When Governments Abandon the Public Interest

Son: “Dad, I’m considering a career in organized crime.” Dad: “Government or private sector?” (Courtesy of HealthRanger)

Public interest: the welfare or well-being of the general public. (Legal definition)

Our Constitution guarantees that the laws, from which our government derives its mandate, shall work in the “public interest.” In actuality, this mandate is mostly an experience of illusion for the public, because the government and its agencies prove to be chronically delusional. The difference between an illusion and a delusion is that an illusion is a misconception, sometimes based on deception; illusions are correctable through reality checks. A delusion, on the other hand, refers to a belief maintained despite contradictory proof. Delusional views and policies refuse to be confused by the facts.[1] Shedding illusions is the first step towards eliminating delusions. True, this is hard slogging, often painful, extremely frustrating, but unfailingly liberating. So, here we go!

Reality Check

Visiting the Health Canada website is an alarming experience: their self-congratulatory propaganda asserts “leading edge” health science is available to us all, that its workers are “minimizing risk, maximizing safety” of all those “safe, effective, high quality pharmaceuticals” to achieve Health Canada’s “goal of giving Canadians faster access to more new pharmaceuticals while continuing to focus on public safety.” Health Canada also seriously asserts that: “Canadians [are involved] directly in shaping biotechnology policies.” Similar operatic arias on keeping us safe from microwave radiation amaze and astound.

In fact, it’s the the FDA in the U.S. that first approves all drugs and medical devices, bio-engineered plants, and vaccines which then become available in (or disappear from) Canada, and issues all post-marketing warnings (if unavoidable, initiates market withdrawal) – we do not evaluate anything whatsoever independently, let alone subject drugs and devices to made-in-Canada policies created through consultation with Canadians.

  • Harper Appoints VP of Pfizer to Public Health Office – As for that ‘leading-edge’ Canadian health research, it’s a joke. Prime Minister Harper recently appointed Bernard Prigent, former vice president and medical director of drug giant Pfizer, to the governing council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). One former council member observed that Dr. Prigent, MD, owes his livelihood and allegiance to a drug company convicted of “sleaze that stands out even among its shady peers,” a company that is now paying out billions for lawsuits related to three deadly and fraudulent drugs. Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq sees no conflict of interest with this appointment – to which 3,700 of Canada’s scientists, researchers, and ethicists objected in a recent petition. One scientist, Jocelyn Downie of Dalhousie University, wondered how Prigent could possibly balance serving the interests of Pfizer shareholders with the public interest mandate of the CIHR. Pfizer’s revenues were $64.7 billion in 2011.
  • Government Bows Out of Its Responsibility to Citizens – What about that pesky public interest? Everyone working for Health Canada has known since February 1997: “Your client is the direct recipient of your services. In many cases this is the person or the company who pays for the services.” That internal memo explained that “the public as client” is not what government solely exists for, as required per our Constitution and the intent of administrative law, because “society at large is better described by the term stakeholder.” Some stakeholders, namely the pharmaceutical, agricultural, and chemical companies, pay for government services through so-called user fees. And the public does so through taxes, and has now became just one of many stakeholders. We are the millions effectively kept at bay; there are too many of us and we don’t all fit into those boardrooms and have no access to our government’s cabinet discussions. Our government simply re-defined its citizens as customer resources for the benefit of those business enterprises chosen without our knowledge or consent to be “direct recipients” of our government’s services. Vitality readers are familiar with the logical next step through those bills C-51, C-52, C-6 (and many more) which explicitly re-defined “government” as including national, multi-national, and foreign corporations – for which we do not vote, who did not get elected into our parliament, on whose boards the vast majority of Canadians do not sit, and who mysteriously have the legal rights of individuals and none of the legal responsibilities to safeguard the public – as opposed to just shareholders’ financial – interests.
  • Health Canada Ignores Evidence of Harm Caused by GMOs and Drugs – With regard to public involvement in Health Canada’s decisions, since 2001 when the Royal Society of Canada published its report on how biotechnology should be regulated in Canada – namely by stopping it – every poll has shown that up to 97% of Canadians don’t want genetically engineered plants or animals, and especially not on our dinner tables. Nowhere does Health Canada refer to this public opinion nor to the international, peer-reviewed literature showing the negative health effects of genetically modified products on people and animals, the disastrous long-term consequences for agriculture from planting GM crops, nor is there any hint about how badly our policy is out of synch with what other countries want to buy and refuse to buy.[2]

As for pharmaceuticals (all of which are toxic, most are based on fraudulent research) and our government’s war on truly effective and totally safe non-pharmaceutical health products, the transgressions against the “public interest” are overwhelming in number. To separate delusion from fact, readers are referred to the in-depth Vitality articles by Dr. Zoltan Rona, MD; the publications of the Dietary Supplement Protective Union; the efforts for health freedom legislation by the Natural Health Products Protection Association; MP Terence Young’s excellent book on Health Canada (Death by Prescription); University of British Columbia’s Alan Cassels’ life-saving book Seeking Sickness which unmasks our health policies; former Health Canada drug regulator Shiv Chopra’s shocking memoirs Corrupt to the Core; and my brand new book, Creative Outrage.

Health Canada’s Cloak Of Secrecy And Delusion

Regarding WiFi safety, in February of this year, during cross-examination in the Superior Court of Quebec, Health Canada witness James McNamee revealed that Safety Code 6 is actually based only on thermal (heat-producing) levels of microwaves. This is the infamous red herring of the WiFi research field, since thermal burn-producing properties are on the extreme end and well-understood part of the spectrum of harm that microwaves cause. Health Canada chose to stick with this red herring despite the fact that it has been known since World War II that harm, including cancer, comes from non-thermal levels of WiFi; testimony revealed further that Health Canada chose studies supportive of its pre-determined view and simultaneously misled the public until now, assuring us for all these years that our Safety Code 6 is based on both thermal and non-thermal considerations.[3]

  • Harper Muzzles Scientists to Keep Research Under Wraps – The latest determined effort to maintain a national delusion of scientific excellence fortunately received wide press coverage. The Harper government’s policy to stop scientific facts from becoming generally known and understood by the lay public reached such ideological excess that the world’s premier science journal, Nature, devoted its March 2012 editorial to our government’s “startlingly poor behaviour” in the international science community. That editorial was followed by a mock funeral for the “death of evidence” held last summer on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and attended by hundreds of scientists.CBC’s Michael Enright recently interviewed Gordon McBean, former Assistant Deputy Minister of Meteorological Service of Canada and now Chair of the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, on just how baffled the rest of the world is by the newly initiated repression of freedom of scientific speech. An editorial in the Toronto Star on March 18 described Prime Minister Harper’s “reckless and undemocratic muzzling of scientists” who may not speak to the public without prior government permission, which is generally not granted. Indeed, they are even told what they must say, as a February 20 report by the Environmental Law Centre of the University of Victoria showed; that report is addressed to the Information Commissioner of Canada, Suzanne Legault, asking her to “investigate the federal government’s policies and actions to obstruct the right of the public and the media to speak to government scientists.” The letter points out that “we as a society cannot make informed choices about critical issues if we are not fully informed about the facts.”[4]

Our government policies are delusional because research findings on issues of environment, energy, and public health all demand following the Constitutional mandate to serve the public interest – not the business interests of the Conservative Party’s chosen few. Historically, repression of science began under Prime Minister Mulroney. Its continued impact on the health of Canadians is recorded in the memoirs of former Health Canada drug regulator and vaccinologist Dr. Shiv Chopra, mentioned earlier.

International Disregard For The Public Interest

This disregard for the public interest is not only a Canadian phenomenon; we find it everywhere in countries where industry takes precedence over people, and international trade treaties attempt to entrench such delusions even more. Health policies that ignore public interest inevitably ignore causes of illness in favour of profits from such causes.

  • Useless Cancer Drugs – not surprisingly, the cost of cancer is now estimated at $263.8 billion annually, of which $102.8 billion are healthcare costs and the rest covers lost productivity and premature death. The National Post reported on March 15 on the utter failure of our expensive therapies for cancer, calling the cancer epidemic an environmentally triggered public health disaster. McGill University’s oncologist, Michael Pollak, observed that “researchers are always announcing fantastic progress and breakthroughs – and the patients are still getting sick and dying.”
  • Diabetes Controversy – some 100,000 people are estimated to have died from the blockbuster diabetes drug, Avinda, which the FDA approved (as did Health Canada) and which is now off the market; GlaxoSmithKline pleaded guilty and settled at $3 billion in damages in 2012. Given that Type 2 diabetes is caused by the sort of malnutrition featured in documentaries like Supersize Me, Food Matters, and Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, (i.e. foods that public policy supports instead of properly educating people), it is amazing to learn from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America that about 8% of the North American population has diabetes and about 79 million are in danger of developing it. No wonder Avinda was a blockbuster drug.[5]
    Type 1 diabetes, caused primarily by environmental toxins and lowered immune function, has increased by 70% in children under five over the last two decades, and by 48% alone between 2000 and 2004. For Type 2 diabetes the evidence points to pesticides in food, water, and air as the primary risk factors.[6]
  • Vaccine Deaths – More than 145,000 deaths have been documented in the U.S. government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) as having been caused by standard childhood shots over the past 20 years (that’s roughly 20 children a day), but no public inquiry has been announced in the U.S. or Canada, and Canada doesn’t even have such a registry!
  • Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen’s WorstPills-BestPills, in an excellent presentation available on the internet, presents a cartoon showing a medicine bottle with two labels: the front one reads “FDA Approved Drug” and the small-print label on the back reads “Warning: Contains FDA Approved Drug.”[7] I suggest for all drugs sold here: “Warning: Health Canada Approved FDA Drug.” Sadly, this isn’t even funny, just factual.
  • Lethal Medication – In the American military, psychiatric drugs known to increase suicide are apparently handed out as a matter of public policy, responsible for about 8,000 suicides annually of which 33% (about 2,500) are due to psych drugs. This means “medication is killing more soldiers and veterans than Al-Qaeda.”[8]
  • Mercury and Brain Damage – The public cost of mercury alone in the environment from unregulated industry, as published in BioMed Central’s open-access journal Environmental Health in January, is estimated to cause brain damage to about 2 million children annually in the EU. That converts to 700,000 IQ points per year gained by clean-up, and presumably preventive regulation, as well as annual savings of €9 billion ($12.6 billion) from taking care of these kids. That figure strikes me as a nice measure of the monetary worth attributable to the concept “public interest.”
  • Industry-friendly policies in the U.S. resulted in Americans having the worst health measures of all high-income countries. According to the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine report released in January, high rates of poverty, poor food, and questionable healthcare are major factors responsible for this American nightmare.[9]

Who Let the Truth Out?

The truth will out. Congressman Dan Burton gave his farewell speech in the U.S. Congress on December 31, 2012, which is a must-read document.[10] He is responsible for having mercury preservatives taken out of vaccines in the U.S., but they are still used elsewhere. His speech reads like a catalogue of all the crimes committed over the decades against the American people by public interest-challenged policies. Vitality readers will recognize many of the themes in my articles.

In February of this year the World Health Organization published its report on endocrine-disrupting chemicals – this development was a real cause for celebration, and also an explanation for frantic efforts to keep the lid on current science, which is doomed to failure. This report is something close to a manual of causes for whatever ails you.[11]

New research, just published, shows how the public is beginning to understand the role of refined sugar in disease causation and how regulatory efforts to reduce smoking have had tremendous health and cost-saving benefits; we need more regulation of this type.[12]

An excellent public interest action began in India’s Supreme Court to stop HPV vaccine trials which have harmed thousands of girls recruited under false pretenses. The Mayo Clinic reported in the March 18 issue of Pediatrics that parents increasingly refuse the HPV vaccine (two in five parents) because they no longer trust the propaganda.

In March, a California county criminalized smart meters.[13]  How about it, Torontonians?

As for the effort of the NHPPA to have separate legislation governing natural health products, its health freedom petition has close to 100,000 signatures, making it unique in recent Canadian history.[14]

Our government may have abdicated its responsibility to the public, but we can cheerfully vote them out. And then we can begin the task of creating a new government which respects and supports our right to freedom of choice in health care, using the best available science.


[1] For details on the concept of “public interest” see The Global Network for Public Interest Law

[2] Elements of Precaution: Recommendations for the Regulation of Food Biotechnology in Canada, Royal Society of Canada, January 2001:  See also information on BC’s NDP MP Alex Atamanenko failed attempt to have growing GM crops in Canada dependent on known markets for their products.

[3] www.magdahavas.com February 20, 2013

[4] This report by the Environmental Law Clinic of February 20, 2013, can be accessed from www.elc.uvic.ca. On CBC television’s show Power and Politics, Evan Solomon interviewed a spokesperson from Health Canada and MPs from the Liberal and NDP parties on this report:

[5] Data from the US National Institutes of Health posted on TheMotleyFool February 1, 2013

[6] Diabetes Care, January 22, 2013 and Environmental Research, 2013, University of Granada

[7] Read Sidney Wolfe’s presentation on drug approval

[8] US Veteran Affairs department figures reported in Natural News, March 14, 2013.

[9] National Academy of Sciences January 2013 report on American Health

[10] You can access Congressman Burton’s on YouTube or via US Congress’s Congressional Record of December 31, 2012.

[11] United Nations Report 2013: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

[12] On how regulatory efforts on smoking was successful on many measures: PLoS ONE, vol. 8 (1) 2013. On refined sugar and health NEJM, January 17, 2013, see “polling results”.

[13] The story of how various counties have outlawed and/or criminalized smart meters is reported on www.mcsglobalawareness.com March 15, 2013.

[14} For details on this health freedom petition and what you can do to help go to www.nhppa.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

Write a Comment

view all comments