It was with great interest that I read the letter from Earl Dreeshen, member of Parliament for Red Deer, published in the Advocate on Friday, March 15, 2013.
Mr. Dreeshen encouraged us all to work together to eliminate the abuse of women and girls in our community.
Yet it was only two weeks ago, after listening to a troubling interview on CBC radio, that I contacted Mr. Dreeshen to ask how he could, in conscience, support legislation which has had such damaging and abusive effects on innocent children in Canada.
On a daily basis, individuals and families arrive in Canada and apply for refugee status for a variety of reasons. Some applications are approved and some are denied, again for a variety of reasons.
But apparently Mr. Jason Kenney, minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, felt that those whose applications had been denied were exercising their rights to appeal too frequently instead of rushing for the exits. So, legislation was prepared and passed which denied health assistance for these applicants and their families.
The interviewee in the radio broadcast was a medical doctor who had been providing service to refugee children who had serious medical needs. When the bills for service were submitted to the parents, the children were not being returned for necessary followup procedures. These children were being exposed to abusive circumstances in Canada as a direct result of actions taken by the government of Canada.
In my discussion with Mr. Dreeshen, he hastened to explain that if the children were born in Canada, they were Canadian citizens and the legislation did not apply to them.
When asked why it was different if the children had been brought to Canada by their parents, there was only silence.
So, in Canada, it is legal to abuse innocent children — you just have to select the right group of innocent children. (Note to teachers: Be very patient when addressing the issues of schoolyard bullying with your students. The concepts are not as clear as they appear to be. Some of our political leaders in Ottawa still don’t get it!)
We truly need to work together to eliminate the abuse of women and children in our community and in our country. A good starting point would be to demonstrate a commitment to this end by amending legislation which has been the direct cause of such abuse.
County of Red Deer