Shrine Club ap­pre­ci­ates South­west busi­ness sup­port

The Southwest Booster - - OPINION -

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.

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