June 22, 2012
Isotopes announcement shouted down by protesting docs
By Maryam Shah, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Minister Joe Oliver’s announcement on new sources of supply for medical isotopes was disrupted by a vocal doctor and a medical student on Friday morning.
The two spoke out against Bill C-30, legislation they say will hurt the country financially.
The minister was finishing his pre-announcement pleasantries when Dr. Chris Keefer from Brampton Civic Hospital interrupted him.
“The minister will be disrupted from this point on,” he said when asked to let the minister complete his sentence.
“Members of the Conservative government will be disrupted from this point on by Canadian doctors,” he continued.
The minister was visibly surprised and annoyed.
“I thought you asked me a question, do you want an answer?” Oliver replied.
“We do not believe that people who just arrived as recent refugees should be given superior health care to that of Canadian residents and Canadian citizens,” he continued as the doctor listened.
Keefer refuted his statement, claiming that passing the bill meant “a pregnant woman will not be able to get health care because of you.”
Medical student Faria Kamal stood up as the minister left the room, saying health care professionals were not consulted in the making of this legislation.
“This government has been hellbent to ignore the voices of doctors, to ignore the voices of nurses,” she said.
The two were at the conference on behalf of an organization named Health for All, a group made up of doctors and nurses standing up for refugees and uninsured people.
The news about the medical isotopes remained unannounced as Oliver left the room. He reappeared later at a different location open only to media to finish delivering the news and to briefly address the disruption.
Oliver spoke briefly about the facts around the new legislation, adding that it’s not under his portfolio as minister of natural resources.
“Our basic premise is that refugees who come to this country from non-safe countries should be accorded health care equivalent to that of Canadian residents and Canadian citizens,” he said. “But should not get health care superior to that of people living in this country and paying taxes in this country.”