful
    exposures, none of which we are generally personally responsible for.

    It is highly like that Linda Sepp, may die if she has to face the homelessness life, she will definately be very very ill.

    Thank You for your time
    Kind Regards

    Div Boyes
    div@livingorganics.co.nz

  13. SENT DIRECTLY TO THE ABOVE MP, MPP, and councillors…

    I too suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and live basically in a cave (my home) which I keep to such basic chemicals as baking soda, vinegar, and scent-free, vegetable based products. Believe me, it’s not a life I choose and has severe effects on my family and friends as I get ill so often.

    The issue with MCS in the medical world is that there are such varying degrees of it that it’s hard to pin down. I was diagnosed in 2002 after working with chemicals and living next to a plot of land where a golf course was built (pesticide use). It’s taken much of my life away. I can’t go out with my husband on social visits and have to make sure people don’t arrive with fragrances (which seldom happens unfortunately).

    Even my children (adults now) arrive with fragrant shampoos and such which gives instant migraines, sinus infections, coughing fits, and so on. Right now I’ve been sick for weeks from attempting to go on a vacation. I did fairly well for the most part but suffer nonetheless now for it.

    There are MANY MANY MANY sites where you can find out information on MCS. I’m also disabled with BiPolar II disorder which is also a neurological disorder but see a doctor on a regular basis and am doing well on it.

    People like Linda Sepp have it so much worse than me. Many sufferers cannot even eat more than a few types of food due to preservatives and additives. There are over a million people DIAGNOSED in Canada alone and many millions more around the world.

    I ask that you please offer Linda some help to find a home as she’s been working diligently on it FROM HER HOME since she cannot go out to do so.

    I pray that you can help her. It’s not a good thing, living in a cave.

    Sincerely
    Fran Armstrong
    Brighton, Ontario, Canada

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