Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Odd Coincidence

Since my first Sending Concerns post  about how gender reassignment surgery had been removed from Canadian prisons, I've been eagerly awaiting a response to my e-mails, hoping for some enlightenment on the specific procedure of how an MP may override what a federal court says, and hopefully also some information on why this was deemed not an essential medical service, when only four offenders have tried to get the surgery since 2008. This is clearly not a major drain on the taxpayer, plus it helps any transgender offenders that get the surgery be housed with their gender, reintegrate back into society better, and be less prone to abuse.

Now, I have been e-mailing Victor Toews about this on and off since that initial e-mail on November 29th. I sent a follow-up on the third of December, which got a reply on the same day from Cheri Elliott, an Executive Assistant from his office, saying that they had indeed gotten my e-mail,  and that it had been forwarded to Public Safety to be investigated. Then, on the 14th of December, after no further contact, I sent another e-mail making sure that my inquiry was still being looked into and would be answered. Then on the second of January, I sent another e-mail asking the same thing in different words, and restating what I was interested in finding out. Then on the 6th I sent an e-mail to the office of Lois Brown, the MP for Newmarket-Aurora, where I'm a constituent, inquiring about the issue, hoping that perhaps her office might shed light on the issue. On the 6th I also tried to phone two of Mr. Toews' offices and got no answer at either. And then, today, the 12th, I contacted his constituency office in Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba, and was given the advice to try a slightly different e-mail, and sent yet another e-mail, with the same text as the e-mail I sent on the second.

Also, though, when speaking to the member of Mr. Toews' office, whose name I unfortunately do not know, I let him know that the website,, was down, as I hadn't been able to access it at my parents home during the break, or at my apartment once I was back, both places I had e-mailed his office from. He said he would look at it, and thanked me for letting him know. The e-mail I sent didn't go through, and I phoned the office back, getting the same guy again. He corrected the e-mail, as I'd wrongly put a period where one should not have been, and let me know that there was apparently nothing wrong with the website. I tried it again, and it did not work. Thanking him for the e-mail, I wondered if perhaps it was just this area.

So I phoned some friends, and facebooked some friends, and asked them to do me the small favour of typing in the URL to see if they could access his webpage. And everyone but two could do so. My room mate, who has the same IP and internet as me, and my father, who has the internet I use when I am home on break.

It's just such a strange thing, as I distinctly remember accessing the website when I first looked up Vic Toews when doing some research on the issue before e-mailing him. I even voted on a poll that was on the home page. I'm not very good at technology, so I can only wonder how this inability to go to the Minister of Public Safety's website has happened in both of the places where I have emailed my concerns to Minister Vic Toews about the decision to cease funding to the gender reassignment surgery, and asked about how come once the federal court has made a decision such as this, that an MP have so little official procedure to do something against the ruling.

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