Sunday, July 1, 2012

59 Cent Campaign

I just cannot understand how my government can take the most vulnerable of people and decide it's appropriate to make them more vulnerable. 

Dr. Paul Caulford, Scarborough, Ontario

The 59 cent Campaign For Refuge Healthcare is a student led, non-political, non-violent,  movement that believes "... citizen advocacy is a vital component of a healthy well functioning country." (source)  The campaign had its official launch on Friday, June 22, 2012.  

On April 25 our government under the leadership of The Right Honourable Jason Kenney made a decision to cut spending to refugee healthcare. This law applies to all refugees arriving on Canadian soil from a country that our government deems unacceptable.  Our government proudly announces this will save taxpayers 20 million dollars a year, or roughly, 59 cents per Canadian.  This law came into effect on June 30, one day before Canada Day.  Proud to be a Canadian?  

Yes, but maybe a little less proud than I was on June 29.

The refugees arrive on our soil from some of the worst environments on the planet. Many have lived in substandard refugee camps for years. They are often in dire need of medical care and have witnessed  atrocities that have left deep scars. They have lost their sense of community, they have no network, no family, don't understand our culture, our language.  They arrive on our soil broken and in need of care.  What is most appalling, even more so than their backgrounds, is that we, the government of Canada, have the ability to help them, but we choose not to do so. Proud to be Canadian?

Yes, hyper-proud of the young Canadian students who organized this campaign.

Prior to June 30 these same refugees would receive full medical attention and the support of social services to assist them in becoming functional and healthy citizens. All of that, in one signature, is wiped away. Proud to be Canadian?

Yes, but I'm certainly not proud of this government.

The 59 cent Campaign asks all citizens to expres their outrage by sending the Right Honorable Prime Minister Stephen Harper 59 cents with a note explaining its purpose. Personally, I can't think of a better way to spend Canada Day.  Here's the sequence of event from my perspective:

...get your change jar, check behind the cushions if you're a little short...
...count out 59 cents... here's mine, 3 nickels, 4 dimes, 4 pennies...
...address an envelope... no postage necessary if mailed in Canada... the spirit of non-violence, write a friendly note, tape money to letter 
(I sent $1.18 to cover Jennifer and me) , tell him sent you...
Here's the video created by the students.  I'm very proud of these young people, as should you.

It's a good day to be alive, unless of course your an unacceptable refugee in dire need of medical care.