News / Edmonton

Edmonton teen wants to debate federal immigration minister

The Edmonton teen who said he was dragged out of a Conservative party event Saturday and then arrested has a challenge for federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

“I want to debate him one-on-one; a 10-minute debate about the issue,” Bashir Mohamed, 17, said Sunday.

Mohamed, who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya and came to Canada in 1997, attended the event at the Alberta Aviation Museum to protest the federal government’s cuts to refugee health care.

“I waited until around the end of his speech, the applause died down and I stood up,” he said. “I couldn’t get past the first sentence when a guy came up … and dragged me out.”

Protesters had gathered outside the museum, as well.

Kenney posted on Twitter Sunday that he shook Mohamed’s hand before his speech.

“But he didn’t ask any question or raise any concerns at that time,” he wrote.

Mohamed, who will begin studying political science at the University of Alberta this fall, said there simply wasn’t time.

The policy, which came into effect July 1, removes access to pharmaceutical, dental and vision coverage for refugees. Announced in April, it is projected to save the government $20 million over five years.

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