Kelly Block’s “racist” and “offensive” newsletter on refugee health cuts

Kelly Block’s “racist” and “offensive” newsletter on refugee health cuts

Kelly Block’s Newsletter On Refugee Health Cuts Called ‘Offensive’ (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post Canada | By Michael Bolen Posted: 10/17/2012 5:07 pm Updated: 10/17/2012 9:09 pm

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Tory MP Kelly Block faced a barrage of criticism from the NDP On Tuesday over an “offensive” newsletter celebrating cuts to refugee health care.

The newsletter from the MP for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar in Saskatchewan touts the “ending of unfair benefits for refugee claimants.”

“New arrivals to Canada have received dental and vision care paid by your tax dollars. They’ve had free prescriptions. Not anymore,” the newsletter reads.

In question period on Tuesday, two NPD MPs took Block to task over the document.

“She is bragging about denying medication for kidney disease to an elderly woman or care to a young woman who is 18 weeks pregnant due to a sexual assault,” said Jinny Sims, the MP for Newton — North Delta in B.C. “This flyer is offensive and misleading. Will the member apologize?”

While fellow party member Helene Leblanc appeared to doze off during the question (you can see the footage in the video at the top of this story), her compatriots were not deterred from pressing their point.

Sadia Groguhé, the MP for Saint-Lambert in Quebec asked “when will the government put an end to its devastating cuts to programs for the most vulnerable in our society?”

SEE THE NEWSLETTER

Rick Dykstra, the Parliamentary Secretary to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, responded that those who are waiting to be deemed refugees will receive the same medical care as all Canadians, but that “those who come here to take advantage of our country, to take advantage of our system, to take advantage of our process, that is not what this government is going to support.”

Block has faced criticism over the newsletter since it sparked the creation of the Facebook group “Tell MP Kelly Block ‘I Disagree’ With Racism.” The group is hosting a protest outside the MP’s office this Saturday.

The newsletter has even sparked a popular parody version. One part reads: “I agree with Kelly Block! Poor newscomers who look different than me deserve to be sick unless they can pay.”

CBC comedian Rick Mercer has wondered aloud on Twitter about whether the newsletter is even real. “Sadly, yes,” a follower replied.

While Block told CBC some adjustments have been made to the mail-out, she has stopped short of apologizing.

That didn’t satisfy Murray Mandryk of Saskatoon’s The Star Phoenix.

“Leave aside Block’s sheer disregard for the truth, or even that she’s likely abused her parliamentary privileges by spewing such nonsensical propaganda at taxpayer’s expense,” Mandryk wrote this week. “What’s far more alarming is the early-20th-century tone of her mail-out was aimed to appeal to the very worst elements buried deep in the nether regions of the Conservative party’s base.”

Immigration Minister Kenney has also been the subject of press attention over literature touting cuts to refugee health care. A petition on Kenney’s website invited Canadians to thank the minister for his work to “streamline benefits afforded to refugee claimants.”

“We don’t think that smuggled migrants and bogus asylum claimants should be getting better health care benefits than Canadian seniors and taxpayers,” the petition read.

The Conservative government enacted cuts to supplemental health benefits for all refugee claimants — excluding those sponsored by the government — on June 30 as part of Bill C-31. The cuts are expected to save the federal government $100 million over five years.

The cuts have faced criticism from opposition parties and physicians groups.

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  • Thyme Season

    Oh, how is it that Sims did not call the newsletter “racist” or “Nazi”? She called it :offensive”… Soft. Was she apprehended for her stupidity (related to banning CIR’s presentation?)
    A note: If we continue like this, soon, all our MPs will be foreign-born…

  • FourFooted_Messiah

    I find Jinny Sim’s remark to be offensive and misleading. She uses the most extreme-case medical scenario, yet fails to note that these are not Canadians, they are foreigners, and also fails to acknowledge the massive amount of fraud ramant in the “refugee” system. Cut off generous benefits for refugees, and see how many fewer start coming once the word starts to spread that the trough has been covered.

    Anyway, “refugee” implies someone who wants to eventually go home. They need nothing more than temporary shelter – and it should be temprorary shelter along the lines of what our own homeless get.

  • saywhat?

    I and many Canadians are on the side of Kelley Block on this one.Some people may call that pamphlet”racist”but many more would agree with her and not see anything racist about it as it proclaims exactly huge glaring fault in our health care system where doctors such as dentists,pharmacists, family doctors,pharmaceutical companies are making millions of dollars off of this through our taxes whereas most working people and seniors had to pay for their own dental care,prescriptions,surgeries, etc.I ask Jinny Simms and all other high profile politicians with the NDP, columnists and with access to the public media–how was this health act fair to other Canadians ? It wasn’t and isn’t! Good riddance to that part of the plan.Thank you Minister Kenney for making it more fair to all in Canada.This pamphlet is not in the least offensive except to a person such as Jinny Sims who misleads readers and her listeners by declaring that the flyer is misleading when in fact it tells the straight truth.As to the elderly woman who needs medications for a kidney disease—–I feel sorry for her and the suffering she has but she doesn’t deserve any more consideration than any other Canadian who need to pay for their medications for all sorts of diseases and are not covered under the health plan.Also. after reading this article, I don’t see where anyone has publicly called Kelley Blocks’ pamphlet “racist” except for the media headline. tsk tsk Jinny Sims,please sit down —you don’t represent most Canadians.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zoe.bye.1 Zoë Berg

    Until I as a Canadian citizen get dental care for my teeth, which I am need of, I will not find this racist, how dare refugees get dental benefits!

  • Tired of this crap!

    Thank you, and Politician with a brain. Please let their be more of you, I am tired of law abiding Canadian citizens getting the shaft while free loading and new immigrants get everything for free. My parents are retired and get peanuts compared to immigrants who get money every month, 4 times what my parents get plus free health care and drugs, WTF?