Letters and Comments, Jan. 23

Winnipeg Free Press, January 23, 2018 | Go to article overview

Letters and Comments, Jan. 23


Immigration laws must be fair

Re: Still in limbo: Manitoba Mennonites demand feds close citizenship loophole (Jan. 18)

As a long-standing immigrant and resident in Canada, with Canadian citizenship which I value and cherish, I was appalled to read about Susie Kehler, a Mennonite born in Mexico, but who has lived in Canada since she was five months old and is now found to have lost her Canadian citizenship.

Kehler has as much right to live in this country as the people who routinely cross our border without any papers. In fact, she has more right, since she had a citizenship card which is now out of date because she did not know she had to take further steps to get it updated and revalidated.

Mennonites tend to be law-abiding people. As such, they could help their community if they would regularly take steps to ensure their members know of and act on sometimes-arcane Canadian residency regulations. And, our immigration laws should be formulated and applied fairly, consistently and democratically, as is only to be expected in a country like ours.

Irwin R. Mark

Winnipeg

Evidence over ideology

Re: Manitoba’s health-care blind spot (Jan. 10)

Dr. Jim Silver correctly highlighted the overwhelming evidence from many perspectives that socio-economic factors, most notably poverty, are the primary determinants of population health. Poor people are unhealthy, physically and mentally, in direct proportion to their level of deprivation.

With equal certainty, he could have added that socio-economic factors are the primary drivers of every widespread societal problem, from crime to child abuse to low workforce participation.

Silver also correctly highlighted that the current provincial government’s actions related to reorganization of health-care services, almost all of which narrowly treat existing illness, almost certainly will do nothing to enhance population health and may even harm sick poor people by reducing already-scarce resources in the public system.

Conservative ideology holds that, collectively, poor people are flawed in character and morals, and thus are undeserving of anything more than the minimal help necessary to keep their suffering off the conscience of more deserving, wealthy citizens. Until the fundamental beliefs and attitudes that underlie this destructive ideology are rejected, none of the steps proven effective in enhancing the health of our most vulnerable citizens will be implemented.

Bruce Tefft

Winnipeg

The Manitoba Psychological Society wishes to support the opinions advanced by Dr. Jim Silver regarding the importance of considering social determinants of health. Indeed, the well-documented impact of socio-economic factors on health extends not only to physical health, but also to mental health. Poverty has a wide-reaching and often underappreciated impact on a range of mental health outcomes, including but not limited to depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

Conversely, mental health can be improved significantly by addressing basic human needs such as affordable housing, education and access to social services. Addressing these social inequalities, at all stages of development, is critical to reducing the risk and impact of mental disorders. Early, preventive interventions to address social inequalities in these areas will go a long way toward addressing mental illness and, in time, will likely reduce the need for treatment of severe and chronic mental illness.

Further, as psychologists, we agree with the stance that effective policies must be based on research evidence, rather than political ideology. Indeed, efforts to make changes to address socio-economic disparities can potentially have tremendous positive impacts on the mental health of Manitobans as well as on the health-care system as a whole. …

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