Premier Wall called Ottawa’s decision to deny chemotherapy to a refugee in Saskatoon "un-Canadian.” Now, the Province of Saskatchewan is stepping up to the plate.
The province will pick up the tab for chemotherapy for a man seeking asylum in Saskatoon. The man says he fled Pakistan when he was persecuted for his Christian faith.
Shortly after arriving however, he was diagnosed with cancer, and the federal government refused to pay for treatment.
Ottawa quietly introduced changes in the spring to the Federal Health Program, which cut drug, dental and vision care for refugee claimants. These cuts were highlighted in a recent mail out by Saskatoon area MP Kelly Block. The mail outs triggered protests, saying the language was inappropriate and offensive.The display of small minded, xenophobic demagoguery by MP Kelly referred to was this:
Block lets her constituents know that she is working hard for them and "ending unfair benefits for refugee claimants." The mail-out goes on to say, "new arrivals to Canada have received dental and vision care paid for by your tax dollars. Not anymore."
The pamphlet then asks constituents to answer a questionnaire that provides two options. A respondent can agree either with the statement, "I agree with Kelly Block. Newcomers don't deserve more benefits than Canadians," or, "I disagree. Refugee claimants should get dental, vision and phar-macare even if I don't."
To say that the MP's mail-out to constituents is misleading is an understatement.
Actually, if you are a government-sponsored refugee, health benefits such as vision and dental care continue. But if you are a refugee sponsored by a church group, those benefits ended as of June 1. We now have two different classes of refugees in Canada as a result of the federal government's rule changes.
Block's reference to "newcomers" leaves the impression she is talking about all immigrants. For the record, most immigrants who land in Canada - particularly if they come under the immigrant nominee program - never have had dental, vision care or pharma-care benefits. In the past, all refugees did.Unseating Stephen Harper and his merry band of repugnant toadies is now a moral necessity in order to save the soul of this country.