A group of Winnipeg university students has started a grassroots campaign to prevent cuts to refugee health care by mailing 59 cents to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and encouraging others to do the same.
The students from the Canadian School of Peacebuilding at the Canadian Mennonite University created the 59 Cents Campaign to battle the government’s cuts to the Interim Federal Health Care Program, which will see Citizenship and Immigration Canada stop paying for the supplemental health care of refugees during their first year in Canada.
Matt Dueck, 25, told the Winnipeg Free Press that since the cuts are projected to save $100 million over five years, the annual cost per Canadian to preserve the refugee health care is 59 cents. Dueck and his fellow students made a Youtube video to encourage the public to mail Harper a few quarters and nickels and pennies.
“We believe that if Canadians stop to consider the effect which these changes will have on the most vulnerable portion of our global society, that our country’s annual savings of 59 cents per person to keep the federal Interim Health Program open for refugees will be seen as insignificant,” the video says. “In 2011, Canada was proudly a place of hope and healing to 25,000 refugees. This is a fact in which we take pride and wish to take pride in for generations to come.”