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In rural Canada, churches that once shunned one another open their hearts to Syrian re …

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomes Syrian refugees at Pearson International Airport in December 2015. Photo courtesy of the Prime Minister’s Office

 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomes Syrian refugees at Pearson International Airport in December 2015. Photo courtesy of the Prime Minister’s Office

DAUPHIN, Manitoba (RNS) Ken Yakielashek, a Roman Catholic and semiretired farmer in the Canadian Prairies, says he remembers when Christians of varying denominations “wouldn’t talk to one another.”

To Yakielashek, that makes what’s happened in Dauphin — a rural community 200 miles northwest of the provincial capital of Winnipeg — all the more remarkable.

A year and a half ago, three churches put aside theological differences and came together to sponsor the resettlement of three Syrian refugee families to this town of 8,500.

In the rural Canadian community of Dauphin, Manitoba, Cordell Lind, left, of the evangelical First Baptist Church and Ron Marlin of the mainline Dauphin First United Church put aside theological differences to focus on helping resettle Syrian refugee families. Joining in the effort was St. Viator’s Catholic Church, a parish of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg. RNS photo by Bobby Ross Jr.

“We have three different theological outlooks on things, but they’ve been pushed to the background,” said Ron Marlin, a lay leader for Dauphin First United Church, a liberal mainline Protestant congregation.

“The focus was very much on helping our neighbors in need,” agreed Cordell Lind, whose wife, the Rev. Lorayln Lind, serves as pastor for the conservative evangelical First Baptist Church of Dauphin.

In the United States, new President Trump’s effort to bar refugees from certain Muslim-majority nations deemed terrorism threats — including Syria — has dominated headlines for weeks.

But here in Canada, the government has welcomed more than 40,000 men, women and children fleeing Syria’s civil war since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s October 2015 election.

“Canada is doing the right thing by providing refuge for those so desperately seeking safety,” Trudeau has said.

Back in September 2015, a 3-year-old Syrian boy named Aylan Kurdi drowned after a 15-foot boat ferrying him to a Greek island capsized.

Pictures of the toddler’s lifeless body on a beach horrified millions around the globe, including Yakielashek, a parish council member at St. Viator’s Catholic Church in Dauphin.

Yakielashek said he felt a personal connection to the Syrian refugees because his Polish grandfather “escaped from situations similar to that in eastern Europe.”

“This isn’t right,” Yakielashek said he told his parish priest, the Rev. John Legitimas. “Somebody has to do something.”

Legitimas talked to the Rev. Richard Gagnon, archbishop of Winnipeg, and got approval to look into sponsoring a refugee family.

Siblings Roqayah and Hussein Alassaf in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan before resettling in Canada. Photo courtesy of the Alassaf family

The same boy’s death spurred Dauphin First United Church to act: “That galvanized us to say, ‘OK, we can’t just write a check and send it somewhere else,’” said Marlin, a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police district supervisor.

Meanwhile, First Baptist Church already had connections to the Middle East and was moving forward with plans to help, Cordell Lind said.

When the three churches learned of one another’s efforts, they committed to pool resources and share ideas where they could. The churches formed the Dauphin Interchurch Refugee Team — “which, by the way, has the acronym DIRT,” Lind said with a chuckle.

Siblings Hussein and Roqayah Alassaf test out new donated bicycles at their home in Dauphin, Manitoba, in 2016. Photo courtesy of Ron Marlin

While working together, each church maintained its individual sponsorship of a Syrian family. The refugees — 15 men, women and children in all, plus a baby born after their arrival — began new lives in Dauphin a year ago.

Months later, the Arabic-speaking immigrants — still learning English — told Canadian media that their church sponsors and other community friends had become like family.

“It feels like home,” Asya Alassaf, one of the Syrian mothers, told the Winnipeg Free Press.

“It’s good,” said Louai Alassaf, Asya’s husband. “Mainly, people are very nice.”

But not everyone.

Soon after news broke that the families were coming, a man made threatening telephone calls saying he hoped Dauphin First United Church “would burn in hell,” according to local media reports.

Still, most area residents — like the majority of Canadians in general — have responded positively, said the sponsoring churches’ representatives.

“It still gives me goose bumps when I think about it,” Lind said. After picking up one Syrian family at the Winnipeg airport, he said, “we stopped in a little town called Neepawa for a cup of coffee on the way home, and everyone in the McDonald’s had to come over to welcome them to Canada.”

Ukrainian immigrants first settled in Dauphin more than a century ago, but the community has become much more multicultural in the last 15 years, Yakielashek said.

“For the most part, the reaction (to the Syrian refugees) has been welcoming from all walks of life, from doctors to lawyers to dentists to farmers to accountants to ordinary laborers and teachers,” he said.

Yakielashek’s attitude: “We’ve got lots of land here. We have lots of opportunities for the country to grow. Why can’t we bring people in here to contribute? I don’t expect them to have any more or less than we do, but just a chance at life.”

The three Syrian families that resettled in Dauphin, Manitoba, gather for a photo at a going-away celebration held for their interpreter at Riding Mountain National Park. Photo courtesy of Ron Marlin

Not only have the churches helped make life better for the refugees, but they also have built bridges drawing Dauphin’s Christians closer together, the representatives said. The Dauphin Interchurch Refugee Team is making plans to bring more Syrian refugees to town.

To be sure, the days of Christians refusing to communicate across confessional lines because of theological differences began to fade long before the refugees’ arrival. And the cooperation on their absorption didn’t remove the differences that remain.

For example, Marlin said Dauphin First United Church sees no need to proselytize the refugees — all Muslims.

“It’s not our job to convert them from their lifelong religion to another,” Marlin said. “It’s our job to support them in the celebration of their religion and the celebration of their humanity.”

Cordell Lind, on the other hand, said the First Baptist Church “would love for Mahmoud and Hala (the couple sponsored by the congregation) to meet Jesus.”

“So we pray for our family, and we pray for the other families and would be very excited if they did” become Christians, Lind said. “If they don’t, they will still be our lifelong friends and part of our family.”

About the author

Bobby Ross Jr.

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  • ‘”For example, Marlin said Dauphin First United Church sees no need to proselytize the refugees — all Muslims.
    “It’s not our job to convert them from their lifelong religion to another,” Marlin said. “It’s our job to support them in the celebration of their religion and the celebration of their humanity.”’
    I guess that assembly has forgotten about the Great Commission given by Jesus

    Matthew 28:16-20English Standard Version (ESV)

    The Great Commission

    16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

  • As of 2016, Seniors in Canada receive an annual pension of $1092.50 with an addition old age pension of approximately $570.52 – a total of $19,956.24. I’m sure it must have increased somewhat in 2017 (http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1026259)

    “According to the Canadian Council for Refugees, government-assisted refugees can get some help through the federal Resettlement Assistance Program.

    That support is generally available for up to a year. The maximum amount provided is $25,000 per family. That includeecs a one-time start up payment to help refugees establish a household in Canada, as well as monthly income support, a spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada said.

    The monthly payments depend on the size of the family and social assistance rates in each province.

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada estimates that an individual in Ontario would receive roughly $2,065 in a one-time start-up allowance, to cover things such as basic household needs, furniture, winter clothing and telephone installation if a landline is chosen. The estimated monthly assistance to a refugee in Ontario is $768, but the department notes that individual circumstances vary and so do the monthly payments.” (http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/fact-check-do-refugees-get-more-financial-help-than-canadian-pensioners-1.2670735)

  • As noted on the federal government website in response to the question as to comparing assistance for seniors to refugees and that maximum amount per family. It includes a start-up which has been deemed the minimum amount needed to cover only the most basic food and shelter needs” and monthly income based on provincial social assistance rates. With respect to the start-up costs, the federal gov’t. website notes that ‘Many refugees selected for resettlement to Canada have been forced to flee their country because of extreme hardship. Some may have been living in refugee camps for many years. When they arrive in Canada, they must start their lives again in a country very different from their own. In keeping with Canada’s proud humanitarian traditions, individuals and families get immediate and essential services and support to help them become established in Canada.” To be clear, refugees are treated no differently financially than any other Canadian who receives provincial social assistance. Formulas are used to calculate assistance rates based on housing and number of dependents under 18. So a family of 4 will get more support than a family of 3 and less than a larger family. And of course, any government assistance ceases with self-sufficiency.

    But the first year costs cited are only with respect to government sponsored refugees. “In 2017, we will welcome one the highest numbers of refugees and protected persons in Canadian history,” the ministry said in a written statement on Dec. 24. “There will be substantially more privately sponsored refugees in particular, increasing from 4,500 in 2014 to 16,000 in 2017.”

    Privately sponsored Syrian refugees represented about 40% of refugees that came in 2016 and were not entitled to federal or provincial government assistance during their year of sponsorship. Private sponsorships as illustrated by these faith communities in the article epresent a model identified for successful integration of refugees. Three of the adults sponsored in our community became tax-payers before the end of their initial year. No social assistance period as long as they remain employed.

    Not sure exactly what you are inferring with respect to seniors. To be accurate, you actually need to multiply the annual income times the number of years seniors are likely to receive that benefit and then compare that sum with the maximum payment from the federal government for a refugee family given that it is the same source for funding.

  • Maybe Dauphin United Church learned something from the Residential Schools debacle in terms of proselytizing. (The Catholic church has yet to issue an official apology) But there may be a time when it is appropriate but not for traumatized people who have just arrived to a very different country in pursuit of safety and freedom.

  • The Lord moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform. If as noted in the story, the parochialism of differing faith communities which was more prevalent in the past has in recent decades shown signs of waning, this is all to the good. The influx of the refugees has provided a catalyst for those faith groups to work in common cause with one another for the spiritual benefit of many, perhaps including some of those refugees, it has certainly been to their immediate physical benefit. This narrative has great potential for the future.

  • sally is a known troll. don´t waste your time replying but do flag each and everyone of her post as I and my brother do.

  • there is no ¨the¨ lord. it´s your lord and yours alone.
    maybe the popes as well since your lord seems useless in combating
    his holy men raping our children as well

  • Christ is very clear that the Gospel is always appropriate. You guys follow Satan. You don’t follow the Church. Christ is very clear that the salvation of souls is always the most important point, not looking “enlightened” to your Secularist Leftist friends. People like you are the reason the Church is empty in the West.

  • Don’t worry guys. Suzy is a known troll. She hates God because she’s struggling in life and is plagued with sin.

  • The Canadian people are all so well-off that they have no one in need at home and must import poor foreigners who despise everything they stand for.

  • At the risk of being called a troll by you “Christians”, I feel compelled to point out that the ideology of these people is specifically hostile to everything Canada claims to believe in as a country. Furthermore, importing violent,hostile foreigners is not smart policy. But don’t let reality influence you.

  • Yes, having the best healthcare in the hemisphere helps and those foreigners seem to be adapting well to being in a safe civil democratic society.

    If you want to see those who despise democracy and everything it stands for, just look in a mirror.

  • OK you are a troll. A bigot too who makes wild defamatory statements about others you know little about.

    Yes importing violent foreigners is generally a bad policy. But we are talking mostly defenseless women and children. Reality and facts in general have never impeded your views before. Why start now?

  • Well that is a rather self serving answer to excuse offensive behavior and trespasses to others. Yes I get it, you have no respect for any religion but your own and you think it entitles you to be rude.

    It’s people like you who cause churches to empty. By entangling church and state and representing discriminatory interests, churches in Europe fouled their own nests. They created a backlash and well justified hatred of churches by doing so.

    American conservative Christians are tone deaf to the lessons to be learned. Mixing Christianity and politics and supporting discriminatory attacks on others leads to the demise of churches.

  • These Canadian churches are making the same horrendous mistakes that American churches make! They have no way of vetting the refugees that come there, so they have no way to distinguish legitimate refugees from the ones who’ve been planted by ISIS, to connect with other terrorist cells in Canada and the US, bent on killing people. After all, Canada takes the same stance against terrorism as does the US, and this makes them just as vulnerable to terrorist attacks!

  • Yes, a friend of mine just lost his elderly mother in a Canadian hospital when an unauthorized order for 2 vials of morphine (she had neither pain nor heart issues nor any immediately life-threatening issue) was issued and nurses glibly injected her putting her into a coma against his strongly expressed wishes.

    And not only was the son (with medical training in the Army) ignored concerning this; nurses, in turn, ignored his fervent requests for a commonly used Naloxone injection to reverse the effects before it was too late.

    And then, there are all those Canutes who can afford it who cross over into the U.S. if they have anything really serious who cannot wait in the queue.

    Yes, Canada has some (some) superb physicians. But the system has been totally corrupted by political shenanigans.

  • If you have money, healthcare in the US is great. Otherwise good luck staying healthy and solvent. Single payer systems work. My in laws live in Japan. They have a dual private and public system. Those employed in large enough companies have private care, the public system takes care of everyone else. My in-laws are poor and retired. They are also both cancer survivors. They paid practically nothing for surgery,chemo, and other therapies. In the US they would be dead, bankrupt or both.

  • Japan is overall a numerically stable and homogeneous population.

    Actually, I know quite a number of people in the U.S. of rather modest means who only have Medicare (with all its limitations) and supplemental (Blue-Cross/Shield, whatever), and they have never had overwhelming out-of-pocket expenses for quite a number of prolonged illnesses.

    The system here would function much better if insurance corporations were not permitted to collude with politicians to maintain certain regional monopolies.

  • That is not much of an excuse and rapidly becoming untrue. Japan’s population is in decline, aging and they import labor from south America and the middle East. Their healthcare system has far greater stresses upon it then the US would. Cancer treatment in the US can be debilitating financially.

    As for collusion with insurers, that is the nature of private insurance. The business requires heavy regulation to function. This creates incentives for monopolization and special interest actions by politicians. “Free market solutions” don’t work for services which are considered vital to survival and aren’t chosen by end consumers.

    If single payer smacks too much of authoritarianism, then it should be a blended system where employers of a given size must provide insurance for workers. Those systems work.

  • I wasn’t proposing any ‘excuse’.

    My point was that not all societies can or will tolerate centralized, heavily regulated approaches, due to many factors (economic, cultural, etc.).

    And I doubt that one can point to a purely “free market” approach in any developed democratic republic today.

    Your last paragraph seems overall to accord with just these points.

  • I’ll overlook your uncharitable characterizations of me (also known as “wild defamatory statements” directed at someone you “know little about”), since it’s clear you are morally and mentally unhinged. IF you were sane, it might be worth my while to debate you on your alternative “facts”, but you are entirely incapable of sustaining a rational argument. Good day.

  • Not at all. Familiarity breeds contempt. As does contemptible behavior and cheap excuses.

    It is a ridiculous canned response to claim that all negative attitudes towards Christian behavior is a matter of being ignorant of the faith. In most cases it is precisely because they know it all to well.

  • You wanted people to call you a troll. I obliged. I can’t help it if the description is all too apt here.

  • But you’re ignorant of so MANY things, lol. And, just so we’re clear, your comment is proof positive of your ignorance about Christianity. But CONTEMPT you have aplenty for anything you don’t understand. Poor Spud!

  • LOL! People criticize obnoxious Christian behavior because they are ignorant. /sarcasm

    Riiight. Its not arrogance, bigotry, and a general lack of respecting personal boundaries. Its just people don’t get to know them well enough. Whatever makes you feel better. 🙂

  • I feel perfect , bless your heart, but your completely clueless ranting against goodness itself is so uncomfortable for YOU. Take a breath, and focus on what is REAL and TRUE, and try to stop imagining all those monsters, k?

  • Of course you would! But the mean ol’ American people want to keep their country? Guess what, all you lefties want to destroy America and you always have. At least you’re honest enough to admit it. It would be more decent still if you went to that land of your dreams, instead of trying to overthrow America.

  • It wasn’t for 6000 plus children attending church run residential schools who died. What you don’t understand is the churches’ actions were based on humanitarian impulses and love of God. Not as subjects for conversion.

  • I see you have no understanding of the Spiritual aspect of Christianity. There is freedom from bondage in Christ. One will go to Heaven. Too often Christ is judged by the errors of people who say they follow Him. Do you do that?

  • quite the contrary, i hate the belief not the believer. i only have hatred for the pope. both of them

  • The refugees have been vetted. The real danger is homegrown terrorists of any ilk or ideology.

  • The early Cyprian Christians did much the same at the time of the ‘St. Cyprian’ plague in Rome in the 250s – without the benefit of the Holy Bible. I call it a Christian tradition demonstrated throughout the history of the Church.

  • That’s right, and homegrown Islamic terrorism is the greatest danger. In Britain there are 3000 known Islamists on 24/7 surveillance watchlist. 3000! A recent poll has shown twenty percent of of Muslim young people say violence is an acceptable way to defend their faith.

  • Sorry that your friend’s mother died but a medication error can happen anywhere. Med errors are estimated to be the cause of death in at least 9.5% of all hospital deaths in the US. Morphine is a drug that fall under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and would have required a physician to order it before the hospital pharmacy would have issued it. There should have been cross-checking for right patient/right medication before being administered by the nurse. There should also have been standard protocols in place to monitor respiratory depression. Someone messed up and there should have been a review. Would appear to be grounds to sue the hospital.

    Depends on how you define really serious – generally border crossing is for non-emergency medical treatment. People who are rich enough and who do not want to wait for certain procedures given finite capacity with resources going to most urgent surgeries. Not sure what the political shenanigans are that you are referring to other than push-back from some conservatives who would like to see a 2 tier health care system put in place. My dad had excellent health care service when he developed a terminal illness – not only specialist supervision of medical treatment but additional in-home supports including end-of-life so that he was able to die peacefully at home as he wished. My sister-in-law has a dual diagnosis that not only involved in hospital treatment but now receives community support under the health system. My mother-in-law used up her savings to live in a for profit retirement residence after being unable to care for herself after a stroke but spent the last three years of her life living in a long term care facility where she was not only medically treated for cancer but received the physical assistance she needed again funded through health-care. In other words, there are a lot of demands for health related services that are not acute or surgical in nature.

  • I would commend these churches for acting on their belief that Christ calls us to show love and mercy to others. I would not have used this article to take cheap shots on government funding (with misleading information) or to judge the churches for not proselytizing. I believe there is an old hymn called ‘They will know we are Christians by our love’.

  • SYRIAN refugees have been vetted? Who vetted them–Bahar Asad? He has such a warm, tender love for the US!

    If you believe the Syrians have been properly vetted, such that there’s NO possibility that a terrorist could have slipped through, then let’s talk about an exclusive deal I can getcha in a brudge in Brooklyn!

  • an unnecessary, unproven, and gratuitous remark with respect to the Lord. Your comment is not germane to the narrative of the article. One has to wonder about the mindset of someone who can be told of the positive bonding of a community of souls and turn it on its head to condemn the sins of other souls.

  • My friend’s mother did not die due to an error, but due to a deliberate order that was unsigned … yet every vial of morphine is supposed to be accounted for, as you acknowledge. Only after this horrendous experience die my friend begin to hear from others anecdotes about how they, also, had had elderly relatives suffer similar “treatment” in this large facility.

    As for a lawsuit, however, you really do not know how the law is totally structured to favor and protect both hospitals and their physicians in socialized Canada. This is not even more so since their euthanasia legislation. Ultimately, when hospitals (and its physicians) are virtually an arm of the government it is difficult, if not impossible, to mount, much less win, a lawsuit.

    Yes, there are lots of demands for health services that are not acute or surgical.
    However, there is no evidence that centralized and totally standardized government regulation offers either the best or the most efficient approach.

    If you truly have an open mind and are willing to sincerely think about this somewhat complex issue without ideological labels (conservative/liberal, etc.), and if you are able, please take a few moments to Google and read the following:

    Forbes Magazine, “Why Switzerland Has the World’s Best Healthcare System.”

    Heritage Foundation, “After Repeal of Obamacare: Moving to Patient-Centered, Market-Based Healthcare.” (Center for Health Policy Studies, October 31, 2013)

    If you disagree with what is presented therein, that is fine, but to do so one must present real data and specifics since these essays deal with exactly that.

    Best regards.

  • The no misleading info, but you keep trying there Linda.
    The church’s mandate is to bring people to Christ and teach them what He taught. It is love to bring someone to the knowledge of Christ and to help them become a Christian.

  • Uinversal health carewas imposed by the United States when it occupied Japan. The US also actively supported and funded the beginnings of Social Democracy in Europe. Perhaps it was because the US military is the only socialized sector of the US economy.

  • “Make disciples of all nations” can be translated as “make disciples out of all nations,” that is, plant the presence of the Christian sacraments and worship and neighborliness every where on earth as a witness to the life and message of Jesus.

  • It would not have lasted so long in Japan if not for overwhelming support by the large multinational conglomerate (“keiratsus”) which employ the majority of the population.

    It would be nice right now if military spending involved more funds to the VA and less to bribing Afghan and Yemeni warlords.

  • Easier to believe what you want to believe than use some basic research skills to find the information out on your own.

    Registering with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:

    – Tell their story of how they escaped and why

    – Confirm their identity through documents, biometric security screening, including iris scanning

    – Be registered in an automated and interconnected system

    – Red flag any cases of war crimes or criminality

    UNHCR re-settlement list

    – Triage refugees and select 1 per cent who could be resettled

    – Interview candidates again

    – Give priority to the vulnerable, including those with medical problems, single mothers and children

    – Single young men unlikely to make the cut

    Interview with Canadian visa officers

    – One-on-one interviews with visa officers in the Middle East

    – Confirm story again

    – Run names through data bases of Canadian Border Services Agency, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and RCMP

  • Maybe in the UK but not true for the US. And it certainly wasn’t a Muslim who killed the British MP last year.

  • I have worked in a Canadian hospital so I know that hospitals get sued. They generally get settled out of court. Lawsuits and the cost of malpractice insurance is the primary reason GPs now tend to not deliver babies of patients but refer them to a specialist instead. Hospitals are government funded but operate as an independent entity and physicians are paid on a fee for service basis. And if that situation was as you say, then police should have been called into to conduct an investigation into criminal misconduct. Also there are very strict criteria for assisted dying – request process, eligibility, sign-offs – multiple. So not sure that is relevant.

    I do have an open mind, And Canada does not have the best health care system. So what and how is a perennial topic of discussion. But there are a host of variables involved. However, when private insurance companies are the mechanism for delivering access to further privatized services, not sure market-based reduces costs – insurance companies are in fact, in the primary business of generating a profit and providing a return to shareholders. Here is another comparison. https://epianalysis.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/usversuseurope/

    And another example of why costs differ – looking at differences in salaries of physicians/surgeons – Provincial medicare agencies pay an average fee of $652 to surgeons in Canada for a hip replacement. Government programs like Medicaid in the States reimburse almost triple that, while U.S. private insurers offer
    an average of just under $4,000 per hip operation. However, primary care salary differences were nowhere as significant.

  • If you are Canadian, as is my friend, you are better able to determine whether, at this time, hospitals as such are readily able to sued.

    As for criteria for assisted dying, the criteria are not strictly relevant once a climate is promoted that encourages elimination even of elderly who are not necessarily facing imminent death, but who nonetheless are utilizing finite or limited medical resources. And this climate is far less prevalent in a multi-dimensional system that offers numerous non-governmentally centralized options.

    As for the mentioned fee for hip replacement in Canada, perhaps the figure is low due to artificially keeping costs down by restricting the ready availability for such procedures. What is the average length of waiting time for someone who needs this or that in the system, versus in the U.S.?

    But as for the inflated ‘costs’ in the U.S. system, in part that is, arguably, due both to the excessive governmental presence and the political permitting of insurance corporations (which have tremendous lobbying influences, as do mega-pharmaceuticals) regionally to maintain monopolies that preclude honest competition.

    We have parallel cost issues in our colleges and universities in that the more the Federal government increases various tuition grants the higher tuition rates rise.

    True open competition is actually quite a good thing. Real quality is generally promoted in the most economical manner possible bringing maximum cost-effective benefits to the majority, and this is something governmental centralization rarely can accomplish.

  • Linda, you usually have lucid comments, but you’re REALLY in the weeds here! Nothing you’ve said remotely relates to the issue of Canadian churches aking risks to welcome refugees from Syria.

    I seriously doubt that any of these churches who are welcoming refugees, have take the time or invested the resources to research those who come, with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees or any other slow-moving bureaucracy! Those bureaucracies are usually staffed by political hacks who got their jobs through political connections! Besides, the UN functionaries and their ilk are famous for doing really sloppy work!

    Go ahead and put your life on the line for their guarantees that none of the refugees they claim to have vetted are not terrorists. I certainly won’t!

  • All (Syrian) refugees to Canada are vetted through the same process. Churches do not pick out people to bring over on their own. Here are 2 better descriptions. http://montrealgazette.com/news/refugees-screened-and-re-screened-before-entry-to-canada and https://www.hilltimes.com/2016/12/05/canadian-security-agencies-checked-u-s-homeland-security-databases-vet-syrian-refugees/89924 The biggest risk was the time frame for screening the initial group of refugees but that risk is also mitigated by accepting those who are the most vulnerable.. Logic dictates though with little indication of refugees being taken in and the huge number of refugees, that someone with documented refugee status of 3 or 4 years is not likely to have been an ISIS plant. I read of an apparently refugee camp converted couple who were turned down because they could not identify all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the interviewer.

  • Great conversation. Assisted dying legally cropped up elsewhere first – including the US. I doubt that the culture here would permit morphing into broader elimination. Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would prohibit such a drift. That is why this is a patient driven process – the request must be initiated by the patient and supported by a witness who has not any type of tie to the patient – be it family or medical personnel. Then the request must be approved by two physicians who must deem the medical condition fits the legislated criteria. You must also have a health card to be eligible – i.e. a Canadian living in Canada.

    Wait times vary by hospital and province – from a low of 86 days to a high of 360 days in Ontario. There are set targets deemed acceptable wait periods. I thought the differences in pay was interesting – probably some Canadian trained orthopedic surgeons hopped the border for better $. But also because of a friend’s brother who was an internist who described surgeons as being the mechanics of the medical profession and who required only knowledge of anatomy and the ability to follow prescribed procedures arguing that a GP needed much greater knowledge to diagnose and treat patients. (and that on a KSA basis, GPs should then be earning more 🙂 ).

    There clearly are different routes to health care systems and different ways to structure them. And possibly some out of the box thinking – what reduces avoidable admissions for asthma or diabetes for example? And in evaluating the bang for buck in terms of health and other related outcomes. Does the US have the best outcomes given its per capita expenditure? Why/why not? And an interesting article discussing the multitude of options https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2234289/ I also found it interesting that there are also an estimated 1,400,000 Americans who are medical tourists driven not by wait times but costs.

    I did a review – mainly of US experiences in outsourcing/privatizing government services – a wide variety – and generally the longer term outcomes were either increased costs over the longer term – past the first 3 or 5 year contract or poorer service. Privatized winter road maintenance of highways is a perennial problem for government here with government suing/fining contractors and an unhappy public. This explains my bias with insurance. I live in a province with private car insurance – and no monopoly – and we know that the provinces with the lowest rates are those where government is the insurer. I guess because there is no profit, just cost-recovery. Each government campaigns on a promise to force lower rates but it never happens.

  • I appreciate your reflections. Your mention of Ontario was interesting to me, since my friend’s experience (and that of quite a number of others with similar experiences) centered on specific hospitals in that province.

    Government administration of medical facilities in the U.S. is not at all impressive. The recent debacles in V.A. hospitals are a fine example.

    Also, the FDA tends to take much too long in allowing new drugs to come to market, while alternative medicinal approaches (many of which are shown to perform just as well as many conventional pharmaceuticals) are burdened or gravely restricted.

    In my view, the market should be maximally open and creativity allowed to flourish with governmental regulation not favoring mega-pharmaceuticals, the AMA, or any other groups that bribe politicians for legislation which favors their own sectors of this or any other industry.

    The middle-class will run occasional risks of quackery; but most are sufficiently astute to avoid needing the tutelage of supposedly benign enlightened and privileged governmental bureaucrats imposing ever increasing restrictions to ‘protect’ all of us supposedly ignorant underlings.

    And overall, an atmosphere that erodes all presumptive monopolies will encourage greater creativity and lowered costs.

    By the way, see if the following link will open for you. Very interesting.

    https://market-ticker.org/

    Best regards.

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