Libby challenges the Conservatives on their cuts to refugee health




  Mr. Speaker, it is children who are paying the price for the minister’s ideological attack on refugees. Hospital admissions of refugee children have doubled since the Conservatives’ disastrous decision to cut health care for refugees. Desperate parents are waiting until their children are seriously ill before they seek help. The minister’s approach is inhumane and it is bad health policy. Would the minister acknowledge the harm he has caused, apologize and restore health care services for refugees?

    Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC): Mr. Speaker, will the member apologize for her lack of understanding of the refugee system, of the asylum system? She insisted refugees are not receiving health care from the federal government. Every one is receiving it.

    She would have us pay for failed refugee claimants, fraudulent refugee claimants, bogus refugees claimants and, it sounds like, for visitors to Canada.

    This is a decision the Wynne government has made. This is a decision that some doctors are calling for unilaterally. They will have to account to voters and to taxpayers for those decisions.

    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

    The Speaker: Order, please. There is an awful lot of heckling going on today. I am going to ask members to refrain from doing that. It is becoming very distracting to the Chair. Members please come to order.

    The hon. member for Vancouver East has the floor.

    Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I can say, there is no lack of understanding on this side of the House. There are only the children who are being hurt by the minister’s crazy policies when it comes to refugees.

    The Wellesley Institute warned the government that costs to the health care system would rise as refugees would wait until they were seriously ill before seeking help. Now we see that it was right. Twice as many refugee children have been admitted to hospitals as before the Conservative cuts. That is the reality.

    Why does the government think it is okay to make vulnerable children pay the cost of its shameful and discriminatory attacks on refugees?

    Hon. Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the member should be ashamed of her comments. Refugees and the children of refugees are receiving the interim federal health care program. We are proud of that record.

    The opposition is calling for failed claimants, fraudulent claimants, bogus claimants to receive health care. That is the direction the Wynne government has gone into. That is the direction some doctors have gone, unilaterally, into. We will not support that approach and many, many voters across this province and the country; many, many taxpayers are asking the same question. Those responsible for those decisions will be held accountable.