If You Are Disabled No Canadian Citizenship For You

image According to the Mail Online, the Chapans were forced to return to Wokingham, Berkshire, Britain after spending just 18 days in the land of maple syrup, the maple leaf and lacrosse. It seems that immigration Canada took issue with their daughter Lucy, who has Angelman syndrome.

It seems that the Canadian government is concerned that she will be a burden upon our medical system, however after some research on Angelman which I had never heard of before, it seems that these individuals  function well within society.  The following is from the Aneglman Syndrome Foundation.

Young adults with AS are usually socially adept and respond to most personal cues and interactions.  Because of their interest in people, they establish rewarding friendships and communicate a broad repertoire of feelings and sentiments, enriching their relationship to families and friends. They participate in group activities, household chores and in the activities and responsibilities of daily living.  Like others, they enjoy most recreational activities such as TV, sports, going to the beach, etc.  There is a wide range however in the developmental outcome so that not all individuals with AS attain the above noted skills.  A few will be more impaired in terms of their mental retardation and lack of attention, and this seems especially the case in those with difficult to control seizures or those with extremely pronounced ataxia and movement problems.

Fortunately, most children with AS do not have these severe problems, but even for the less impaired child, inattentiveness and hyperactivity during early childhood often give the impression that profound functional impairment is the only outcome possible.  However, with a secure home and consistent behavioural intervention and stimulation, the AS child begins to overcome these problems and developmental progress occurs.

Even if at this time she were to need access to healthcare which the family denies, her ability to participate in Canadian society does not seem to be an issue for the future.  I think that the problem is that Canada wants bodies that will either add wealth to the country, or are bodies that can be exploited for cheap labour, with minimal investment. Lucy fits none of the aforementioned categories.

She is not a doctor that will be forced to drive a cab because her education is not recognized.  She is not an engineer who will labor as a dishwasher because of prejudice…Yes, most employers want Canadian experience but if you are a new immigrant getting into the field that you have been trained in can be extremely difficult.

It is further problematic to assume that a disabled body does not contribute to society.  Simply because they may not work in fields that we recognize as socially valuable does not mean that the people that they interact with daily are not improved from the association. To limit entrance into Canada in this way is discrimination against people that negotiate disabilities.  We claim to care about the disabled in this country and yet the monthly disability stipend is 900 dollars a month, as I have mentioned in previous posts the average rent in Ontario for a one bedroom apartment in Ontario is 800 dollars per month. This means that if you happen to have a disability in this country unless you can find a way to augment the meagre monthly stipend you are destined for a life of poverty. Yes all of this bounty in Canada the good.  This is yet another example of the ways in which we privilege a social construction (money) over what is truly valuable humanity.

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