Doctors condemn Jason Kenney's self-congratulation on refugee health cuts

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Faced with protests like this, Jason Kenney decided to thank himself for cuts to refugee health care. (Photo: Jesse McLaren)

It's membership time. Cultivate Canada's media. Support rabble.ca. Become a member.

Jason Kenney, Canada's Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, has faced widespread criticism in recent weeks for his government's cuts to refugee health care.

Doctors and other health-care workers have held protest actions across the country and disrupted speaking appearances by government ministers. A broad range of civil society groups have also condemned the cuts. 

Yesterday a petition thanking Minister Kenney for the cuts was highlighted on a website. It read, in part: "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..."

There is something a bit peculiar about the petition, however. It is hosted on Kenney's own website.

The backlash was immediate, and medical professionals across the country were among those quick to respond to Kenney's self-congratulation. 

"It is only the most cynical of people that would attempt to congratulate himself for denying access to health care for some of the most vulnerable amongst us," said Dr. Meb Rasid, medical director of the Crossroads Clinic at Women's College Hospital in Toronto. "This is yet another low for Minister Kenney."

"As the wide-based opposition mounts to Minister Kenney's poorly conceived cuts to refugee health care, perhaps his self-congratulatory petition was just a little premature. We will continue to pressure this government for a full reversal of these announced cuts," said Dr. Mark Tyndall, Chief of Infectious Diseases at The Ottawa Hospital.

Dr. Ritika Goel also shared some thoughts about Kenney's petition with rabble.ca:

"Jason Kenney's petition asks Canadians to support his inhumane public policy which cuts health care to refugees. Firstly, implementing a policy that attacks the right to health of some of the most vulnerable in our society is shameful. Secondly, calling the policy fair and cost-saving is plain wrong. But mostly, advocating for such a policy by asking people to sign your petition on your own website is just embarrassing. These cuts will cost us -- in money, in human dignity, and in human lives. What will it take to finally wake Kenney up?"

At least one counter-petition has already been launched, asking Canadians to sign on in protest against both the cuts to refugee health and Kenney's "transparent self-promotion." 

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.