Manitoba

Winnipeg doctor urges Conservatives to restore refugee health care funding

A Winnipeg doctor is calling on all Conservative Party election candidates to commit to restoring refugee health care funding.
CDRC has documented several examples of refugees being denied important, public health care services, as well as proof that the Conservative’s cuts have also resulted in increased costs to local hospitals and provincial governments, says Dr. Mike Dillon. (CBC)

A Winnipeg doctor is calling on all Conservative Party election candidates to commit to restoring refugee health care funding.

To date, the Conservatives remain the only major, national party unwilling to restore health coverage for refugees, said Dr. Mike Dillon, the medical director for Klinic Community Health Centre.

The Tories continue to appeal a 2014 Federal Court of Canada ruling that overturned federal government cuts to refugee health-care funding — the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP).

The Federal court found the government's treatment of refugees is "cruel and unusual" because it jeopardizes their health and shocks the conscience of Canadians.

Dillon, a member of Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care, is adding his voice to CDRC's "National Week of Reckoning." The initiative, which goes Oct. 5-9, urges Conservative candidates to cease the Tory government's "costly court appeal of, and cuts to, the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)."

"We need to let candidates running for federal office know immediately that these changes must be stopped, and that the IFHP must be immediately restored to pre-2012 levels to ensure that refugee health care is a priority for all Canadians," Dillon said.

In spite of the court ruling, the Conservative government continues to argue that denying necessary health care to refugees — including children and pregnant women —  is a just and nondiscriminatory policy whose consequences do not affect the majority of Canadians, and whose impacts upon refugees is narrow, states a news release from Dillon.

"In fact, however, it was recently revealed that the Conservative government is spending more than $1 million (so far) in taxpayer monies fighting to preserve the cuts, including by way of its appeal of the FCC's decision," he said.

CDRC has documented several examples of refugees being denied important, public health care services, as well as proof that the Conservative's cuts have also resulted in increased costs to local hospitals and provincial governments, Dillon said.

While CDRC has made repeated offers to share its evidence and discuss potential policy resolutions with Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander, the requests have been denied, he said.

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