A. Picazo: On Homeopathy, Health Canada Must End The Double Standard

This column appeared on the CBC on December 11, 2016. Until recently, homeopathic remedies sold in the United States enjoyed many of the same privileges — including the freedom to claim they could treat or cure specific ailments or diseases — as real, science-based medicine. The difference? Peddlers of homeopathy weren’t required to provide the ...

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading. – Caroline Plante reports on Quebec’s scourge of medical extra-billing and user fees (as identified by its own Auditor General). And Aaron Derfel notes that the federal government has done nothing to apply the Canada Health Act to rein in the practice. – Erika Shaker highlights how federal funding ...

Bill Longstaff: Health Canada—another Conservative mouthpiece?

The Conservatives have started early on their advertising campaign for the upcoming election. We are, for example, being told ad nauseam that Justin Trudeau isn’t ready. With their large war chest, the Conservatives can afford to lay it on thick. But they’re not only relying on their own funds, they are also relying on ours. ...

Politics and its Discontents: I’m Outraged Over Her Outrage

Playing to her party’s base, Health Minister Rona Ambrose yesterday expressed “outrage” over the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to make it legal for medical marijuana users to ingest their pot in any manner they see fit, be it oils, tinctures, cookies, or brownies. Given her well-demonstrated ineptitude in ensuring that Health Canada protect the health ...

Trashy's World: “Natural” remedies

Check out this exposeé done by CBC’s Marketplace. Turns out the show’s producers “invented” a natural children’s remedy claiming to help bring down fevers. They submitted an application to have this approved by Health Canada. No scientific testing. No quantitative evidence whatsoever that it actually worked. And all totally bogus. And guess what? It was ...

Cowichan Conversations: Code of Silence Surrounding Canada’s Health Care System

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger Canada’s healthcare system was once a matter of national pride. It was a reassuring to know that the best care possible was available regardless of the patience financial circumstances. During the Stephen Harper reign funding has been reduced dramatically and the stresses on the system has compromised service and treatments available. Further ...

Politics and its Discontents: Health Canada Fails Us Yet Again

On this blog I have frequently extolled the fine investigative journalism practised by The Toronto Star. Whether on issues of municipal, provincial, or federal significance, The Star, as it frequently proclaims, “gets action.” From the standpoint of average Canadians, probably one of its most important investigations in recent times has been into Health Canada and ...

The Disaffected Lib: If It Scares Canadians, It’s Manna from Heaven for the Tories

Manipulating the public with carefully tailored fear is despicable.  It’s also the entire first chapter in Stephen Harper’s playbook.  He’s been incredibly successful in using fear as a weapon to motivate his own political base from the outset. If you own a working television set chances are you’ve seen the Harper government’s anti-marijuana ad.  It’s ...

Politics and its Discontents: My CBC Letter Of Complaint

Although probably a futile effort, here is the letter of complaint that I have sent to the CBC ombudsman, The National, and CBC Audience Feedback regarding the Corporation’s absolute failure to keep Canadians informed about the Health Canada’s unwillingness to protect Canadians from tainted pharmaceuticals: To Whom It May Concern: I am writing to complain ...

Politics and its Discontents: It’s Why I Subscribe

To borrow a line from one of my favourite Shakespearean plays, Macbeth, “So fair and foul a day I have not seen.” It is fair because the newspaper I subscribe to and heartily endorse, The Toronto Star, has achieved a victory whose significance cannot be overestimated. Thanks to its investigative series into Health Canada’s scandalous ...

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading. – Paul Verhaege discusses how unchecked capitalism is changing our personality traits for the worse: There are certain ideal characteristics needed to make a career today. The first is articulateness, the aim being to win over as many people as possible. Contact can be superficial, but since this ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Possible Soution To Health Canada’s Willful Impotence

Yesterday I wrote about the fact that Health Canada has ‘convinced’ (not ordered) Apotex to stop importing drugs from one of its suspect plants in Bangalore, India. The agency’s (and Health Minister Rona Ambrose’s) ongoing timid relationship with pharmaceuticals at the expense of our health and safety suggests stronger measures are needed Writing in The ...

Politics and its Discontents: Health Canada’s Willful Impotence on Tainted Pharmaceuticals

As I have written previously, the scandal of tainted pharmaceuticals continues, and that which should provoke outrage and demands for accountability seems to elicit for the most part only shrugs and mild interest. And were it not for the Toronto Star’s ongoing quest, most of us would be totally unaware of the threats to our ...

OPSEU Diablogue: Tainted reminds us why we should never forget Canada’s greatest public health disaster

It’s been more than two years since we said goodbye to the staff and donors of Canadian Blood Services’ Thunder Bay plasma collection centre. October 30 we will be returning there again as part of a unique cross-province campaign to … Continue reading →

Politics and its Discontents: Pros and Cons

Following up on Rona Ambrose’s stout denial that the government’s planned anti-marijuana campaign has anything to do with trying to undermine Justin Trudeau, along with Canadian doctors refusing to be part of a campaign that has become, as they describe it, political messaging, here are the perspectives of two National Post readers: Re: Health Canada ...

Politics and its Discontents: Denial And Outrage

During my teaching career, it was occasionally my unpleasant task to confront a student with evidence of his or her cheating; most situations revolved around plagiarizing essays or having skipped a test. The student’s responses when confronted were invariably the same; indeed, they tended to parallel Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief. I won’t bore ...

reeves report: New evidence of Triclosan toxicity

Hand soaps containing triclosan and triclocarban. (Andrew Reeves/Reeves Report) OTTAWA KNOWS that a common ingredient in antibacterial soaps is posing acute and chronic problems for human health and freshwater ecosystems but has done nothing to ban triclosan, according to environmental and consumer advocates. But now there’s even more evidence against the toxin. The Canadian Environmental Law ...

Politics and its Discontents: Slamming Harper Secrecy

The Toronto Star recently revealed the following: Health Canada is keeping secret the vast majority of the drug reviews it conducts despite a clear promise from the federal minister to publish this critical safety information. Only 24 of 152 drug reviews completed last year by Health Canada are being considered for public release, the Toronto ...

Alberta Diary: What happens now that we know there really is a cancer cluster in Fort Chip? Nothing?

Greenpeace Canada info-graphic showing connections among the far-right Conservative Party of Canada activists behind the so-called Ethical Oil Institute. Below: Dr. James Talbot; Dr. John O’Connor; Ezra Levant. Alberta’s chief medical officer has now confirmed that statistics released a couple of weeks ago indicate there really is a cancer cluster in Fort Chipewyan, a predominantly ...

Politics and its Discontents: A Debt Owed To The Media

As fashionable as it is to denigrate the mainstream media for their frequent timidity and conservatism, public knowledge about both Rob Ford’s disgraceful performance as Mayor of Toronto and the current Senate scandal embroiling Stephen Harper, impeaching the integrity and honesty of both politicians, would not exist were it not for a diligent media, especially ...

OPSEU Diablogue: Health Canada tells us to take a hike as Russia moves to prohibit paid blood donations

Heavens – even Russia is more sensible than Canada when it comes to paid blood donations. As Health Canada takes a pause and organizes a roundtable on the issue in Toronto next week (of which we weren’t invited), Russia is … Continue reading →

Politics and its Discontents: Medical Marijuana – Part 2

The other day I wrote a post suggesting that policy formulation in the Harper government is conducted not in the measured and studied way most governments employ, but rather more than anything else from a knee-jerk ideological orientation. This is apparent most recently in Health Canada’s decision to license private farms to grow medical marijuana, ...

Politics and its Discontents: Industry Self-Regulation – An Update

Yesterday I wrote a post about the plight of Ryan Harrington, the young man who, were it not for a drug called Celontin, would suffer upwards of 200 seizures a day. Because the Harper regime opted for a voluntary instead of a mandatory requirement for companies to report drug shortages, Harrington had only a one-week ...

Politics and its Discontents: Industry ‘Self-Regulation’

In a world rife with the environmental, economic and social consequences of unfettered capitalism, the term ‘industry self-regulation’ has always struck me as little more than a oxymoron. Examples abound of what happens when government regulatory agencies enter into what turn out to be Faustian bargains with the corporate sector, the sad case of XL ...

The Disaffected Lib: Because Helping Canadians Stay Healthy is No Business of the Minister of Health

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq seems strangely disinterested in keeping Canadians healthy.   She has rejected the advice of her own advisory panel of food experts to renew monitoring of trans-fat levels in processed food.   Food experts informed the minister that monitoring trans-fat levels would be a net benefit to Canadian society worth about $9-billion. In the ...