Close to 300 protesters gather in front of MP Block's office
Driving west on 22 Street, motorists honked in support of a protest in front of the office of MP Kelly Block, in response to a controversial flyer mailed out to constituents last week.
"We need to send a message that we're not going to get sucked into what they're doing, which is to divide us," said NDP Leadership candidate Ryan Meili at a demonstration on Oct. 20.
"When I saw this (flyer) I was so upset that the government would actually send out a message boasting about having cut services to these vulnerable people."
In the flyer, a survey portion asked constituents whether they think refugee claimants should have the same healthcare services Canadians enjoy. If you agreed with Block, then you agreed that the services for refugees should be cut.
But close to 300 people do not agree with the MPs agenda, calling her message "racist" and "unethical".
"I'm a family doctor and I work mostly with refugee patients from Columbia, Mexico and the Congo; and in April we heard the announcement that the federal government was going to decrease the health services for refugees across the board," said Meili.
Meili is taking a stand against Block and the federal government.
"Fifty years ago doctors were protesting against universal healthcare, now we're here protesting for universal healthcare."
Meili added other provinces including Manitoba, Quebec and Alberta all disagree with this new policy and have agreed to, as provincial governments, to subsidize healthcare for refugee claimants until the federal government "picks up the slack."
"We need to put pressure on Premier Brad Wall to do the same."
A concerned Saskatoon parent addressed picketers, with a message from his daughter and her high school friends.
Mark Bigland-Pritchard said they crunched some numbers and came up with the 59-cent campaign.
"They figured out it costs us about 59-cents per taxpayer to support these refugees," said Bigland-Pritchard. "Look behind your sofa and in your wallet and pick out the spare change and send it to Stephen Harper."
Block was not present at the demonstration.
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