Saturday 15 December 2012

Vigil, December 15 2012

Thank you to everyone who braved the cold weather to give voice to our collective opposition to the IFH cuts and Bill C-31.  Today is a shameful day in Canadian history, the day that Bill C-31 came into full effect. We had an excellent turnout for something organized in two days and which also took place in freezing and damp weather! It shows that there is a lot of energy and grassroots support around these issues. Perhaps the most poignant moment was when we heard the story of a family who fled political imprisonment, torture and possible death and now have a member trying to survive in Canada without vital medications because of these cuts. We were asked "What is the difference between Canada and the country we came from, that in Canada we are killed more slowly?"

There are many difficult questions Canadians must ask themselves right now. What is Canada's role in forcing global migration?  Where does Canada's wealth come from? What kind of society do we wish to live in-one where people suffer and die needlessly because some politicians wanted to score a few cheap political points?  Please stay in touch as we move with momentum into 2013 and continue to build the strength of our communities to practice an ethic of solidarity and demand health justice for all people!

Our friends from also attended and spoke, including Jose Figueroa and his son Jose Ivan Figueroa who is developing into a very talented young speaker! Please make sure to check out their important and very touching campaign.

This was part of a coordinated national Day of Action and we will be sharing media coverage of events in other cities once it is available.

 Near the beginning, if you have a picture showing the fuller crowd send it along! :)
The "Cards For Kenney" station where people wrote holiday greeting cards to Jason Kenney with messages such as "All I want for the holidays is... insulin for diabetics!" etc.  This is part of a national campaign. "Cards for Kenney" video on Youtube.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

How do we decolonize healthcare?

The struggle for health justice for refugees and migrants is intimately connected to the struggle for health justice for indigenous peoples in Canada.  There is a direct relationship between the ongoing colonization of indigenous peoples/territories and Canadian policy toward refugees, migrants and all other immigrants.  In fact, when it was founded in 1917 Citizenship and Immigration Canada was actually called the "Department of Immigration and Colonization." Additionally, many refugees and migrants are themselves indigenous people who have been forced away from their homes by historical events and economic situations that Canadian corporations and the Canadian government have played a direct role in creating.

This week the Health Council of Canada released a report called Empathy, dignity, and respect: Creating cultural safety for Aboriginal people in urban health care. The report has received some press coverage because it addresses the fact that indigenous people in Canada  face very serious barriers to medical care, sometimes including explicitly racist treatment by medical staff.  Sanctuary Health encourages all healthcare workers to become champions of transformative change in the medical system by challenging and resisting racism in any form. It is impossible to be neutral-we either oppose racism in our medical system or participate in sustaining it. Indifference and injustice have the same relationship as oxygen and fire. Let's take a stand for health justice and participate in positively shaping the cultures of our workplaces. As we begin to listen to the voices of refugees, migrants and indigenous communities, and as we begin to find our own voices, we begin to find the power to change our world!