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MLA Broten calls out MP Block

MP under fire after a survey mailed out to constituents last week
Reported by Fran├žois Biber
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On the back of a bill that was passed in Ottawa this summer, Kelly Block, MP for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar is facing critics who claim the piece of legislature is unfair and racist.

Last week Block's office sent out a survey asking constituents to voice their opinions on whether or not refugee and asylum claimants should receive healthcare that Canadians don't.

"This flyer was meant to highlight that we're balancing the benefits by ensuring that asylum claimants do not receive better healthcare than Canadians," said Block.

Prior to the passing of Bill C-31 on June 12, refugee and asylum claimants were receiving free supplemental healthcare funded by taxpayers. Block said the types of healthcare they were receiving included free prescriptions, dental, vision and mobility-assistance devices.

Block said, by axing these free supplemental benefits for the asylum and refugee claimants, Canadians can save up to $100-million in five years.

MLA for Saskatoon Massey Place and Immigration and Health Critic for the Provincial NDP Party, Cam Broten, said Block's flyer is both disgusting and trivial.

"I don't think it matches with the reality that many refugees are facing," said Broten.

"I don't think that's the Canada we want and I think it's very unfortunate that an MP would send this out."

Broten referenced a refugee he knows who is suffering a life-threatening illness and is unable to receive basic medication.

A Facebook page has been since set up calling Block a racist. Block responded by saying her record speaks for itself.

"I've been a strong advocate for many programs and services in the city of Saskatoon for newcomers and immigrants," said Block. "It was never my intention to offend with the flyer that was distributed and I'm taking note of the criticism I'm receiving."

fbiber@rawlco.com

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