‘This is the kind of country we are. You cover it.’

by Aaron Wherry

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall rips the Harper government over its refusal to fund the treatment of a cancer-stricken refugee.

“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’re refugees,” Wall said Thursday.  “On the face of it, you just consider the case of this particular gentleman or others who, for example, as it was pointed out … might need prenatal care, this is just common sense. You just do this. This is the kind of country we are. You cover it.”

Previous coverage of the cuts to refugee health care is compiled here.

Ralph Goodale asked the Immigration Minister about this yesterday.

Ralph Goodale: Mr. Speaker, a sad refugee case is dominating the Saskatchewan legislature. To be clear, this is not a bogus asylum seeker. No claim has been rejected. This refugee was diagnosed with cancer but the federal government will not cover his chemotherapy and other drugs. The provincial government is now picking up those costs. Premier Wall says that federal policy on this issue is “unbelievable and inconsistent with Canadian values.” Will the government fix this outrageous problem for this genuine refugee and for Premier Wall?

Jason Kenney: Mr. Speaker, once again the member betrays a misunderstanding of our refugee determination system. A genuine refugee comes to Canada as a permanent resident and therefore qualifies for comprehensive provincial health insurance. Rejected asylum claimants and pending asylum claimants are not refugees until they are determined to be so by our fair and generous legal system, during which time they receive comprehensive health insurance but not extended benefits. Those who are rejected and are pending removal are effectively illegal immigrants. If the member suggests that we should create a new federal health insurance program to provide comprehensive and extended benefits to rejected asylum claimants who are pending removal, then he ought to propose that.




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‘This is the kind of country we are. You cover it.’

  1. YES! Kudos to Brad Wall. Maybe he finally discovered what he was in bed with!

    ‘This is the kind of country we are. You cover it.’ Abso-fuckin-lutely. Bedrock Canadian.

  2. I am happy that Premier Wall did the humane thing and covered this poor man’s chemotherapy — hardly glasses and dental care, but genuine life-saving stuff. I find it sadly ironic that the poor refugee is a resident of Kelly Block’s riding, since she was the MP under fire for crowing in her newsletter about how positive the cuts to refugee healthcare are. I understand from our CBC anchor here that they have been trying to get her on the air for an interview, but her office isn’t even responding.

    All I can say is, the federal government will continue to bring refugees into our country and will want to place them in a province. Now that this has happened, and provinces realize they are on the hook for all the healthcare expenses of what has always been a federal responsiblity, I imagine we will see provinces start saying no to placing refugees.

    Which for all I know is exactly what harper and kenney wanted in the first place. Moreover, I saw Kenney speak these words in the HoC yesterday, and he sounded like a robot recording, especially when he glossed over how “fair and generous” our healthcare is to refugees.

    Shame.

  3. I usually try to understand both sides of an argument. Not in this case. Kenney is undeniably evil. He would doom this man to die of cancer because his claim is still clogged in the system? Even an ultraconservative like Brad Wall can see that this is simply wrong.

  4. credit where credit is due, and hats off to sask. premier Brad Wall.

  5. Serving as the third world`s walk-in clinic is simply actuarially
    unsustainable–not only in terms of costs, but our already clogged
    clinics and hospitals. Go to any hospital, in an immigrant-heavy area,
    and you`ll see the effects that twenty years of open-door family
    reunification immigration policy has had on our health system. This is
    bad enough, without covering very costly care for refugee claimants. Mr
    Wall’s idiotic statement about Canada being ‘rich’ enough to cover the
    world’s healthcare is 180 degrees out of sync with the sentiments of
    most Canadians, who believe that our healthcare priorities lie at home.

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