Vuepoint

Wrong apology

I don't know if Thomas Lukaszuk is an asshole, but it's clear a lot of people care that he was called one by a federal minister. Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney's private communication became very public when that “reply-all” mistake we all dread hit the media.
Kenney was unapologetic for the name-calling. He stated he did not comment on private communications. He dodged questions throughout Question Period in Parliament on Tuesday. Twitter feeds and blog posts repeated his embarassing invective, while editorials ran rampant with speculation about the relationship between Ottawa and Alberta. Finally, Kenney relented and issued an apology to Alberta's deputy premier. Lukaszuk for his part didn't seem too bothered stating, “My feelings towards him are actually rather positive.”
But editorials will be published all week asking how this reveals an obvious schism in Ottawa-Alberta relations since the Wildrose failed to gain the lead it was slated to in the last provincial election. And while there is a split in the federal party as to which Alberta MPs would vote for Smith over Redford, there is little evidence to show the relationship is broken. In fact, the greatest evidence for Kenny's name-calling is the fact that Lukaszuk did his job as Alberta's employment minister when he criticized Kenney's failure to bring in more immigrants to help with Alberta's employment shortage.
What is more concerning is what lost out in the media cycle. Jason Kenney, Minister of Immigration, is responsible for successfully championing the removal of refugees' access to public health care.
On Monday protests occurred across the country calling for the reinstatement of funding for refugees to Canada to access health care. Citing a cost savings of over $100 million over the next five years, the federal government is removing the funding for refugees—those waiting for approval of status but from “designated safe countries”—to access medication and treatment they may require. Many medical practitioners protested the move as it creates a transfer of costs as preventative medication will become difficult for refugees to access and those with conditions such as diabetes will eventually end up in an emergency room.
It took approximately six hours, a drenched news-cycle demanding an apology and a tasking question period to get Minister Kenney to finally relent and make the phone call to say the two most difficult words in politics: “I'm sorry.” What will it take to get him to change his mind on the basic health care of people seeking refuge in our country? V

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