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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:48 pm
 


Only in Canada....




$1:
[align=center]The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Friday, February 24, 2006

Cornwall clinic bars anglophone patients
Woman turned away because she can't speak French
Dave Rogers
[/align]
An English-speaking Cornwall-area woman intends to complain to the Ontario Human Rights Commission after being refused treatment at a Cornwall francophone health centre.
Earlier this month, Shirley Ravary, 59, a teacher's aide from St. Andrews West, north of Cornwall, went to see her family doctor at the Centre de sante communautaire de l'Estrie to get treatment for a cold she couldn't shake. But when she went into the clinic, the receptionist told her she couldn't see her regular doctor because she can't speak French.

As far as Mrs. Ravary is concerned, that kind of non-treatment violates her rights. "When I walked into the clinic to see my doctor, the receptionist started talking French and told me I shouldn't be there because I was speaking English," she said yesterday.

It wasn't enough that Mrs. Ravary was having trouble breathing because of a bad cough that had plagued her for weeks, or that her family doctor had recently moved to the clinic.

In telling her to go elsewhere, the receptionist denied she was being discriminated against despite the fact she was refused treatment on the basis of language.

"I said that was discrimination," said Mrs. Ravary, "but she declared it wasn't and I could see my doctor at his (other) office. But he is there only on Thursday nights and Friday and I was at the clinic on a Tuesday. The director, Marc Bisson, told me that the clinic was there so francophones could get the best health treatment possible."

The Estrie community health centre is not a walk-in clinic. Like others in Ontario, it provides primary health care to a "target population" the government considers to be underserved.

Such centres typically offer nutrition advice, prenatal care, weight, stress and "foot" management, abortion counselling, mental health treatment and medical care to recent immigrants, homeless people and minorities who have trouble getting health care.

Mrs. Ravary said Mr. Bisson, the clinic director, insisted that the health centre's refusal to treat her was a matter of policy, not discrimination.

That view was echoed by Health Minister George Smitherman, who said this week there was nothing wrong with the way Mrs. Ravary was treated because her case wasn't urgent.

Mrs. Ravary questioned how the minister would know what was wrong with her.

"Mr. Smitherman doesn't even know what condition I was in because nobody looked at me. I didn't walk in to cause trouble -- I was there because my doctor was there."

She also said her rejection could not be based on any claim the clinic was too busy, since there were only five people in the waiting room when she arrived. In any case, the only reason she was given was her inability to speak French.

Marcel Ravary, Mrs. Ravary's husband, said Mr. Bisson at first told him he couldn't use the clinic because his wife is English-speaking, but Mr. Bisson later relented.

Mr. Bisson said this week that Mrs. Ravary could have received treatment if she had attended the clinic with her husband.

That's not good enough as far as Mrs. Ravary is concerned.

"We all pay taxes for this clinic so everybody should have access to it," she said. "I want this clinic changed so everybody can see a doctor, no matter what language they speak."

She emphasized that her remarks should not be viewed as anti-francophone. "My husband is French, so I have nothing against French-speaking people. I just object to the discrimination because I can't speak French. Why should an elite group of people have access to health care while others are denied?"

After she was turned away from the francophone community health centre, Mrs. Ravary went to a walk-in clinic and was prescribed a puffer so she could breathe more easily.

Her experience isn't unique. Veronika Pelletier, a Cornwall resident, said she had a similar experience when she took her 14-year-old son to the health centre several years ago.

Ms. Pelletier said she spoke French to a nurse at the clinic, but when staff noticed that she was speaking English to her son, they told her not to return.

"I lived in Rouyn-Noranda for years and I speak French, but I knew nothing about the politics here," Ms. Pelletier said. "The doctor spoke English to us and the service was good, but when I tried to go back again, they told me the health centre was for French-speaking people only.

"No one said anything to me the first time I was there, but I guess they noticed I was speaking English to my son. Then they sent me a letter saying they were going to close my file."

Mrs. Pelletier said she later found a doctor who comes from Quebec, speaks French and English, and "doesn't discriminate against people because of their language."

In Ontario, human rights legislation stipulates that every person has a right to equal treatment without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap.

But Jeff Poirier, a spokesman for the Ontario Human Rights Commission, said language alone is not grounds for a human rights complaint.

However, he said that everyone has the right to make a complaint and the commission considers each complainant's circumstances.

Meanwhile, David Spencer, a spokesman for Mr. Smitherman, said the clinic's refusal to see Mrs. Ravary was justified because it is a community health centre.

"This is not a typical clinic or doctor's office," Mr. Spencer said. "It is a community organization that offers health care to a specific population that has had difficulty receiving health services.

"This centre is focused on the francophone population. Without it, access to primary health care in French would be extremely difficult for most francophones in Cornwall.

"It is not discrimination where you set up a community health centre to serve the needs of the homeless, and I don't see this case as discrimination, but this is something lawyers will have to settle."

Cornwall Councillor Mark MacDonald questioned that position. He said he went to the health centre in May 2004 and when he identified himself as a city politician, centre employees told him they treat English-speaking patients.

He said he visited the centre because the group that runs it wanted a city grant for a study into the need for a proposed anglophone clinic.

Mr. MacDonald said he now suspects that the answers he received were not the truth, and he wants an investigation.

"I think the Ministry of Health should look into this and there should be a federal government investigation to see whether there was a violation of our basic human rights.

"Thirty per cent of the population here is French-speaking, but that doesn't mean that somebody who is English should not be served."

On its website, the Association of Ontario Health Centres, of which the Cornwall clinic is a member, says: "Our care model is highly effective for all Ontarians. At the same time, it is a resource for people who encounter a diverse range of access barriers such as language, literacy, poverty and geography.

"It also works for those with other social-cultural barriers and who are at high risk for developing health problems."

© The Ottawa Citizen 2006


http://www.canada.com/ottawa/story.html ... 3a&k=59971


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 6:59 pm
 


Let me get this straight. We fund millions of dollars to francophone services outside Quebec so they can tell english speaking people to F-off because they don't or won't speak french in a predominately english speaking province? You're right, only in Canada would that happen.

Funny how when francophones complain when they can't get services in french it's automatic discrimination but when english speakers do....."sorry chump, thats Canada".


Last edited by Tman1 on Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:01 pm
 


I agree with you guys, but there's already a thread about this. It's under the title "Get sick and die eeenglish" on the Improve Canada thread.

It's up to about 9 pages now, and there's only one head case whose defended the French clinic's decision.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:04 pm
 


$1:
"It is not discrimination where you set up a community health centre to serve the needs of the homeless, and I don't see this case as discrimination, but this is something lawyers will have to settle."



Wow, comparing the 'special needs' of the french to those of the homeless...


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:07 pm
 


Tman1 Tman1:
Funny how when francophones complain when they can't get services in french it's automatic discrimination but when english speakers do....."sorry chump, thats Canada".


Is this the fault of all the francophones, or just the fault of one person?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 8:13 pm
 


QuebecSpock QuebecSpock:
Tman1 Tman1:
Funny how when francophones complain when they can't get services in french it's automatic discrimination but when english speakers do....."sorry chump, thats Canada".


Is this the fault of all the francophones, or just the fault of one person?

It's a generalization and applies to whoever is complaining.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:21 pm
 


Motorcycleboy Motorcycleboy:
I agree with you guys, but there's already a thread about this. It's under the title "Get sick and die eeenglish" on the Improve Canada thread.

It's up to about 9 pages now, and there's only one head case whose defended the French clinic's decision.


woops,
thx Ill check out the other thread.
Mods feel free to lock, del etc.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:33 pm
 


I dont recall the article stated being this lengthy though...maybe I just missed the article and just read the synopsis though....says alot more about the issue and it is an absolute joke in my mind....not very public public health care in the clinic.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:40 pm
 


This article is completely different, and much less one-sided than the other article......

The article in the other thread made it seem like the clinic had done something wrong....... :wink: :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 9:50 pm
 


VitaminC VitaminC:
The article in the other thread made it seem like the clinic had done something wrong.......


$1:
Ms. Pelletier said she spoke French to a nurse at the clinic, but when staff noticed that she was speaking English to her son, they told her not to return.

"I lived in Rouyn-Noranda for years and I speak French, but I knew nothing about the politics here," Ms. Pelletier said. "The doctor spoke English to us and the service was good, but when I tried to go back again, they told me the health centre was for French-speaking people only.

"No one said anything to me the first time I was there, but I guess they noticed I was speaking English to my son. Then they sent me a letter saying they were going to close my file."

Mrs. Pelletier said she later found a doctor who comes from Quebec, speaks French and English, and "doesn't discriminate against people because of their language."


You can't make this seem like it's anything but wrong.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:04 pm
 


No doubt, I just dont see the justification in this. I do not for the life of me see how one can agree with this matter. I mean, seriously here. Imagine health clinics across Canada designed for certain people. You walk in..."can I see your english only speaking card please?" "Oh, I left it at home.." "ohh sorry, no service for you, we only serve the english here."

Or how about "Ohh your skin is to dark, please leave, we dont serve your kind here"

How is any of that any different? Or how the hell would we even tolerate or function in circumstances like that? If you walk into a clinic funded by PUBLIC money, you should be served no MATTER what language race or whatever the hell else you want to throw at this.

It is driscrimination plain and simple. For no other reason than the fact that she was refused service based on language alone. It aint right and I hope she brings it to court and I sure as hell hope they agree. (with me that is :))


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:43 pm
 


what's next, a medical clinic for chinese or pakistani speaking canadians only?
that clinic should either open itself to all canadians or be shut off from any public money and closed down


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:30 pm
 


Can you imagine the headlines and cries for separation if it was the other way around?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:53 pm
 


I encourage you all to read my teachings in the other thread on this topic. Alas, I don't have the energy to repeat them here.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:54 pm
 


Teachings? A bit arrogant, no?


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