Even right-wing Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall thinks it’s wrong.
Recent cuts to the Interim Federal Health program for refugees have led to a storm of criticism by the medical community and provincial politicians across Canada.
While Immigration Minister Jason Kenney defends the cuts, stating excluded refugees will still receive essential care, a man was denied chemotherapy in Saskatchewan under the new rules and doctors are alleging more individuals in need are being turned away.
The Saskatchewan government stepped in and paid for the chemotherapy the Federal government denied. Wall told the National Post “it’s unbelievable that some of the decisions that have been taken federally are having this impact on people who are clearly the most vulnerable, refugees who are obviously fleeing something quite terrible – that’s why they are refugees.”
Saskatchewan is not alone. Quebec has stepped in to fill the gap, and Manitoba has said they will do the same and send the bill to the Federal government.
While Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews has been critical of the cuts, she has made no announcement about helping disenfranchised refugees here in Ontario.
University Health Network CEO Bob Bells tried to apologize after a doctor and a medical student interrupted a press conference by Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver at the Toronto General Hospital yesterday.
Is this really Dr. Bell’s role?
The doctors vow to “interrupt” the Harper government over their cuts to the Interim Federal Health plan for refugees to Canada due to take place June 30.
The cuts remove so-called supplemental health services from newly arrived refugees, the Harper government stating that these are not services normally covered for most Canadians. This is not entirely true.
In fact, similiar health services are normally made available to Canadians on social assistance. Most refugees arrive in Canada without money for dentistry, drugs and other non-insured services.
As Dr. Chris Keefer states in the video, these are similiar to services available to Ontario Works recipients.
CBC’s clip of the aborted news conference is below:
Read about the open letter sent by AMMI Canada regarding the Harper cuts.
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