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Race is a determinant of health in Canada

Race is a determinant of health in Canada

I point us to a growing body of literature on how social and economic factors influence both the individual’s health as well as the health status of a population. It is the inherent power that controls resources, the physical environment and to shape health policy. Policies relating to social equality are poor cousins to efficiency and reforms that are part of a neoliberal and neoconservative agenda. This understanding of citizenship makes us recognise justice or injustice not only as moral reasoning but as the experiences of social relationships, transnational organisations, and the power of the state. Different patterns of inequality are present in our society with varying degrees of concerns from civil society, those effected or the state. Class, gender and culture are not the only determinants of power. Race also regulates relationships. In understanding health, social status indicators point to disparities that influence the human body. However, change is slow in rectifying the inequalities that lead to illness and early mortality for some in our society.  Every level of government ‘throws’ millions of dollars at various race problems or health crisis like SARS when it occurs in our society with little accountability or an actual action plan. When a crisis takes place in, impoverish neighbourhoods in Canada, the scrutiny of media and the public forces a formal reaction usually tied to funds being available from various levels of government to help solve the crisis without valid input from those affected. The Canadian Press (June 16, 2007) reported that regarding prescription cost there is a widening gap between the wealthy and the have-nots. If we place this as an issue, relating it to justice, it points us to the assumption that everyone in society should have economic resources to meet their basic needs. However, because of structural inequalities, the poor are getting poorer.

Understanding the social determinants of health shows us how to think critically about a better future and to look at the systemic problems and the structural problems that currently exists. Economically, powerful interest groups lobby governments and policies are made in their interest. As we examine the allocation of resources in Canada, we need to consider the lack of power of those groups at the bottom of our social hierarchy. One group furthers their interest by lobbying politicians’ while the other group hears political rhetoric that lacks accountability. Health Canada maintains information on the health of our population. Together with other studies (such as Kawachi et. al., 1997, 1999; Siegler 2003; Rapheal 2004) as well as the latest study on the homeless (Vincent, 2006), we have more than enough data to know if basic societal standards are met. Like all policy issues, we need action, not more studies.

Social justice is achieved when a baby, no matter who takes herhim home, has the same chances in life as the next infant. To a great part, illness, death, health and wellbeing are socially produced and are intertwined with competition for resources. We know from the Toronto Star that the Homeless census found 5,052 individuals in Toronto on the streets. One of the study’s disturbing findings is that the aboriginal community is overrepresented among the homeless. Aboriginals account for about 1 percent of Toronto’s population but comprise 26 percent of the homeless living outdoors. As well, they were also homeless longer, which is five years compared to about three years for the homeless population as a whole. (Vincent, Jun. 24, 2006). I argue the social determinants of health are an effective roadmap to recognise and identify social injustice within our society. When we review this roadmap, we find as in a society that race and racism are left outside the current framework and like society the dominant group controls what should be considered as important within this area of research. This attitude around race and racism leads to a lack of policy initiatives and resources in the field of race and health.

References:

Rapheal, Dennis (2004) “Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives.”  Toronto. Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc.

Vincent, Donovan. (2006) “Homeless Census finds 5, 052 homeless.” The Toronto Star Jun. 24. http://www.thestar.com

 

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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Myanmar / Burma and the Anglo Burmese – who are they?

The year went fast and tweets filled my life. 140 words. Now that I am back researching and working on data  – I feel alive.

Asking all individuals from Burma / Myanmar who are Anglo-Burmans to fill out this survey.

The term Anglo-Burmese refers to Eurasians of European and indigenous peoples of Burma from 1826. This group can be viewed as a distinct community. After 1937, included Anglo-Indian residents in Burma whose children were born in Burma.
The European element included, aside from the English, other European influence, chiefly Greeks, the Dutch, Scandinavians, Irish (who left their country due to the Great Famine), Germans, Austrians, the French, the Portuguese, Italians, and Russians. Armenians, Syrian, Egyptian,s and the Anglo-Indian were also represented among Anglo-Burmans as well as a mix of Baghdadi Jews.
Click on the link below and you can fill out this long 🙂 survey.


Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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The brain drain of the Caribbean trained nurses:

By Derrick Miller Our quiet need:   The role of a nurse is equally important as a good doctor, education, clean criminal record, and a productive safe community. These caretakers and medicine givers are eyes and ears of doctors, from preparing a…

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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How Mainstream Media Fakes The News – Behind The Scenes

“How Mainstream Media Fakes The News – Behind the Scenes” Video Originally Uploaded by Killing Time, Published February 25, 2014. (For more insightful information, please follow the links in the video’s description box.)

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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Canadians need a government who understands guns kill: citizens must vote

Canadians need a government who understands guns kill: citizens must vote

RCMP Constable David Matthew Wynn, 42 is not another person in the news. He is one more law enforcement officer who has been gunned down by a criminal who used a gun freely. There is outcry and focus in the mainstream media as well as in social media. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was the last major incident in 2014 that gripped Canadians. The Harper government wants to bring in laws regarding Canadian  jihadists/terrorist. Does he understands it is guns that kill people as well the  pathologies that plague our society. 

 On-duty police officers can carry handguns as well as Canadian border guards carry side arms as our Firearms Act and Regulations Act in Canada defines who can legally carry them. National Firearms Association of Canada works on trying to change our laws and protecting their membership’s rights with views such as ‘research is clear that arming law-abiding people’. Guns for the sake of protecting are not part of our everyday culture which has it roots in First Nations, the UK and France. Unlike the gun crazy USA and their constitutional right to bear arms, Canada has tried to support a value where guns are  used mostly if “the individual’s principal activity is the handling, transportation or protection of cash, negotiable instruments or other goods of substantial value.” The Harper government passed Bill C-19 and Long gun registration is no longer required except in the province of Quebec. This change in policy could not be stopped in spite of the outcry by women ,Police, Health and Safety Experts .

As I look at today’s sad Wynn family in the news, it is more than having unarmed auxiliary officers, it is more about us. It is also about the flow of illegal guns from the USA, the lack of political will, and removing guns for criminals. As well, allowing any Canadian, age 19 or older who does not have a history of violence, drug trafficking or other habitual criminal behaviour to legally buy and own firearms must be revisited as storage, lending and violence against family members will find holes in this part of our legislation. Arm sales is big business and Canada is a target market when we read that the UN report ‘that Canada ranks third among the developed western countries (behind the United States and Norway) in the civilian ownership of firearms.’ Our society’s social capital, our schools where young people die, and our health as a society pay a price when guns wreak havoc as it has done on Constable Wynn’s family and friends.
Rights legislations are a baseline for establishing values and the social construction of democracy and freedom add to these values. However, with rights comes responsibility. Who is responsible for his unnecessary death? We will all be upset for the next while. The family will always have a missing chair at the table. We, the people must vote for parliamentarians who represent us and ask for less party politics and send more independent candidates to parliament. Staying home and not voting in Canada sends the same actors back to parliament beholden to big business and big donors.

If we want increased control over the availability of weapons in Canada we must try to change social perspectives which allows for our current dysfunctional political system. The  pathology of not voting as viewed as exercising one’s vote. This is a view that needs re-educating. If the citizens of Canada take political  power back by voting, current identity politics, and pandering to large vote rich ethnic groups can be limited. Canada needs a government that listens to all of us, making laws that the majority view as important while protecting minority political and civil rights.  


Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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Why I followed Toronto’s elections

 

The City of Vaughan politics and debates made me drowsy. Few tweets and I vicariously started to back horses via twitter. The involvement was fast on my part as both Ms. Chow and Mr. Tory were seasoned politicians. Ms. Chow lost, Mr. Tory won. “We’ as Doug Ford like to use came in second but was the real looser although the media and Pundits like to point out they were a force. My question starts with what type of force? the Globe and Mail has a take on John Tory as well as Ford Nation. Ford Nation tapped into frustration of those who lack the same privilege that some have in Toronto. Rob Ford has a council seat and we wish him well in his health. FordNation on the other hand is not one that I find comfortable when weeping women compare John Tory Win To ISIS Coming To Toronto.  There was so much going on pre and post election that could make one debate issues on twitter. The only non debate item was the debates themselves. Boring, except for Ari Goldkind who was smart like Chow & Tory but had fresh ideas with his own insights. Watching him live in the only debate I went to by invitation, made me believe that the future is exciting.

The stroking of fears by the Fords instead of building community togetherness is a very negative political tool. Right wing politicians as well as the radical left try to use it to their advantage even if has the came effect as cluster bombs to the brains of their followers. This is the same tool fundamentalist use to promote their way of thinking and as we know incites hate that can lead to killing those they consider ‘the other.’ The killing of Corporal Nathan Cirillo shook Canadians and we must speak out against hate speech not just in a religious setting but also take a look at what Ford Nation is doing to the minds of their followers to obtain power. Even in defeat Doug Ford was ungracious as his little brother. Toronto will now be a little more boring like Vaughan. Perhaps I will have to start looking into our taxes and check out Vaughan city hall. Do we have a map of Vaughan?

It was fun to read the tweets, some made me LOL. Back to my usual followers.

 

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor at York U in Toronto. Equity Studies.

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