URGENT: Tell our Ministers - Release Roghayeh “Mina” Azizi Mirmahaleh and stop her deportation!LE FRANÇAIS SUIT Roghayeh “Mina” Azizi Mirmahaleh is a 60 year old human rights activist scheduled to be deported to Iran on February 28th and currently being held in a detention centre in Laval, Quebec. As a primary school teacher in Iran, Mirmahaleh campaigned for women’s rights, human rights and free elections. In the 1980s, she was imprisoned with her 11 month old daughter and tortured. In 1988 her husband Ebrahim was executed by the regime along with 20,000 other political prisoners. Throughout the next several years, Mirmahaleh struggled to live her life in Iran, under constant threat from the government. In 2012, Mirmahaleh came to Canada on a temporary visitors visa obtained by her daughter, a post-doctoral student at McGill University. She applied for refugee status in late 2013 when her visa expired. In 2015, she was found inadmissable. Since her arrival, she has taken part in weekly protests in Phillips Square opposing human rights abuses in Iran. These political actions would put her in further danger should she be deported. Despite this, the Canadian government has rejected her application for a pre-removal risk assessment, a process intended to ensure applicants are not deported to countries where they would face persecution. The government acknowledges her imprisonment and her husband’s execution but claims there is insufficient evidence that her life would be in danger upon her return to Iran. On the morning of February 21st, the day after Montreal was symbolically named a “sanctuary city”, Mirmahaleh’s community and supporters rallied in Montreal, demanding that the Canadian government reassess her refugee claim and stop her deportation to Iran, where she faces imprisonment, torture and execution. The rally was planned to correspond with Mirmahaleh’s meeting with the Canadian Border Service Agency in Montreal. During her meeting, Mirmahaleh was separated from her lawyer and daughter, arrested, and transported to a detention centre in Laval where she is currently being held. We are calling on Ahmed Hussen, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees, Ralph Goodale, Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the immediate release of Mirmahaleh from the detention centre, and the cancellation of her deportation. ----------------------------------------- Roghayeh “Mina” Azizi Mirmahaleh a 60 ans et est une défenseure des droits humains. Pour le moment, elle est prévu d'être déportée en Iran le 28 février, et est détenue dans un centre de détention à Laval, Québec. Mirmahaleh était une enseignante à une école primaire en Iran, où elle a fait campagne pour les droits de la femme, les droits humains et les élections libres. Pendant les années 1980s, elle a été emprisonnée avec sa fillette de 11 mois, et torturée. En 1988, son mari, Ebrahim, a été exécuté, avec 20 000 autres prisonniers politiques, par le régime. Pendant les années qui ont suivi, le gouvernement était une menace constante pour Mirmahaleh, qui a luttais pour mener une vie en Iran. En 2012, Mirmahaleh est arrivée au Canada avec un visa de visiteur, obtenu par sa fille, une étudiante au postdoctorat à l'université de McGill. En 2013 elle a demandé le statut de réfugié, mais sa demande fût jugée irrecevable. Depuis son arrivée au Canada, elle a participé à des manifestations hebdomadaires contre les abus des droits humains en Iran, au Square Phillips. Ces actions politiques peuvent d'autant plus porter un grave préjudice à Mirmahaleh, si elle est déportée. Malgré tout cela, le gouvernement canadien a rejeté sa demande d'un examen des risques avant renvoi. Cet examen consiste à s'assurer que personne ne soit expulsée vers un pays où il/elle sera victime de persécution. Le gouvernement reconnaît l'emprisonnement de Mirmahaleh, ainsi que l'exécution de son mari, mais affirme toujours qu'il n'y a pas assez de preuve que sa vie soit en danger si elle devait retourner en Iran. Le matin du 21 février, Montréal a été nommé une « ville sanctuaire ». Le jour d'après, la communauté de Mirmahaleh et ses supporteurs on manifesté à Montréal, exigeant que le gouvernement canadien réévalue sa demande de statut de réfugié et qu'il arrête sa déportation en Iran, où elle sera emprisonnée, torturée et exécutée. La manifestation était planifiée de façon à correspondre à la rencontre de Mirmahaleh avec l'agence des services frontaliers du Canada à Montréal. Durant sa rencontre, Mirmahaleh a été séparée de son avocat et de sa fille, a été arrêtée et transportée dans un centre de détention à Laval, où elle est actuellement détenue. Nous appelons Ahmed Hussen, ministre de l’immigration, des réfugiés et de la citoyenneté, Ralph Goodale, ministre de la sécurité publique et de la protection civile, et premier ministre Justin Trudeau pour la libération immédiate de Mirmahaleh du centre de détention et pour l'annulation de sa déportation. ------------------------------ Press/Presse Mirmahaleh’s daughter fears for her mother’s life, should she be forced to return to Iran: http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/mcgill-post-doc-student-fears-for-her-mothers-life-if-returned-to-iran On February 20th 2017, Amir Khadir of Quebec solidaire called a press conference, asking the federal government to stop Mirmahaleh’s deportation, saying, “It’s a matter of life and death.” http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/amir-khadir-seeks-stay-of-deportation-for-iranian-woman Radio-Canada (CBC) reports on Mirmahaleh’s arrest on February 21st 2017: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1018193/iranienne-demande-statut-roghayeh-azizi-arretee Journal Metro reports on Mirmahaleh’s arrest on February 21st 2017: http://journalmetro.com/actualites/montreal/1093391/la-dissidente-iranienne-roghayeh-azizi-mirmahaleh-arretee/ http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/2e3603c0-087c-4ccf-832c-d7d679ee7e09%7C_0.html
Making "Universal Medicare" Universal: Calling for a National Pharmacare StrategyIn our clinical experiences we regularly see patients burdened by the cost of medicines and unable to fill their prescriptions. We know how aware of this you are from your medical practice too. We are shocked by how medication costs are determined in Canada. Canadian physicians, residents, and medical students expect healthcare policy in this country to be evidence-based, and we have placed our trust in you to do this. We have the evidence now that a National Pharmacare Strategy would be cost effective, eliminating a long standing barrier to implementation – the belief that a universal publicly funded pharmacare plan would be too expensive. The landmark 2015 article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal builds on an already robust literature base articulating the need for a National Pharmacare Strategy. The findings of this cost-benefit analysis are that universal public drug coverage would reduce total spending on prescription drugs in Canada by an estimated $7.3 billion [link to study]. Citizens need provincial and federal buy-in for a pan-Canadian solution. As you have said, we need to do things differently. We need to bargain more effectively and revisit our relationship with Big Pharma, not accepting price inflations that are then offloaded onto third party insurers and out of pocket payers. We need to purchase smarter through national bulk purchasing strategies in order to secure lower, more reasonable drug prices. We need to use the best available evidence under the guidance of objective academic drug detailing programs and harness our purchasing power to bring costs down. During the election, as doctors of tomorrow we sought federal leadership that would return to undertaking pan-Canadian healthcare responsibilities. We have new CMA leadership from a long-serving rural physician, Dr. Granger Avery who, at the Canada 2020 Summit on a new Health Accord reiterated the need for a National Pharmacare Strategy. The CMA has identified that Universal Pharmacare is an integral component of a high performing system that cannot be ignored; it is a tenet underpinning every area of healthcare and would have the most substantial impact of any changes made to our system. With the billions saved, funds could be redirected towards home care, care of the elderly, care of Indigenous populations, and comprehensive mental health services. Consistent with the universality and equitable accessibility promised by the Canada Health Act, a National Pharmacare Strategy would be the epitome of action to fulfill Prime Minister Trudeau’s words of establishing strong national unity. As you have said, the last time a doctor was the Minister of Health was perhaps nearly a century ago. We appreciate your efforts to take steps towards lowering costs that Canadians face for their medications. This includes working to install regulatory changes to the way drug prices are set in Canada, and working with the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. It is actionable steps like this that will pave the way toward Universal Pharmacare in our future. Yet, in order to most effectively move towards a goal, it needs to be stated with clarity and conviction. The current medico-political climate is unique, Dr. Philpott. We have informed physicians in leadership roles with awareness of evidence, relationship-building capacities to forge new alliances, and abilities to mobilize changemakers. We need to be bold and “think big” to make real change happen. Thus, we urge you to draw on your courage, seize this critical time in our Canadian history and commit to a National Pharmacare Strategy. If you don’t, who will? #makecanadianuniversalmedicareuniversal Visit a recent CBC Fifth Estate episode on Canada's Drug Problem (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/episodes/2016-2017/the-high-cost-of-phamaceuticals-canadas-drug-problem) and Minister Philpott's full interview (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/blog/full-interview-with-minister-of-health-jane-philpott). See http://pharmacare2020.ca/ for additional information. Additional Reading: - Canada is the only country in the world that prides itself on universal healthcare, yet contradictorily does not have universal medication access. Canada has 19 publicly funded drug plans and over 1000 private insurance programs: a fragmented, non-equitable patchwork that leaves many uncovered. We spend 30% more on drugs than nations with Universal Pharmacare programs! - Canadians spend more than $700 US per capita for prescription, non-prescription, and personal health supplies, whereas the average per capita expenditure for OECD countries is $500. - In a recent Angus Reid Institute national survey nearly 1 in 4 Canadians did not take a prescribed medicine because she/he could not afford it. Food and shelter costs undermine medication costs when it comes to day-to-day survival. Inadequately treated chronic disease inevitably decompensates. Hospital admission for acute disease management then culminates in hefty inpatient costs. - Our generic drug prices are dependent on patented drug prices, established as the median of seven comparator OECD nations. This list includes the four places on the globe where drugs are most expensive. - Prices for the same medicines vary depending on province or territory of residence. In order to make drug prices more appealing to provincial and territorial governments, pharmaceutical companies artificially inflate prices to present the government with a “discount price,” whilst channeling the cost burden to third party insurers (10% higher costs compared to government costs) and most significantly to out of pocket purchasers, many of whom are the working poor. - Take the price of the common cholesterol medication, atorvastatin, which is cheapest in Ontario and costs 31 cents. Compare this to that same pill in New Zealand, which costs 2.6 cents!
Doors open for the HomelessPeople die in the street when shelters are full. The homeless who have dogs often have no place to go because they will not abandon their best friend. Many shelters will not accept animals. It is cruelly cold outside. We need to do better for our citizens, and their furry companions. There is room at night in community centres. Why are they locked against those members of the community who are down on their luck? They are human beings. And their animal companions are part of their humanity. Make community space truly for the community, including those who need a hand up.
Christy Clark Must Apologize for False Criminal AllegationsThe political climate has changed and we can no longer sit idly by while this government accuses its democratic opposition of criminal acts. We've seen the damage this has done in the United States. We won't stand idly by and watch this travesty. Premier Christy Clark must fire the BC Liberal staffer who lied about this hack and apologize for her anti-democratic actions.
Dear Trudeau: Stand up to TrumpOn Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be sitting down to meet with President Trump. I’m a mom, a highschool teacher and a Leadnow member. I started this open letter because I’m really worried that Trudeau won’t have the courage to stand up to Trump. Let’s urge Trudeau to set a courageous example for our children -- showing them how to stand up to bullies like Trump. Trudeau might ignore a letter from one teacher like me -- but if thousands of us add out names, we can get Trudeau’s attention and convince him to stand up to Trump on Monday Sources:  Donald Trump says he believes waterboarding works (BBC News). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38753000  A travel ban that descended into chaos, protests: What we know (CNN). http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/29/politics/immigration-crisis-what-we-know/  Climate change denial in the Trump cabinet: where do his nominees stand? (The Guardian). https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/15/trump-cabinet-climate-change-deniers
Deny Sarah Palin from Becoming US Ambassador to CanadaGovenor Palin has demonstrated a history of ignorance and intolerance to those social justice values and principals of diversity and acceptance so fundamentally held and defended by Canadians. Her representation in Canada would be a great disservice and likely weaken the long and valuable relationship held between Canada and the United States.
Tell Christy Clark: Fire the Minister of Children and Family DevelopmentStephanie Cadieux is the Minister of Children and Family Development in British Columbia, the longest serving Minister in the Cabinet of Premier Christy Clark. She oversees a file that is extremely important to the province, as it governs ensuring the well-being of BC children, responding to signs of abuse, and helping families in crisis. On every level, Minister Cadieux has failed her mandate - many times over, in fact. You need only Google "Stephanie Cadieux" and "abuse" and you will find page after page of horrific cases where the Minister has been accused of failing to protect children from both physical and sexual abuse, both by foster families and by parents. If you Google "Stephanie Cadieux" and "suicide" you will find equally tragic stories of how the Minister and her department failed to prevent the suicide of children in crisis, while under Ministry care. A recent report by BC's Youth Advocate stated that as Minister, Cadieux has failed to prevent the physical and sexual abuse of more than 250 children! These aren't isolated cases, as new ones have continued to arise during Cadieux's four-year tenure. And yet Premier Christy Clark has refused time and again calls for her to relieve Cadieux of her position! Children, especially vulnerable children in terrible conditions, deserve a Minister that will protect them! Enough is enough! Stephanie Cadieux has to go!
Protect the Heart of Vancouver's Chinatown!Chinatown is under siege. A proposed market rate development on 105 Keefer Street threatens the cultural and economic fabric of Chinatown. “Our Chinatown is being bought up by developers. What’s going to be left in Chinatown for people like me when the dust settles?” protested Ivy Su, a resident in the neighbourhood. Ms. Su’s concerns are real. Vancouver Chinatown was not-so-honoured to be designated a Top 10 Endangered Places List according to the National Trust for Canada. Intense market development pressure has pushed small businesses out and housing costs up. Chinatown is really under siege. And now, to add insult to injury, Beedie Group proposes desecrating the cultural heart of Vancouver Chinatown with a dominating luxury high rise development at 105 Keefer Street. How is the 105 Keefer site at the heart of Vancouver Chinatown? It is surrounded by the culturally significant Chinese-Canadian war veterans and railway workers monument, the Chinese Cultural Centre and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The site is close to the National Historic Site where important heritage buildings such as the Chinese Benevolent Association and the Chinese Freemasons are located. A luxury market development at this site would violate/disrespect Chinatown's distinct character as well as the livelihoods of the people living here. Gentrification is already severely overrunning the entire Downtown Eastside and the plan by the Beedie Group to build a complex at 105 Keefer will only worsen this problem, which we and groups dedicated to saving Chinatown have been battling against for the past few years. On the contrary, Chinatown residents and organizations are proposing the site be used for low-income seniors housing and an intergenerational community space. Ms. Su offers a brighter future: “We hope that the government will purchase the land to provide housing for us so that we are not without homes”. Ms. Su continues, “We’ve seen Chinatown change so much over the past years, but the changes are overwhelmingly for the higher income people moving in. We need more developments that meet our needs for affordable housing and for spaces to socialize with each other.” We can’t afford to lose more of our precious Chinatown! (Photo Credits: Christina Lee)
Defend Our AirshedMessage from a Kamloops Mom: Closing the door has cut the volume, but it doesn't mask each new chorus of chest-ripping coughs. I stand outside my daughter's bedroom, wincing and thinking about what can be done to shine a light on air pollution in the upcoming May 9th provincial election. I never thought I would find myself here. When my youngest was just 3 years old, every time she walked along a busy roadway for even 10 minutes, or was exposed to wood smoke in our neighbourhood, she would develop a persistent cough, lasting between 2 weeks and 2 months. It would always start the same way, with the sound of violent hacking over a number of restless nights. She was diagnosed with mild asthma. We wondered, “Is this something that she will grow out of? If we put her on a puffer, will she ever get off again?” During wildfire seasons and times of the year when people want to cozy-up next to their fireplace, I have become a parent who sniffs the air before letting my girls out to play. Now, more than ever, I am aware of how changes in our air quality affect our citizens' health and ultimately, our quality of life. Poor air quality can negatively affect pregnant moms and their developing babies, as well as children, the elderly and athletes. Particles in our air (small enough to have 30 of them fit across the tip of a hair) from things like exhaust and wood smoke, are actually small enough to move from our lungs into our bloodstream. When it comes to making decisions about what we put into the air, there are some things that we all can do. Our children will breathe whatever those decisions are. When we vote on May 9, 2017, the outcome will directly affect the next generation of citizens growing up in our airshed. I will be voting for a candidate who recognizes that our airshed is something worth defending, both for the quality of life of all citizens, but especially for children who depend on us and our decisions. I hope you'll join me in considering this as well, when you vote on May 9th.
Give People with Sleep Apnea the right to breathe for FREE(A basic human right!)This is important because it affects everyone.Costs to the healthcare system alone and the amount of reported illnesses caused from lack of treatment,awareness and the right to breathe properly are staggering!Some of the results are sudden death,increased blood pressure and cholesterol,people falling asleep while driving,working etc.This is an issue that has plagued our health care system for years and no government has done anything about it!