Jason Kenney: Thank Me For Cutting Refugee Health Benefits

Canada's Conservative immigration minister has posted on his personal website a petition asking Canadians to thank him for cutting refugee health benefits.

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Thu. Jul 9, 2012

Canada’s federal immigration minister is way out of line here.

Jason Kenney, the MP for Calgary South East, has posted a petition on his website – jasonkenney.ca – asking Canadians to thank him for a job well done after cutting health care for refugees.

The petition’s exact words: 

We, the undersigned, thank Jason Kenney for his efforts to streamline benefits afforded to refugees claimants under the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) and bring them in line with the benefits received by tax-paying Canadians, including new Canadians.

How many more insults can we take from this man? Or, for that matter, from Stephen Harper?

First, Kenney authored the Conservative governments’ draconian and backward-looking changes to Canada’s humane refugee system, to be implemented via Bill C-31.  The changes empower him, as immigration minister, to designate certain refugees as “irregular arrivals”, and imprison those among them who are 16 years old and older.

The bill also introduces drastic cuts to refugee health care funding. Earlier today, the Canadian Medical Association Journal warned that the changes pose serious mental health risks for refugees.

Also earlier, Jewish-American political activist, Nobel laureate, writer, professor and holocaust survivor app, Elie Wiesel, appealed to Canada to return to sanity.

So, to sign or not to sign the petition, Canada? Your choice. One thing is clear though: Kenney’s call goes to the Conservative Party of Canada’s base. Not to “Canadians.” It’s a vicious attack on human rights and Canada’s conscience.

Fellow Canadian citizens and residents, I leave you with Mr. Wiesel’s sobering words: “I feel morally compelled to remain on the side of other uprooted men and women everywhere. Today, as yesterday, a nation is judged by its attitude towards refugees.”

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad 

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Obert Madondo
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based blogger, activist, photographer, digital rights enthusiast, former political aide, and former international development administrator. Obert is the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive and The Zimbabwean Progressive, both of which are independent political blogs dedicated to producing fearless, progressive, adversarial, unapologetic, and activism-oriented journalism situated right at the intersection of politics, technology and human rights. Follow Obert on Twitter: @Obiemad
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  1. See the link below for a petition drafted to “thank” Jason Kenney for what he’s really doing by sharply curtailing the healthcare available to refugee claimants that turn to Canada for help – revictimizing vulnerable people and diminishing Canada’s image in the world as a compassionate nation.

    Please sign and share if you agree.


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