An Accidental Advocate is a poignant and honest portrayal of a remarkable woman, Lembi Buchanan who has been fighting for fair tax treatment not only for her husband Jim who lives with bipolar disorder, but also for thousands of Canadians with disabilities who have been discriminated against by a government that views chronic and persistent mental illness as being less disabling as physical impairments.
In her extraordinary memoir spanning 50 years, Lembi also shares the intimate details of a love story destined to last forever, even though her husband’s illness has threatened to sabotage their marriage, time and time again. Their story will resonate with families searching for answers and understanding, providing them with hope for better days ahead.
“This book is many things: a nuanced clinical depiction of bipolar disorder; an Erin Brockovich-style memoir of taking on the tax bureaucracy; and – above all – a love story... Lembi is dogged and feisty in pursuit of fairness for people with disabilities... And she illustrates why every person facing any kind of illness needs an advocate. This book is an important contribution toward understanding the manifestations of bipolar disorder, the impact on the family, and the need for appropriate recognition and adequate support.”
— David Goldbloom, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
About the Author:
Lembi Buchanan MSM is a leading advocate for Canadians living with mental illness to ensure that government programs and policies do not discriminate against them. She played a crucial role in reforming the Income Tax Act to broaden the eligibility criteria for the Disability Tax Credit to include psychiatric disorders and episodic disabilities as well as people living with type 1 diabetes. Her website, www.fightingforfairness.ca provides information about the application and appeal process to access the tax credit.
A graduate of the University of Toronto, Lembi’s interest in social justice dates back to her early experiences working with disadvantaged families in New York City. Lembi has received numerous awards for her advocacy work, including the prestigious Meritorious Service Medal in 2016, the Queen's Jubilee Medal in October 2002 and the City of Toronto Access Award for Disability Issues in December 2001.
Lembi lives in Victoria, British Columbia with her husband, Jim.