Shrine Club appreciates Southwest business support
To the editor: Once again the Swift Current Shrine Club cannot say “thank you” enough to the businesses of the great Southwest part of Saskatchewan. Through the many donations of the more than 200 businesses, children in Grades K to 5 received a free ticket to the Shrine Circus that comes yearly to our area. This year, the circus did not feature elephants or tigers (crowd favourites) due to immigration problems. Unfortunately we did not have enough time to resolve that issue prior to the performance.
Funds raised from the circus projects are used primarily for our Patient Travel Fund and our Shrine Hospitals, plus many other important charitable activities. At present a new Shrine Hospital is being built in Montreal. Each of our 22 hospitals is North America specialize in treating children, up to the age of 18, who experience difficult health problems, free of cost. When a child is accepted into the Shrine Hospital program, all expenses for the patient and one parent/guardian are paid for by funds raised through the circus and other Shrine activities. Expenses covered include the treatment(s), return transportation to the hospital and all accommodations.
At present, the WAWA Shrine Centre (Saskatchewan) supports 71 patients with two patients from the Southwest part of the province. Many success stories have come from our Shrine Hospitals. Information about the Shrine Hospital pro- gram can be obtained from any Shriner or by visiting our website www.wawashriners.org.
Once again, the Shrine Club of Swift Current slates the businesses of Southwest Saskatchewan for their generous support.
Refugee healthcare cuts morally wrong and fiscally short-sighted
To the editor: Canada has long been a safe haven for those seeking protection from violence and persecution in troubled parts of the world, but our reputation for compassion has been called into question by the Conservative government’s decision to deny refugee claimants health care. Since 1957, the federal government has provided health coverage to refugees arriving in Canada, many of whom are among the most vulnerable people in the world. Two years ago Minister Jason Kenney ended this compassionate practice, forcing doctors to deny coverage to some of the people in the greatest need.
The human toll has been considerable.
Refugees, most of whom will become Canadian residents, who can’t access care typically delay seeking treatment until their conditions worsen. That leads to undiagnosed and untreated problems, greater health complications and higher costs to the health care system when they eventu- ally arrive for treatment in emergency centres.
This downloads costs to already cash-strapped provincial governments, and shifts care to Emergency rooms, which are the most expensive way to deliver health care. But worst of all, denying the initial care creates preventable suffering among the most vulnerable.
The impact on pregnancies is particularly heart-wrenching. In many cases refugees’ newborns are premature, underdeveloped, with neurological problems and other complications because their mothers couldn’t get prenatal care. These newborns, who are Canadian by birth, will end up costing our health and education systems much more.
It’s no wonder virtually every medical organization in Canada was outraged at these cuts and the medical community has held annual rallies opposing them since they were announced. The Federal Court recently agreed, striking down the cut because it “puts [refugee claimants’] lives at risk, and perpetuates the stereotypical view that they are cheats, that their refugee claims are ‘bogus’…It undermines their dignity and serves to perpetuate [their] disadvantage.”
The cuts to refugee health care have always been morally wrong and fiscally shortsighted. The Conservatives must drop their appeal to the Federal Court ruling and reverse the cuts.