When governments make a decision that is stupid, embarrassing, overly partisan, or risks causing an outcry, they tend to do so late in the day and late in the week, preferably on the eve of a holiday long weekend, when citizens – and journalists – aren’t paying much attention.
So, late Thursday, the government of Stephen Harper dropped this bombshell, as related in a brief announcement posted on the web site of the National Aboriginal Health Organization: “NAHO funding has been cut by Health Canada. It is with sadness that NAHO will wind down by June 30, 2012.”
This travesty of public policy only came to light because of feisty publications like Windspeaker and Nunatsiaq News.
Founded in 2000, NAHO oversaw many research and outreach programs, in crucial fields such as suicide prevention, tobacco cessation, housing and midwifery. It collected an invaluable series of audio and video interviews with elders recounting traditional tales and knowledge. The group also published the Journal of Aboriginal Health and was home to one of the best collections of aboriginal health research in the world.
There are many political and policy differences among aboriginal groups, but NAHO managed to bring them together at one table, with a common purpose, improving the health of the unhealthiest, most disenfranchised people in the country. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, but it was an achievement in itself.
We are destroying this asset for what reason exactly? To save a few bucks?
NAHO received $4,955,865 from Health Canada last year.
In the world of $25-billion (and counting) fighter jet contracts, that’s a pittance.
And what does it say about the federal government’s priorities?
Read the rest at the Globe and Mail
I am appalled. I hate the Harper Government so much. Something has to be done.
WHY ARE WE SO FUCKING PASSIVE CANADA????
Showing posts tagged rights
The shit hit the fan in the trans blogosphere last night, when it came to light that there is a disturbing new section in the Identity Screening Regulations used in airports throughout Canada. Simply put, Transgender People are Completely Banned From Boarding Airplanes in Canada.
The offending section of the regulations reads:
5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if …
(c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents;
Although this obviously discriminatory smear of regulation did not come to significant public attention until very recently, it apparently came into effect on July 27th, 2011.
It is important to note that these regulations are not actually a piece of legislation, which would have had to pass through readings and votes in the House and Senate (which is probably why it went unnoticed until now). Rather, the Identity Screening Regulations are a set of rules implemented unilaterally by the Ministry of Transportation, as part of Canada’s so-called Passenger Protect, which is essentially the Canadian Federal Government’s equivalent to the U.S.’s “no-fly” list.
Minister of Transportation Denis Lebel is, of course, a federal Conservative MP appointed to the cabinet position by Stephen Harper.
So what does this mean? Well, in order to change the ‘sex’ designation on a Canadian Passport, the federal government requires proof that surgery has taken place, or will take place within one year. So for non-operative transgender persons, for gender nonconforming (genderqueer) persons, and for the vast majority of pre-operative transsexual persons, it is literally impossible to obtain proper travel documentation marked with the sex designation which “matches” the gender identity in which they live.
In the eyes of the honourable Minister of Transportation, that makes trans people unfit to fly in Canada.
It is interesting to note that this regulatory adjustment occurred immediately following the federal election in 2011. In the previous parliament, Bill C-389, a bill to amend the Human Rights Code to explicitly enshrine protections against discrimination for transgender people, had successfully passed in the House of Commons, only to die on the Senate floor when Harper declared a Federal Election (thereby dissolving parliament).
Is the timing of this disturbing and blatantly discriminatory regulatory adjustment merely a coincidence? That is up to you to decide. However, the negative impact on trans people is crystal clear, and we need to take action now.
“If we want to reduce poverty, we have to stop doing the things that make people poor and keep them that way. Stop underpaying people for the jobs they do. Stop treating working people as potential criminals and let them have the right to organize for better wages and working conditions. Stop the institutional harassment of those who turn to the government for help or find themselves destitute in the streets. … At least we should decide, as a bare minimum principle, to stop kicking people when they’re down.”
“The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities. Nobody has been watching Tottenham since the television cameras drifted away after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985. Most of the people who will be writing, speaking and pontificating about the disorder this weekend have absolutely no idea what it is like to grow up in a community where there are no jobs, no space to live or move, and the police are on the streets stopping-and-searching you as you come home from school. The people who do will be waking up this week in the sure and certain knowledge that after decades of being ignored and marginalised and harassed by the police, after months of seeing any conceivable hope of a better future confiscated, they are finally on the news.”
“My future, and the future of everyone I care about, is being traded for short term profits. I take that very personally. Until our leaders take seriously their responsibility to pass on a healthy and just world to the next generation, I will continue this fight.”
“The Israeli parliament has passed a controversial law that will punish any Israeli individual or organisation boycotting West Bank settlements.”