'This is the kind of country we are. You cover it.' - Macleans.ca

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

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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.