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Refugee Healthcare Cuts: Why Mobilization Matters and What You Can Do to Join in

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Why Does Mobilization Matter?

While no major changes have been formally announced, we have noted some interesting developments in the course of events since April 25. In Ontario, Deb Matthews, the Minister of Health has come out publicly against these cuts. In Quebec, the province has stated they will pay for the healthcare services of refugees until another solution is found. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website mysteriously changed one day so government-assisted refugees were no longer among the affected groups. This change was of course denied by the Minister as a change. Would all these things have happened if politicians were not being held accountable by the mobilization we have seen? Unlikely!

So maybe change is possible? However, even if we see no changes, we should not be disheartened. If nothing else, we are all exercising our democratic rights to free speech and realizing how difficult it is to change an ideological stance. Through these actions, we have developed networks of providers, organizations, community groups and community members who are engaged and enraged. These are the seeds of revolutionary change and will allow us to continue to work together to address the cuts to refugee health, the attack on migrants and broader issues of social justice.

Ritika Goel is a family physician and public health professional in Toronto. Check out her blog at and follow her on Twitter: @RitikaGoelTO

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Photo credit: Sardar Saadi

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10:36AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Come on Canada, you can do better than this, can't you????????

9:17AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Are we nothing more than the grunts who pay the bills for others? Expendable? No, I don’t think that I’ll be signing anything. I don’t think that I have a problem declining the use of our tax dollars to fund things which my own family cannot afford. Sorry if that sounds churlish..

9:16AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Well, I’m rather torn on this one, altruism aside. It is my understanding, which seems to be confirmed by the following sentence that “These cuts to refugee health mean that all refugees, except the government-assisted, will no longer have access to medicines, dental care and vision care –something all provinces provide for low-income people.” Umm, I’m not sure that I have a problem with that. My great- great grandparents paid taxes in this country their entire lives as did my grandparents, parents , myself and my children. Yet my son cannot afford to go to the dentist or get new eyeglasses. While I too wish that the taxpayers of this country could be a bottomless source of support for the rest of the world, I don’t think that’s really possible. I ask myself why should our tax dollars go to pay for these so called “gold plated” health care items for those who have contributed nothing, while those who are actually supporting the system cannot afford these same “essentials”? Why are they only essential for incoming people and not those already here? “On a human level, what these cuts mean for people is a deterioration in their health status, an increase in fear and vulnerability, as well as on a societal level, an increase in preventable downstream costs for us all.” Why doesn’t this statement apply to those people who are already tax paying citizens of this country? Are we nothing more than the grunts who

4:45AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012


2:11AM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

thanks for sharing

6:04PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

Ok. I feel like I spent time reading three pages for... What? I really have enough problems with my own health and health care. Sorry, I feel bad for these people.

5:08PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

I am glad people of conscience are speaking up in large numbers and publicly

5:08PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

Noted. Thanks.

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