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Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Monstrous Ebola Scandal

A few days ago I pointed out that Stephen Harper was trying to fan the flames of an Ebola panic.Even though his response to the epidemic has been lethally inadequate. And far from making us safer he has been decimating the ranks of those who would protect us from dangerous diseases.But this is simply obscene. Read more »

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Alberta politics this week: Health Ministers, By-Elections and Troubled Waters Ahead

TweetBANFF – Stepping onto the national stage for the first time since he was appointed as Alberta’s Minister of Health, Stephen Mandel met with his provincial and federal counterparts this week in Banff for the annual Health Ministers meeting. Mr. Mandel co-chaired the meeting, a role his predecessor, Fred Horne, had planned to fill. The ministers are said […]

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 and potentially life-threatening negligence in overseeing drug safety, Health Minister Rona Ambrose, has finally acted: Health Canada has banned the import of all drugs and drug ingredients made by two Apotex factories in Bangalore, India, with Health Minister Rona Ambrose saying Tuesday (Read more…)

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 Star, Amir Attaran thinks he might have a solution to this sorry state of affairs. The professor in the Faculty of Law and faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa asks, should we reduce, or nearly abolish, Health Canada’s drug regulatory functions? Could we (Read more…)

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 health that are aided and abetted by Health Canada and Health Minister Rona Ambrose, thanks to a larger media, including the CBC, that have given the scandal absolutely no coverage.

Despite the investigative series conducted by the paper and an excoriating editorial, the only (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Star Readers Respond To Health Canada’s Fecklessness

While “Let them swallow tainted pharmaceuticals” seems to be the motto of both Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Health Canada, always-vigilant Star readers take issue with such deference to the corporate agenda. Here is just a small sampling of their reactions:

Good thing we have the FDA and the Star to look after our best interests with regards to clinical drug trials. Health Canada appears to just run diversion tactics for the medical profession and big pharma.

Richard Kadziewicz, Scarborough

I really appreciate all of the hard work that David Bruser and Jesse McLean are doing to enlighten and (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Tainted Pharmaceuticals: Health Canada’s ‘Feeble Response’

The Toronto Star has recently been conducting some fine investigative work on tainted pharmaceuticals and the fact that Health Canada has been shielding the guilty companies from public scrutiny. The issue finally rose to a degree of national prominence this week when the issue was raised in the House. The ‘answers’ provided by Health Minister Rona Ambrose, however, were hardly comforting or reassuring. The bolded parts have been added for emphasis: “Whenever there is a dangerous product identified, Health Canada inspectors act immediately. In the case of a drug produced by Apotex, Health Canada inspectors asked the company to (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: More Indifference From Health Canada’s Towards Canadians’ Health

Health Minister Rona Ambrose really has no reason to smile.

Last week, based on a Star Investigation, I outlined the shocking incompetence, indifference and completely unacceptable secrecy within Health Canada that allows for tainted, ineffective, and dangerous drugs to be sold regularly to Canadians. It was only because of the transparency of the American Federal Drug Administration that The Star was able to uncover this wholly unacceptable and outrageous state of affairs.

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.

Continuing its investigation, The Star has uncovered, thanks to the FDA database and freedom of information requests that were answered fully (Read more…)

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 you with the details, but common initial reactions were denial that any offence had occurred, (“I have no idea what you are talking about”), and when that failed, anger that I would harbour such unfounded and unworthy suspicions (“I am really hurt that you would (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Reefer Madness and the Corruption of Rona Ambrose

Well it could have been just another day in the glamorous life of Rona Ambrose Health Minister. Serving the public, like an Angel of Mercy, and servicing Stephen Harper, like the Angel of Death.Not necessarily in that order. But then she blew it. Again. By trying to make the country's doctors believe that the Con cult's massive tax payer funded anti-marijuana ad campaign wasn't blatantly political.

Read more »

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Parties gear up for federal election 2015 – Alberta nominations update

TweetAside from recent updates about Kent Hehr running in Calgary-Centre and Darshan Kang running in Calgary-Skyview, it has been a while since I have published an update to accompany the list of candidate nominations for the next federal election, expected to be held in 2015. So, without further ado, let me present you the latest update: The Lethbridge -> Medicine […]

Montreal Simon: The Con Regime and the Honey Bee Apocalypse

In the garden of a waterfront theatre not far from where I live, there is a little band of bees.

They've been there for years, and time and the elements have taken their toll. Their colours have faded a little and some of their wings have fallen off.

But they're still in better shape than many of the real bees, who are being killed by human greed.

Because now it's official, they are being poisoned by pesticides.Read more »

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Big names running for federal party nominations in Alberta

TweetThere has been plenty of activity this week as candidates from all political parties put forward their names to run in Canada’s next federal election, scheduled to be held in October 2015. Wooing voters and potential candidates alike, both New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau travelled through Alberta this week. […]

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Scramble for federal nominations begins in Alberta

TweetIt’s a fight – or at least it could be if two southern Alberta Conservative Members of Parliament seek their party’s nomination in the same riding. Boundary changes in the next federal election will mean that Lethbridge Conservative MP Jim Hillier will find himself living within the boundaries of the new Medicine Hat riding. Mr. Hillyer has already announced […]

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 the press.

I have often stated in this blog that I am both proud and pleased to subscribe to The Toronto Star, given the integrity of its work and the fact that many of its investigations have resulted in change at both the local and (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Conservatives: Punish, Punish, Punish

Canada’s Harper Government once again revealed the ugly side of its views this past week.

First up, we have the Harper Government axing the pittance that inmates are paid for their labour while in prison.

The government began deducting the money from prisoners’ paycheques as part of a move to recover costs under the federal government’s Deficit Reduction Action Plan. The move was first announced in May 2012 by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. Until now, the top pay an inmate could earn was $6.90 a day, but only a small percentage of inmates received that. The average is $3 a day.

This is (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Why Leona Aglukkaq Must Be Fired Immediately

OMG. You'd think she would do better. You'd think she would live up to the honour of being the first Inuk appointed to a federal cabinet. You'd think she would do all she could to help and protect the people who live in the arctic from the devastating effects of climate change. Her people.But no, Leona Aglukkaq is no Minister of the Environment. She's just another shabby Con climate change denier. Read more »

Montreal Simon: When the Cons Start Attacking Themselves

Well I suppose it was inevitable. The Cons have spent their years in power attacking others like rabid hyenas. It's the only thing they know how to do eh? So now that they're in trouble, and Stephen Harper is crazy desperate, I'm really not surprised that they've started attacking themselves. Read more »

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Legalize It, Control It

One of the most devastating problems that our society faces is that of addiction.  Whether that is to tobacco, alcohol or narcotics – any substance addiction can have long term consequences for the addict, those around them and society at large.

Smoking is known to cause cancers, alcoholics can destroy their families and careers, and drug addicts become pariahs of society.

Tobacco is not illegal in this country, but it is highly regulated and among the most heavily taxed of all products out there.  Over the course of my own lifetime, I have seen smoking go from common and nearly (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Rona Ambrose, and the Con War on the Sick

Well I see it didn't take long for the new/nouveau Con Health Minister Rona Ambrose to show her true colours. Health Minister Rona Ambrose is slamming her own department's decision to provide heroin to certain addicts under a special access program and insisting it won't be allowed to happen again. "Our government takes seriously the harm caused by dangerous and addictive drugs," Ambrose said. "These drugs tear families apart, promote criminal behaviour, and destroy lives.By suggesting that doctors are acting like drug dealers.Read more »

Calgary Grit: Oh my God – they shuffled Kenney! Those Bastards!

New Title, Same Job

The much-hyped Cabinet shuffle was about what you’d expect: retiring Ministers swept aside, talented backbenchers and Pierre Poilievre promoted, and a few big names swapping portfolios to give them a fresh start.

The opposition will argue this is very much the same government as before, and they’re right – but that’s the point. Voters elected a Stephen Harper government two years ago and they’re going to get a Stephen Harper government until the man retires or is defeated. Most Canadians didn’t know who the Minister of Justice was before the shuffle, so no one is going (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: How Brent Rathgeber changed Edmontons political map and why the Tories might like it

TweetEdmonton-St. Albert MP Brent Rathgeber unleashed a political storm last night when he announced on Twitter that he is leaving the Conservative Party of Canada caucus. Initially citing a “a lack of commitment to transparency and open government,” he expanded his criticisms to the control Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s office exercises over backbench MPs as interfering with [...]

Cowichan Conversations: Canada-We Are Being Governed By Thugs in Suits

Richard ‘Hub’ Hughes- Political Blogger

Canada has changed and is still changing before our very eyes. We are being governed by ‘thugs in suits’ and we are going downhill at an alarming rate.

Who will stop them?

Well the NDP and Liberal’s are trying, but of course joining forces to derail Harper and take Canada back seems not to be as enticing as pretending that one or the other could become PM one day.

Their ‘Canada can wait policy’ is worrisome and could play into the Harper crowds hands.

Well in any case it seems as though ‘Harper and his Wrecking (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Flying Gong Show

Holy Mayan prophesy. I think I now know how the Con regime is going to end eh? Not with a bang but a whimper. With acts of sheer folly, and howls of laughter.For there was Stephen Harper today, in the Con circus that was once our Parliament, accusing the NDP of being a "gong show."Read more »

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the F-35 Debacle

Oh no. Tora, Tora, Tora !!!!!!I mean… Mayday, Mayday, Mayday !!!!!It looks as if Stephen Harper's plans for Total World Domination, have come crashing down to earth.Read more »