As we mark World Refugee Day, the latest figures indicate that more than 50-million human beings alive today have been forcibly displaced from their homes. Whether they're refugees, asylum-seekers, or people displaced within their own countries, these individuals had no choice but to leave the places they once held so dear.
The refugee health cuts must be reversed, but we must also look at the underlying disease of which these cuts are a symptom. The refugee health cuts are but one more policy decision in an increasingly regressive immigration system, and refugees are just one more group being denied health care because of their immigration status.
Adel Benhmuda is owed an apology from this country, as are his wife, Aisha, and their four children. After living in Canada for several years their refugee claim failed and Benhmuda's assertions that he would be tortured in Libya were dismissed. In 2008 the family was deported. Upon arrival in Libya, Adel was arrested and tortured. What I would like Minister Kenney to do is stand up in the House of Commons, admit that his beloved asylum system made a grave error and most importantly, apologize to the Benhmudas for what their family was forced to go through.
Today, Jason Kenney and the Conservative government announce a controversial list of countries that will determine who does and does not get access to healthcare in this country. This is what the government has facetiously called "public health and safety coverage" illuminating their limited understanding of the field of public health. As a family doctor working with refugees and refugee claimants, the potential impacts of this policy are horrifying. We will no doubt see individuals left with no choice but to allow their health to worsen before seeking services. It seems to me that this is a lose-lose situation.