A Victory for Canadian Refugees. A Victory for Canada

Friday July 4th, 2014

My portion of this diary entry will be briefer than usual. It is time to let the voices of others describe Friday’s court decision that overturned the 2012 Federal cuts to refugee healthcare. Below is what I wrote to our colleagues and friends following Friday’s momentous decision, followed by links to the comments of others.

Dear Colleagues and friends of the Scarborough Community Volunteer Clinic

“Today, as yesterday, a nation is judged by its attitude towards refugees.”
 Elie Wiesel, Nobel laureate, Globe and Mail, July 7, 2012

On Friday July 4th 2014, the week of Canada Day, and almost 2 years to the day that Federal Immigration changes cut healthcare to refugees new to Canada, Federal court Justice Anne MacTavish delivered a decisive ruling —  “intentional targeting of those seeking protection of Canada — an admittedly poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged group” amounts to “cruel and unusual treatment.
And with that she struck down the Government’s cuts – a momentous day for Canada, and for all the most vulnerable members of Canadian society seeking medical attention.
None of what happened yesterday would have been possible without everyone’s enormous and collective contributions and support over many years. From all the healthcare professionals providing refugee and immigrant care, the CVC volunteers and the medical case work the clinic contributed for the challenge (50% of the cases), the amazing legal team who were “brilliant” and so supportive to those of us who tremble in court rooms, the dedication and unwavering work of Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care who spearheaded the challenge and who kept the firelight burning, the researchers….. everyone pulled together in a remarkable team effort.
This victory is powerful and momentous, on so many levels. Citizens can and must make a difference when injustice happens. Advocacy works. Professionals can give voice to those without one. And, it is victory for Canada. Canada’s social justice, generosity to the most vulnerable, and our humanitarian traditions and values are at the very centre of what defines us as a fair and just society, and nation. They are not for dismantling in the inner recesses of our governments. The stakes were huge on Friday
In 2012 a nation’s humanitarian soul was weakened. Today, it was restored. Best, and well deserved to all. How remarkable !! Paul




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