So What Do The Cuts Really Mean?
Despite what Kenney would have us believe, these cuts have already begun to cause irreparable harm. Refugees in Canada belong to two groups: first are the government-assisted and privately sponsored refugees who are deemed refuges on arrival, and second are refugee claimants who come to Canada seeking asylum, often escaping persecution and violence. 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. These cuts also mean refugee claimants from certain countries will get essentially no healthcare whatsoever — once this list of so-called “safe countries” is released, it is widely expected that we will turn our back on Roma refugee claimants from Hungary and other European nations, where clear persecution of this population has been documented by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International. 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.
So What You Can Do?
With so much happening it may seem difficult to get plugged in, but it’s as easy as ever! Below are some easy ways to get involved.
1. Post up your own photo to the We Refuse to Cooperate Campaign.
2. Send Harper 59 cents as part of the 59 cents campaign.
3. Confront a Conservative minister at a public event.
4. If you’re a health provider, use the monitoring tool to document impacts.
5. Get your community group, organization or workplace to sign a letter, write a press release or hold a press conference denouncing these cuts.
7. Contact your local MPP to discuss how costs will be downloaded to the provinces.
8. Support and promote existing organizations working on these issues such as Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care, Health for All, No One is Illegal, Canadian Council for Refugees, Health Justice Collective, Canadian Doctors for Medicare and others.
9. Come up with your own campaign or individual way to show you oppose cuts to refugee health.
10. Sign the petition on Care2.
Photo credit: Sardar Saadi
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