Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's event disrupted by protests, cries of "shame"

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Video by CKNW980

Piercing screams of "Shame! Shame!" drowned out applause as Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney took the stage at a speaking event in Surrey. 

"That didn't take long," Kenney murmured as security began escorting No One is Illegal activist Tracey Mann out of the room.

Mann, undeterred, continued screaming before being taken out the door:

"You are creating a temporary foreign worker program that pays them 15 per cent less than Canadians! The Interim Federal Health Program is killing refugees!"

She spoke in reference to recent changes announced by the Tories in April, which renders refugee claimants in Canada ineligible for supplementary health coverage under the Interim Federal health Program.

The "warm Surrey welcome" that the Surrey Board of Trade offered to the Citizenship and Immigration Minister was marred from the onset, as a crowd of protesters gathered around the building entrance at 7 a.m., distributing pamphlets about Conservative policies on refugees and immigrants, such as Bill C-31.

These include the following changes:

  • Refugee claimants from countries considered 'safe' by Ottawa will no longer receive health care unless their condition poses a public threat.
  • Refugees from 'unsafe' countries will receive access to basic provincial health coverage but lose eligibility for drugs, wheelchairs, dental and vision care.
  • Refugees covered under the Interim Federal Health Program will no longer have access to supplementary health care.

Kenney did not address the refugee issue in detail, but said during his speech that Canada already accepts more refugees than other developing countries. He has in other media claimed that the new harsh measures are meant to deter "bogus" refugee claimants.

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