Mr Kenney, your spokesperson is wrong. Allow the CVC to “substantiate”

updated October 1st 2012

Mr Kenney, through a spokesperson made the following claims. The following is extracted from The Toronto Star Friday, September 28th, 2012

“…A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney called the doctors’ report inaccurate.

“Unfortunately, a small number of activist physicians continue to make unsubstantiated claims and use examples of individuals without disclosing their names so that the facts of these cases cannot be verified or disproved,” said Alexis Pavlich.

“The majority of the alleged cases are either factually incorrect or the real status of these individuals has been purposely altered.

Pavlich said all refugee claimants in Canada get the same access to health care as Canadian taxpayers receive through their provincial health care.

“Bona fide refugees continue to receive comprehensive health coverage, while illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers from safe, democratic countries no longer receive health insurance that is superior to what is generally available to taxpaying Canadians,” Pavlich said.”

Allow me to disclose the name of Mr Byron Alvarez. Allow me to “substantiate”. Before he died, Mr Alvarez provided me permission to tell his story. I was his attending physician. He attended our volunteer clinic, trying to obtain care at age 40 that would either prolong, or save his life. The following is also excerpted from the Toronto Star, from an editorial, authored by me in June, 2012. My name, by the way, is Paul Caulford. I practice family medicine in Scarborough, Ontario, where I have worked for 35 years. In the article in the Toronto Star your spokesperson is quoted as describing myself and my colleagues in rather disparaging language, suggesting without using the word – we are misleading and deceiving the public. 

Mr Kenney, in what can only be described as thinly veiled mean-spiritedness, you rather smugly proclaimed “I don’t like being taken for a sucker,” when describing the rationale for your new legislation. 

That is where Byron’s story comes in (this is a diary from before the IFH cuts). Being 38 years old and being shot at in Guatemala ..( for political views), seeing family and friends beside you gunned down, then fleeing for your life to Canada, doesn’t get you refugee status. Working here for five years, paying taxes and volunteering with youth in your community, while trying to appeal your refugee denial, also gets you nothing — no status, no health care. Then getting cancer, well, just go away and die young man. So, that’s what he did. Turned down for lifesaving cancer treatment time and time again, Byron died, emaciated, on his apartment floor, never having taken a red cent from this country, but having given everything. What Guatemalan political thugs couldn’t accomplish, Canada did.

Byron must have been that refugee claimant “taking you for a sucker,” right Mr. Kenney? Don’t worry, he won’t do it again.


Your spokesperson is simply wrong. Refugee claimants we now treat do not get the same healthcare as Canadians. They get much less. They are here legally. They are not bogus, nor are they criminals, nor are they taking anyone for a sucker.
Your Orders in Council are hurting children, their mothers, and many more. We keep Mr Alvarez’s medical file on our desk. It reminds us. You and your spokesperson are welcome to visit our clinic anytime, to review the file. The facts are there, and, they will speak for themselves. And, we doubt that Byron will object.
Paul Caulford.


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