Yukon MP Ryan Leef Attends Jacob's Story debut performance in Ottawa

February 20, 2015

Yukon MP Ryan Leef attended the Feb. 18 debut of Jacob’s Story, addressing the audience about the state of FASD in Canada and the importance of portraying the personal struggles individuals with the disorder face on a daily basis.

 The play was performed twice at Tabaret Hall at the University of Ottawa - once for UofO education students, and again in the evening for roughly 100 general attendees. Following the play, the audience was invited to participate in a discussion led by Len Whalen, director and writer, Dr. James Reynolds, co-lead of NeuroDevNet’s FASD research group. 

Rendered as a play performed by actors from Kingston ON, Jacob's Story follows the life of Jacob, a boy with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The play highlights the challenges Jacob deals with in his life at home, at school, and within the judicial system.

Pictured below: The Hon. Ryan Leef, MP, with Production Manager Sue Kobus following the performance

At the evening performance, MP Leef initiated the discussion period spoke highly of the production and the importance of collaboration in eliminating the stigma associated with FASD. Mr. Leef also mentioned  his private member’s bill C-583, which proposed amending the Criminal Code of Canada to take account of FASD and its impacts. The bill, defeated on second reading, is moving to a committee for a broader and comprehensive study that will inform a government response, according to Mr. Leef. 

“This is the first time that a Member of Parliament has attended the play,” said Sue Kobus, production coordinator and a member of NeuroDevNet's FASD research team.

Isaiah Boylan, a friend of NeuroDevNet, also attended the play along with his family. After the discussion, he moved the audience with a poignant speech on his personal experiences and challenges as a teen living with FASD.

Mr. Leef will be speaking at the International FASD conference in Vancouver next month

Image right: MP Ryan Leef with Director Len Whalen (from Twitter)