A Look Back at 2008

International Developments, Revelations, and Challenges to Come in Canada

“Work on what has been spoiled has supreme success.” ~ I Ching, Hexagram 18 (Chinese Book of Change – circa 5,000 years BCE)

For medicine, 2008 brought some true progress, astonishing revelations, and the initiation of huge challenges for 2009. It’s easy to lament the fact that medical politics continues to reveal corruption, and that standard medicine continues to lumber on in a fog of prejudice to the drumbeat of dogmas. But replacing our laments with effective change requires stepping up to the plate.

The ancient Chinese got it right with the insight that success comes not from seeking perfection, but from engaging with what is spoiled, harmed, injured, broken and truly in need of the creative imagination of the human mind.


  • Evidence for true progress came this year from official recognition of Gulf War Syndrome, thereby defeating the US government’s two decade long attempt to discredit this illness, which ruined the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers. In fact, GWS is an extreme form of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, also recognized last year by Canada’s Human Rights Court, caused primarily by certain pesticides and pyridostigmine bromide. These were used in the first Gulf War, generally without the soldiers’ knowledge, in the misguided attempt to protect them against the nerve gas they were expected to encounter in Iraq – a lethal weapon of mass destruction made in US biochemical warfare labs (contrary to international treaties forbidding its development) and sold to Saddam Hussein when he was still a useful ally. The 400-page report produced by Boston University’s School of Public Health, released November 17, is a condemnation of government policy, FDA collusion, medical ineptitude, and a soaring endorsement of first-rate science that provided the truth about this condition and how to treat it effectively (https://sph.bu.edu/insider/racreport).
  • Mercury amalgam, which became illegal in the 19th century yet mysteriously went into general use after World War II, ruining the immune systems of millions, has finally been declared illegal in three countries (Norway, Sweden and Denmark) with inescapable legal implications throughout the European Union and the rest of the world. Mercury amalgam started to be phased out in many countries more than a decade ago.  In the Netherlands, corpses cannot be cremated or buried unless silver-filled teeth are removed first to avoid mercury vapour escaping into the environment. In North America, more than 50% of all dentists (the enlightened ones) no longer use it. In June, even the EPA and the FDA acknowledged it to be a serious neurotoxin.
  • The US National Academy of Sciences published a report in October that “Vitamin C slows cancer growth” and recognized that there is plenty of research to show that injected high dose vitamin C starts a “destructive chain reaction within the cancer cell” and that its therapeutic use has shown to “significantly decrease growth rates of ovarian, pancreatic, and malignant brain tumours in mice”; they share the same enzyme system with humans, and are therefore diagnostically significant. Good heavens! We might live long enough to see our cancer hospitals use the Gerson Therapy –  with deadly results for the Cancer Industry and cures at last for patients.
  • The University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center announced that vitamin E levels make all the difference in human susceptibility to lung cancer; high blood serum levels of E reduced the risk of lung cancer by 61%.
  • Having warned so many people against vaccines, especially the ‘flu shot, I was  most gratified to learn that even the venerable British Medical Journal, the Archives of Internal Medicine, and the Lancet no longer think it works; they observed that its use has no beneficial effects at all, especially not for elderly people. No less than 11,000 serious adverse events, including deaths, were reported to the FDA for the ‘flu vaccine in just one year.
  • Mainstream medicine made a significant discovery in the field of antibiotic resistance.  So-called “superbugs” are resistant even to the drug of last resort, Vancomycin. But Rockefeller University developed a new antibiotic called Cefto-biprole which knocked out even the most resistant bacterial strains (Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, August 2008).  Let us hope and pray this drug is not too harmful to the liver and won’t be used preventively in food-producing animals which would likely make it, too, useless over time.  Bacteria have so far outsmarted all human efforts, as Dr. Shiv Chopra describes in his fabulous new book, Corrupt to the Core.
  • Canada’s Supreme Court did us proud once again with a November ruling against polluters who justify their behaviour by insisting they are in compliance with whatever the government pretends are regulations. Some 2,000 Quebec City residents fought for several decades to stop St. Lawrence Cement Inc. from destroying their air quality with toxic dust. Polluters must pay, said our top judges, based on the effect of that pollution on the victim, “rather than on the conduct of the person who caused them.” Holy smokes! Results finally matter. This is an earthquake. Humanity may perhaps become the measure of all things at last. I am looking forward to many more polluters being made to face the fact that human health takes precedence over corporate convenience.
  • In the same spirit, California passed legislation (AB 541) in September which protects farmers against damages caused by genetic pollution from GE crops.  Now crop companies will be liable for whatever damage their weird sci-fi stuff causes to natural plants and people. “Monsanto [and other GE companies] – not farmers – is legally responsible for the economic, environmental, and health harms caused by their patented and uncontrollable products”, observed Renate Brillinger, the director of the Genetic Engineering Policy Project that initiated this legislation. Meanwhile, in Nelson, BC, residents declared their area GE free in November (www.gefreebc.org). How about the GTA – or the whole of Canada – starting the same in 2009?
  • The High Court in the UK ordered the British government to make the health needs of people the top priority when faced with pesticides and found the UK policies governing these inadequate and scientifically insupportable. This momentous decision, which government cannot ignore, was launched by one woman, Georgina Downs of Chichester in West Sussex.  She became ill from pesticides and now has the highest court agree with her that “the government acted unlawfully and that the health of humans is not being protected”, as required by constitutional law.
  • If you are giving anybody a cell phone for Christmas, think about this one: the European Parliament recently voted 522 to 16 to urge member countries to “impose stricter limits for exposure to radiation from mobile and cordless phones” because brain cancer rates have now been clearly linked to their use, especially in children. Go to the website of Prevent Cancer Now and learn more. (www.preventcancernow.ca)


  • Among the revelations 2008 provided, we find that truth oozes out no matter how heavy the lid placed on top. The manufacturer’s misinformation about the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil has now been exposed, so much so that the UK government stopped subsidizing its use with public funds. The whole story, written by Dr. James Howenstine, is available on www.laleva.org. And Health Canada finally posted the 9,749 adverse events and 27 deaths (as of June 30) related to Gardasil, reported in just North America alone, on its website on November 8 after endless of pestering from informed Canadians.
  • A report from the Institute of Safe Medication Practices showed that the dangers associated with taking properly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs are up by 38% since last year, based on “voluntary reporting”.  Since the FDA estimates such reporting represents only 1-2% of the actual damage, the true death toll could be as high as 2 million for just the first three quarters of 2008. That makes car accident fatalities look like a minor irritation at merely 44,572 last year. Read the full report available via www.naturalnews.com which provides information on specific drug classes; take it to your doctor!)
  • Another major truth came to stay when Alabama’s Auburn University published the data covering 110 years of nice, old-fashioned “rotation practices” on a plot of land which is part of the National Register of Historical Places. They found that, compared to our current corporate rape of the soil, that plot’s “higher organic matter results consistently in higher crop yields.” (Details in Agronomy Journal, vol. 100 (5), 2008).
  • In the June 27 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, McGill University published something we all suspected and now finally know to be true: hospital food can kill, if the illness and the drugs don’t do it first.  No less than “60% of hospitalized patients had subnormal levels of vitamin C concentrations and 19% were outright deficient.” The lead author was, not surprisingly, McGill University’s Professor John Hoffer, Dr. Abram Hoffer’s son.


What lies ahead for us in 2009 are formidable tasks, three of which are close to my heart.

1. The Canadian Environmental Law Association has called upon our Prime Minister and US President-Elect Barack Obama to “fix NAFTA”, specifically its infamous Chapter 11, the Investment Chapter. In August, Dow Chemical’s division Agroscience sued Canada because Quebec banned the pesticide 2,4-D (under Chapter 11 of NAFTA it is allowed to do so). Hard to believe, but investments take precedence over the constitutional right to regulate public health within Canada.

Indeed, Chapter 11 may even take precedence over our Supreme Court which has ruled on pesticides and the right of municipalities to ban them in its famous Hudson Decision. In the US, the same problems have arisen with NAFTA overruling State and county legislation; both US and Canadian citizens want this section of NAFTA dropped in favour of basic constitutional rights.

This chapter of NAFTA is also what allowed the Harper government to introduce bill C-51 in April with its provision in Section 30 which in its definition of “government” includes foreign countries and foreign corporations – which we did not elect and on whose boards we do not sit! That is also why C-51, which the new Harper government intends to bring back in March 2009, also includes all sorts of provisions that water down or outright eliminate safety measures involving pharmaceuticals.

It is vitally important that the awareness raised by public protest against bill C-51 this past summer is now channeled towards protesting against the actual source of this mess: the North American Free Trade Agreement. To do this we must support the efforts of the Canadian Environmental Law association  (Website: www.cela.ca – or call 416-662-8341)

2. The second big project for the New Year has to do with the denial of the Lyme Disease epidemic, about which the Canadian Medical Association informed their doctors in the May 30, 2000 issue of the CMAJ.  Only outdated tests continue to be available with up to 95% false negative results, leaving thousands of people untreated who (after an acute attack) become victims of Chronic Lyme which mimics virtually all chronic illnesses. The Colleges, which control Canadian doctors’ licenses, force their member doctors to adhere to the outdated guidelines of the Infectious Disease Society of America. These guidelines were set aside in May of this year by the Connecticut Attorney General because of a finding of systemic fraud. These findings had to do with evidence of collusion with insurance companies which don’t want to pay for chronically ill patients, pharmaceutical companies, and deliberate exclusion of international scientific studies on Chronic Lyme. New, comprehensive, and science-based guidelines have been ordered by the court and will appear in 2009. Doctors in Canada treating Lyme patients are as persecuted as they were not too long ago when they dared to treat any form of Environmental Illness.

3. The third big challenge has to do with the Charter of Health Freedom which was authored by lawyer Shawn Buckley and president of the Natural Health Products Protection Association (www.nhppa.org) as a result of the battle against Bill C-51. It will require a couple of million petition signatures to give natural health products their own governing legislation, similar to the way these products are regulated and protected in the US through their law known as DESHA. As long as Health Canada controls the availability of natural health products along the lines of the pharmaceutical model with its assumption of toxicity, medicine will remain monolithic, symptom-control oriented, and authoritarian.  All the dead bodies, adverse events, and therapeutic failures are to be found in this lucrative drug-based medical model.

The coming year will be at least as exciting as 2008, and while it is true that “the truth shall make you free,” the establishment of that truth requires patient dedication and unshakeable resolve to work on the spoiled for the sake of human values.


  • Breggin, P. R. & Cohen, D. Your Drug Maybe Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications, Perseus, 2007
  • Brody, H. Hooked: Ethics, the Medical Profession, and the Pharmaceutical Industry, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007
  • Chopra, Shiv. Corrupt to the Core: Memoirs of a Health Canada Whistleblower, Kos, 2008 (519-927-1049)
  • Ferrie, Helke. What Part of No! Don’t They Understand? Rescuing Food and Medicine from Government Abuse, Kos, 2008.  Now FREE for downloading from https://www.kospublishing.com
  • Michaels, D. Doubt Is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health, Oxford, 2008
  • Weintraub, P. Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic, St. Martin’s Press, 2008
  • Subscribe to the free Orthomolecular Medicine News Service: omns@orthomolecular.org

Helke Ferrie is a medical science writer with a master's degree in physical anthropology. Her specialty lies in investigative research into ethical issues in medicine and the politics of health. She started her investigative journalism career in the mid-1990s, looking at issues of medicine and environment. She has been a regular contributor to Vitality Magazine ever since. Helke has also authored several books on various subjects including: "Ending Denial: The Lyme Disease Epidemic", "What Part of No! Don't They Understand: Rescuing Food and Medicine from Government Abuse", and "The Earth's Gift to Medicine". Read her article: When governments abandon the public interest — look out for your own health Find her book -What Part of No! Don't They Understand Helke has also been a regular contributor for the Vitality Magazine. Links to few of her articles: The Tyranny of Government Protection Success Story - How I Recovered from Lyme Disease IN THE NEWS: Fluoride Dangers; Roundup Lawsuits; Lyme Disease Epidemic Helke Ferrie now lives a retired life and can be reached at helkeferrie@gmail.com

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