Canada Immigration Minister Jason Kenney posted a petition on his website to honor himself “for his efforts to streamline benefits afforded to refugee’s claimants under the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) and bring them in line with the benefits received by tax-paying Canadians, including new Canadians.” Kenney’s spokeswoman, Alexis Pavlich, said in an email statement the petition had been online for weeks and had been signed by “thousands of Canadians.”
The Canadian Immigration Minister has been at the center of controversy over the cuts to the health program, which provides temporary health benefits to refugees until they qualify for provincial and territorial coverage. In the past these benefits have included basic medical care as well as benefits such as pharmaceutical, vision and dental care, at a level similar to that provided by provinces to people on social assistance. Kenney has justified these cuts by declaring that refugees should not get better health care than the average native Canadian citizen.
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