Government Hijacked by Industry

Editor’s note: This article was first published in the September 2005 issue of Vitality Magazine.

Before initiating a piece of controversial legislation, first find some pretext to fire those civil servants who are likely to object to it as harmful to the public, then tiptoe around parliament calling it a minor “modernization” of the Health Canada Act, hope that no MP wakes up, and warn your corporate friends to put their army of lobbyists on high alert.

Two years ago, our government introduced two bills now poised to go into third reading. Bill C-27 would dissolve all independent oversight of the food industry and let the industry regulate itself. Bill C-28 would do the same for all drugs. The Globe and Mail pointed out on November 10, 2003, when these bills were introduced, that they would have the effect of “preventing Canadians from suing Health Canada for negligence, even for failures like those that occurred during the tainted-blood scandal [and] greatly increase the likelihood that unsafe drugs and hazardous products make their way to market.” It quoted Mike McBane of the Canadian Health Coalition: “The evidence indicates that federal health and safety regulatory agencies have been captured by industry.”

Following second reading, during parliamentary committee hearings in April, Cathy Holtslander of the Beyond Factory Farming Coalition, observed that C-27 would force Canada to adopt regulatory practices of other countries without any debate here. Furthermore, this bill authorizes the privatization of all food inspection services (so the client would no longer be you and me, as current law decrees, but the company that hired the service to ensure its products are reported to be safe — just what Monsanto and friends in the GMO business want).

Both bills would shift all regulation from the internationally supported “precautionary principle” to the corporate “risk management” approach (if profits are still made from a product that harms a certain number of people, the food or drug stays on the market). Bill C-28 specifically exempts agricultural chemicals, drugs in any combination, pest control products and food additives from being identified as “adulteration” and they would be allowed at residues higher than currently considered safe internationally. As Ottawa’s The Hill Times put it on April 25, 2005: “Hocus-pocus, adulteration is not adulteration if the Minister of Health says so! The effect of Bill C-28 is to eviscerate the Minister of Health’s statutory duty to protect the public from health hazards and fraud . . . [even for those] veterinary drugs which are believed to be carcinogens like estradiol . . . used in beef production.”


Holtslander’s submission, and those of others such as the Council of Canadians, pointed out that the government’s “Smart Regulations,” which interpret these two bills, are designed to totally integrate Canada’s regulatory practices with those of the U.S. NOW Magazine, in a masterful article by Adria Vasil (April 21, 2005) dubbed these regulations as “Canada’s version of No Lobbyist Left Behind.” Indeed, Vasil reported that Big Pharma and pesticide companies were so happy they fired off celebratory press releases about this initiative “within moments” of Ottawa’s announcement. What made those corporations so happy is likely one specific sentence in the report by the committee that concocted these Smart Regulations: “. . . the government should adopt international approaches wherever possible and limit specific Canadian regulatory requirements.” Holtslander observed: “We would completely abandon our power to set and enforce independent rules,” because these new regulations make it plain that Bills C-27 and 28 “put trade ahead of public safety, and integration with the U.S. ahead of democratic Canadian control of what we eat.” In short: here is Paul Martin’s blank cheque to industry – let’s tear up the Charter and disband the Supreme Court, since these proposed laws, together with existing and proposed trade treaties, have the effect of superceding national law and the basic rights of Canadian citizens.

What does this mean in the real world? University of Hawaii research shows that chemical preservatives in processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic cancer 67-fold, or 6,700% (, April 26, 2005). Such findings could not be used for a legal action against the meat-processing industry in Canada, if Bills C-27 and 28 become law, because we would be perfectly aligned with the U.S. This is how . . .

These bills are timed so as to ensure Canada will be ready to hand over the nation when CAFTA, the next trade treaty, comes into force. We sold the farm with NAFTA, but there was still something left to sell: our right to know what is in our foods and drugs and to demand responsibility for damage. There is a logic to all this: why maintain two corrupt regulatory bodies (Health Canada and the FDA) when one will do just as well to manage the free-trade flow of goods of mysterious quality? In a true show of solidarity President Bush, perhaps after watching the documentary “Supersize Me” and realizing that loopholes open to accountability needed to be plugged, introduced in May the “Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act” dubbed “The Cheeseburger Bill.” If passed, this bill would ensure nobody is able to sue food producers, sellers or distributors, even if harmful or addictive chemicals are intentionally added to foods. Congress has already passed it and the Senate is expected to do so too (

In another supportive gesture, the U.S. government gave Health Canada the FDA Award in May. Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh explained that it celebrates the “dedication of Government of Canada staff in achieving our cultural goal of improving the health of citizens on our shared continent.” Well, tell that to the 23,000 or so Canadians and some 700,000 Americans who die every year of properly prescribed drugs (as the Canadian and American Medical Associations report). Those drugs kill because Health Canada and the FDA ask few questions, treat Big Pharma’s dubious science as trade secrets, and yield to political pressure to pass drugs they know are unsafe. It would spoil the party to mention mad cows, carcinogenic GMOs, and the cancer and asthma burden inflicted especially upon our children solely due to pesticides, as the Ontario College of Family Physicians report revealed in May 2004.

Also in May, Health Canada interpreted its mandate to “improve the health of citizens” as including the approval of the carcinogenic and neurotoxic herbicide 2,4 D at levels which exceed the World Health Organization’s guidelines for children under five. If Bills C-27 and 28 are passed, even complaining about the corporate abuse of human health would be futile. For Health Canada these bills would provide relief since they are currently facing negligence lawsuits in the range of $13 billion.


Fortunately, this spring some MPs woke up with a start, the Senate went into high gear and asked questions, the media didn’t play corporate ball, and two conferences were held in Ottawa — all within days of each other in April and May. The first conference, a Canadian Health Coalition event, exposed the proposed new legislation’s horrendous consequences and hosted the Public Guardian Award ceremony honouring those very civil servants who had been fired to prevent them from protecting us, namely Dr. Shiv Chopra, Dr. Margaret Haydon, and Dr. Gerard Lambert: they had defied a series of administrations and stopped bovine growth hormone in Canada and Europe, exposed the dangers of genetically engineered crops, and refused to approve harmful antibiotics like the now banned Batryl. They were fired for “insubordination” as soon as Paul Martin became PM.

The Canadian Senate, however, had all three testify in April and comment specifically on these two bills. These scientists told the Senate of their many decades of fighting for safe food and drugs against an ever-growing tide of “corporatization of knowledge and the instituting of private interests ahead of the public good,” as Dr. Chopra said; they also described the pressures brought to bear upon them by the Privy Council itself to conform to corporate interests, in flagrant violation of Canadian law.

The second conference was the 34th International Conference on Nutritional Medicine which served up a smorgasbord of nutritional research and its healing applications, providing an exciting vision of what is already within our grasp and may be achievable for human health. This conference was hosted by The International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine, which came into being some four decades ago as a result of the research and clinical work of Dr. Abram Hoffer and his subsequent collaboration with Linus Pauling who coined the word “orthomolecular,” meaning the right molecule or nutrient to treat a disease caused by its deficiency. Today it has branches in 17 countries and many of its members are professors at medical schools. Dr. Hoffer also announced the forthcoming publication (November) of his scientific memoirs. It is a rare treat of a read, tracing a great doctor’s personal evolution for the benefit of humanity. The Conference ceremonies further included the posthumous induction of the great cancer doctor Max Gerson into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.

Presentations at the conference represented a cross section of everything that ails humanity and how to treat all that effectively, humanely, without causing more harm, and in cooperation with nature rather than obeying the dogmas of standard medicine. The causes, prevention and treatment of cancer, gastrointestinal disorders, hormonal imbalances in midlife, addiction, depression, cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, environmental illness, migraine, schizophrenia, the nutritional connection to the development of Alzheimer’s, chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies in standard diets and the illnesses these cause, as well as the now documented rate of death caused by toxic and fraudulently approved prescription drugs — was covered by researchers from around the world discussing the excellent results achieved by their latest research. The entire conference is available on CD (call 416-733-2117).

A few highlights: Professor Hyla Cass compared the differences in brain chemistry between men and women and how that effects the metabolizing of natural as well as synthetic medications. Dr. Jonathan Prousky discussed the vital role of histamine, a self-healing substance our bodies manufacture, in gastro-intestinal and immune conditions, why gastric acid-reducing medications are so deadly dangerous, and the connection between low gastric acid and chronic asthma. Dr. Carolyn Dean presented the findings on deaths caused by standard medicine from her new book, Death by Modern Medicine. Dr. William Grant discussed vitamin D deficiency and how common it still is, especially among African-American children as well as its central role in the development of Multiple Sclerosis, being, therefore, reversible. Dr. Julia Ross, author of the bestselling and highly recommended The Mood Cure was dazzling with her information on the role of amino acids in the treatment of depression, addiction and anxiety. Dr. Aileen Burford-Mason of Toronto spoke about the role of magnesium, the queen of minerals, and other nutrients in treatment of chronic pain and migraine.

The encouraging fact is that the persistence of the nutritional medicine doctors is beginning to pay off. On May 5th, Oxford University in the UK announced: “Foods affect behaviour. To ignore the role of nutrition is indefensible.” And Dr. Patrick Holford of the UK based Brain Bio Centre said: “We’re seeing outrageous imbalances in brain chemistry caused by the kinds of foods that sadly millions of kids are eating, and no one’s doing anything about it.” (Canada and the U.S. are doing something – trying to pass legislation that ensures kids continue eating junk and that their parents can’t complain about it.) Finally, the American Journal of Psychiatry reported in April that chemical additives in junk food cause such serious deficiencies in zinc, iron and the B vitamins upon all of which the brain depends, that dramatic increases in violence can be directly explained by the resulting altered brain chemistry. The study noted also that 80% of North Americans are chronically deficient in these brain foods (

In the February, 2005 issue of The Journal of Nutrition, nutritionists from the University of Guelph reported on the importance of essential fatty acids to the development of the human fetus and the brain, but that most pregnant Canadian women do not obtain the required amounts in their normal diet.

The truth is out there but requires eternal vigilance.


• C. Dean, MD. Death by Modern Medicine, Matrix Verite Inc, P.O. Box 22100, Belleville, On K8N 5V7, (613) 962-6025, or
• H. Ferrie, Dispatches from the War Zone of Environmental Health, 2004, Kos Publishing Inc
• A. Hoffer, MD. Adventures in Psychiatry: Scientific Memoirs (November 2005) Kos Publishing Inc.
• K. MacLeod. Down Syndrome and Vitamin Therapy (includes chapter on autism), 2003, Nutri-Chem (613) 820-9065
• J. Ross, The Mood Cure. Penguin, 2004 Penguin
• K.-G. Wenzel, MD, & R.J. Pataracchia ND. The Earth’s Gift to Medicine: Minerals in Health and Disease, Kos Inc. 2005, (519) 927-1049 or
• International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine and International Schizophrenia Foundation both accessed through There are 11,000 Internet entries that include all the orthomolecular medicine centres and societies in the world.
• To protest Canada’s Bills C-27 and C-28 contact which has a sample letter for downloading, or help support our right to safe foods and drugs by contacting, click on Bill C-420. Or, mail a letter to your MP demanding (1) that the Health Canada scientists Dr. Shiv Chopra and colleagues be re-instated, (2) that a public inquiry be initiated into Health Canada’s relationship with the food and pharmaceutical industry, (3) insist that Bills C-27 and C-28 with their “Smart Regs” be dropped once and for all, and (4) state that you expect an answer.

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". Here are links to some of her works: Book Review Find her book -Ending Denial 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

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