The Reality Behind Bill C-51 & C-52: Too Hard to Swallow
It's About the Future of Natural Health Products and Your Rights & Freedoms.
A presentation by Shawn Buckley, constitutional lawyer and the president of the Natural Health Products Protection Association speaking about the reality behind bill C-51 & C-52.
PLEASE NOTE: This is an archived article from 2008.
*** VIDEO TRANSCRIPT ***
I want today, to actually challenge your belief system by asking you a very fundamental question. And, by asking you a fundamental question, I'm hoping that you can appreciate that I'm not expecting that any of you will actually have been asked to consider this question before, and I'm hoping that you'll ask the question 'well, why haven't I been asked this before?' because it's a very fundamental question that we should all answer regularly.
And I also hope you understand that when I ask the question, for most of us in the room, without thinking, an answer is going to pop into your head and the answer is going to be 'yes'. You're going to have an affirmative answer. You need to appreciate that you've been conditioned to give the answer to this question and you've been conditioned just through the media, through the school, through society. You've been given a belief system that basically dictates a yes answer.
I need you also to understand that you've been conditioned to give the answer 'yes' because if they answer isn't 'yes', our state system fails. We can't have a democracy survive where the majority of us will answer this question 'no'. We can tolerate the odd person, we can tolerate the odd disenfranchised group answering 'no', but collectively, the answer has to be 'yes'.
For psychological reasons, you are not going to want to answer this question 'no' because if you answer it 'no' it's going to have dramatic implications for your world view, how you view the state, and how you conduct yourself.
And the question is - and wait, for many of you 'yes' is just going to jump into your head - are you free? Are you free? Are you free really? Because if you're not free, we have a real problem with how we're going to interact with the state because we're actually conditioned to believe we live in a free democratic society. I hope you can appreciate that.
We've got a lot of health freedom activists in this room, but the majority of people in our society will automatically answer that question 'yes'. Just automatically, the answer will be 'yes' and they're not even aware that we are conditioned and we are conditioned.
I'm a little older than I look. I grew up during the Cold War and I was expecting to fight the Soviet Union. Literally, I was. And when the Berlin Wall fell I actually felt a sense of relief. It was like 'OK, I'm not going to be called on to go and die on some field in Europe'.
But, the state was conditioning me to hate the Soviet Union. And I'm going to tell you some things and you're going to go 'oh yeah, we were told that'. I mean think about it, they were a communist police state. You could not own land, the state had confiscated it, and was taught 'we have the freedom to own land. We're different. We're free here. In fact, we're so free that if the state encroaches on my private property, I can sue them for trespass and a court is going to order the state to compensate me. That's how free we are'.
They didn't have the private property rights that we had. Think about it; we've got this image of the KGB and them driving up in their black Mercedes and taking property and people without any due process of the courts.
I hope you know I'm setting you up because Bill C51 is taking away the law of trespass, taking away our rights of due process in any court intervention with regards to our property rights. But, my point right now is about conditioning us since the state had to train me - condition me, so that I would fight a war for them. So, we are conditioned by the state and I was taught that they weren't free, but you have to appreciate that they were taught that we weren't free because for their state to survive, they would collectively have to answer the question 'are you free?' ... 'yes' or it couldn't survive. And they may have been less free than us, but understand, they would give up freedoms for safety because they were preparing to fight these capitalist oppressors and free the workers. Listen to this point - we will give up our freedom for safety. It's the number one tool that governments use to take away our freedom, is to say 'we have this safety risk, so we need to take away our freedom'.
I'll give you some examples that people support; when I started driving, I didn't have to wear seatbelts. I didn't have to wear a motorcycle helmet. Now I have to wear a seatbelt. The state will punish me if I don't wear a seatbelt. The state will punish me if I don't wear a motorcycle helmet. But, most people say 'well, these are great laws'. And I deliberately picked ones that people like. But, my point is, though, is you're not free to do it and you accepted this restriction on your freedom in the name of safety. There's a pattern.
I didn't check before I gave this lecture, in Manitoba, and I want to find out how you guys approach things here, is it possible - can you go to a gas station, and put gas in your car and then after you've done that, after you've filled up go and pay for it? Is that allowed here?
No way. Because in BC, we've learned that that is horrible dangerous, and so it is illegal in British Columbia to put gas in your car before you pay. Because, for safety reasons, we've given up that freedom. Now there's a pattern. We could come back here in ten years and we could have a blackboard up here and we could list all the freedoms we've lost in the name of safety. And every time it happens, single, one at a time, we support it. I'm just trying to kind of wake you up to the fact that we actually have a pattern where we give away fundamental freedoms in the name of safety. In fact, not only will we do that, but we have been conditioned to do that.
When I say we've been conditioned, when something awful happens, read the editorials in the newspapers, read the stories. People demand 'government, you have to pass a law to make this illegal'. We actually demand it. We don't say to the government or we don't say to ourselves 'why don't we be more responsible and take responsibility for ourselves'. We actually demand that the government makes our activity illegal. We've been conditioned to do this. So, when we're considering freedom, we have to consider that almost every area of our life is regulated.
Now, I want to turn to health freedom and ask are you free to choose how you will be treated, how you are going to treat your own body when you have a health crisis? Some people are saying no. Some people are having to think about it, judging by the crowd.
And should you be free? OK, we got some 'yeses'. But, let's talk about this; are you actually free to choose how your body will be treated when you face a health crisis, because we're all going to face a health crisis and some of us are going to face multiple health crises in our lives. And it's a good question: are we actually free to determine how we are going to address a health crisis when it occurs to us personally? Do we have sovereignty over our own bodies?
In thinking about this question, let me give you some historical context: We are being conditioned by the state to expect a flu pandemic. We are. How I know we are is if I say the words 'avian flu', everyone in this room knows exactly what I'm talking about. But, if we had come here six years ago and I said 'avian flu', everyone would go 'what is he talking about?' But it's been so in the news and so talked about that we've been conditioned to expect a major flu pandemic.
Now when they tell us about a major flu pandemic, I hope you can appreciate that roughly every 60 years there is a major flu pandemic that kills one out of five - 20%. We're talking a huge social disruption. The last one was in 1918, we're well overdue for a flu pandemic. And if a flu pandemic sweeps across, they're already telling us it's going to be viral. Because if it was bacterial, they could treat it with antibiotics. ISo i's going to be a virus so the allopathic medical system is not going to be able to use their antibiotics and they won't have a vaccine for it or it wouldn't have gotten out of control. So, basically, it's going to sweep through and our allopathic medical system is not going to have any tool to deal with it. That's why their conditioning us.
When I say "allopathic medical system," does everyone know what I am talking about? OK. Allopathic basically just means treating the symptoms of illness and not the cause. So an allopathic medical system treats the symptoms of disease and sickness; it doesn't address the cause. And that's what our mainstream medical system is. It's an allopathic model. An allopathic model does not have to be dominated by chemical/pharmaceutical drugs; it just happens to be that's what happened. So when I say "allopathic model," I am referring to what we have now.
Now, in 1918, when the last major flu pandemic swept across the world and through North America, we had, in North America, homeopathic hospitals and we had allopathic hospitals. If you had the flu and you went to the allopathic hospital, you had, roughly an 80% chance of dying. If you had the flu and you went to a homeopathic hospital you had roughly an 80% chance of living. Now, I just want to ask you - let's say the government is right - and a flu pandemic sweeps through, which hospital do you want to go to, the allopathic hospital or homeopathic hospital? We laugh, but the sad part is, that there are no homeopathic hospitals. Because, the allopathic doctors in their turf wars have convinced every state and provincial government to outlaw homeopathic hospitals as the allopathic doctors gained their medical monopoly. When we are thinking about this question, are we free to choose how we are going to address a health crisis which occurs in our life? You need to appreciate that there has been an historical move to restrict your freedom. If a flu pandemic comes through, we do not have the freedom of choice that people in 1918 had. It has been taken away.
When I ask, "Are you free to choose?" some people say, "Yes, yes." We heard it here in the crowd. Well, you are because you are not lower class. If you are on welfare, or if you are one of the working poor and you do not have disposable income, then you don't have a choice. You can't pay to go to a naturopathic doctor or a homeopathic doctor. You can't buy natural health products. Because, our state will pay for the allopathic doctor to see you, and it will pay for the allopathic hospital if you need to go there. They'll pay for your chemical/pharmaceutical drugs. You don't have a choice. You don't have the freedom to choose how you are going to address yourself when you have a health crisis. It's funny, because if anyone was to suggest to a Canadian that we need to take away your right to have the state cover your healthcare, everyone is up in arms. And, yet, we are in a situation where what that means in reality is, that you will have access to the allopathic model and their chemical/pharmaceutical drugs.
For public policy reasons, we deliberately don't have naturopathic hospitals and we deliberately don't have homeopathic hospitals, because we are not free to have those. Just so you understand ... are you free to choose how you are going to address the health crisis? The government has, over a long period of time, been systematically answering that question for you. And, we happen to be at a time where they are at it again with the new natural health product regulations, which I call "new" although they have been in force since January 1, 2004, and Bill C51.
The government is in the process of trying to take away the little choice that the middle and upper class presently have to access the alternative health community. So it's being answered for you, and you need to wake up, very quickly, and start acting, or it going to be like the homeopathic hospitals. It's all being done in the name of safety. Because we've been conditioned that, when the government says that there is a safety risk, we will accept restriction on our freedom. Now, in the case though, of natural health products, when the government tells us, "well we need to regulate them the way we're regulating them ... we need to presume that they are dangerous for your safety". That's absolutely wrong. We will get into that a little later, but I want you to file that point away. It is factually wrong.
I didn't always understand that it was factually wrong. I first got involved in the natural health community acting against it on for Health Canada. What happened was that there was an old herbalist in Kamloops named Jim Strauss. He had imported some herbs from the United States. Things that were perfectly legal to own, and Health Canada seized the herbs at the border. So he sues Health Canada to get his herbs back, and Health Canada hired the law firm I was at and the file was thrown to me. I took the file and basically had his case thrown out of court on procedural grounds. Sometimes, I get booed when I say that, so you are a kind crowd.
You have to appreciate that I was actually glad to do that. Because I had been raised in a normal middle-class home that didn't have any connections to the natural health community. The media, education, society at large taught me, that actually it's the allopathic hospitals and allopathic doctors that have the medical answers. They are the mainstream medical movement. We all have this image of the doctor in a white lab coat with a stethoscope. That represents basically, competence in healing - so much so that even natural health product manufacturers use the image of the doctor when they advertise. That's how engrained in our collective collective consciousness this image is . It has a kind of authority for healing. The idea that somebody - some herbalist - in Kamloops could be selling herbs that have not been approved by the government, just struck me as outrageous. This guy was a dangerous rogue. Think about it, he was selling herbs that Health Canada had not certified as safe. Can you imagine that? I am being completely facetious. The point is that I accepted it. I was glad to have this thing thrown out of court. My conversion came through the same herbalist. Shortly after that, I left the firm I was at, I started my own firm and he got charged by the provincial prosecution service with practicing medicine. The provincial act that gives doctors their medical monopoly says only doctors can practice medicine, and practicing medicine includes making treatment plans. He claimed he could cure heart disease, and he wasn't shy about it. He literally drove around in a van with big writing on the side: "I Cure Heart Disease."
There was no way I could go to court and convince the judge that he was not guilty of practicing medicine. I'm pretty tenacious when it comes to trying to defend people, so I had to come up with some other way. What I decided to do was to actually ask the court to strike down the law as unconstitutional. Because here we have our Charter of Rights and Freedoms that says we have freedom of expression, and we've got this act saying that you can't make a health claim, and the two don't mix. I was going to ask the court to strike down the law as violating our right to freedom of expression.
In preparing for that, I wanted to convince the judge that he was telling the truth. It's not that I even had to do that, because we have the freedom of expression to lie, but psychologically, if you are a judge, you're more likely to strike down a law to protect somebody's right to tell the truth.
So I asked this herbalist, "Is there any way that we can prove that you are telling the truth?" At the time, and you have to understand there was no Strauss Herb Company, there was only one shop called, Natural Way Herbs, and one guy, Jim Strauss, you were more likely to have tea in there than buy anything because you would want to visit. It was really mom and pop shop stuff. There was no way that he had a double-blind clinical trial, you know, our gold standard of scientific evidence that's used as a weapon to kill us. Well, it is. Science has become a weapon. It is supposed to be a tool for discovery, and it is used by regulatory bodies as a weapon against us. Because, you know what? If you have a serious health condition and the doctors verify it and then you take a natural health product and you're cured, that's not evidence, according to Health Canada. I mean, what do you know?
Anyway, I asked this guy, "Is there anything we can do to prove that you're telling that the truth?" And he goes into the back and he brings out boxes and boxes and boxes filled with letters, and he goes, "Here, take this."
So, I go back to the office and I read all these letters and they're all literally the same. They're people voluntarily writing in just saying, "I had serious heart disease. I was in bed. I was dying. I took your heart drops; I got well. Thank you, thank you, thank you;" the odd, "God bless you," in there, "Thank you. "
Now, I can't enter those letters as evidence; that's called hearsay evidence in court. But, I can call the people who wrote the letters to take the stand, take the oath and tell their story. Health Canada says that's not evidence. In a court, that's the best evidence there is. Isn't that a disconnect?
I read through all those letters. I started making calls. I kind of had to figure out, well, who's going to be the best witness? Who's going to stand up on the stand? Who has the best story? And I narrowed it down to five middle-class professionals. I deliberately chose middle-class professionals because the courts like them. And they all had the following in common, well, credibility, right? I need to convince a judge. It's all strategy.
But these people had some amazing things in common. They'd all had serious heart disease. They'd all had at least one open-heart bypass surgery. They'd all continued to have serious heart disease because the allopathic model was not addressing the cause of the clogging of the arteries. They'd all needed another bypass surgery to survive.
And here's where they differed, is for some of them, the medical community was not willing to give them another bypass surgery because they were not likely to survive. And for some of them, they weren't willing to go through the process again because they had just found it so awful that they actually would rather die than go through that experience again.
They then are all at the end of the road with the allopathic medical system, so they turned to the alternative health system. They start taking the Strauss Heart Drops; they all get well. They all go back to work; they hadn't been able to work. But, there was one side effect, because they were all angry they'd had bypass surgeries in the first place.
So, just a caution if anyone takes the Strauss Heart Drops and they've had open-heart surgery, you may have a sensation of anger after awhile.
But, in preparing for that trial, it opened my eyes. Because before, like no word of a lie, I thought it would be dangerous to allow a product like the Strauss Heart Drops on the market because it wasn't approved. It didn't comply with the regulations. This was a rogue herbalist.
And now, I'm in a situation where I'm on the opposite side. This isn't snake oil, and this happened about 10 years ago. If you had dared to take those heart drops off the market at that time, I could have given you the names, addresses and phone numbers of hundreds of people whose health would have been seriously affected. Many would become bedridden, some would die.
We're not talking small, insignificant consequences - people using this product, basically to stay alive. So, it was a complete paradigm shift; a complete paradigm shift, where I had to realize, just wait a second. Are the danger is removing the product - not leaving it on the market...
Now, the government is telling us that we need to remove products that aren't approved because they're unsafe if they don't comply with the regulations. Now, what the government is also telling us - and many of you who have written letters on Bill C-51, you'll have even have gotten this back in the letters - is they're telling us, "We're not restricting access to natural health products. We want to promote access."
You cannot find a politician in Canada, even though we've probably lost about 30,000 products, who's telling you, "We're restricting products." So they're telling us, "Oh, no. We're not trying to restrict products."
There is a little rule that I live by, that you can live by also, and that is if you want to know what somebody's intention is, ignore what they're saying, and look at what they're doing. Because we can all say anything, can't we? But, if you look at what somebody's doing, especially over a long period of time, you see a pattern of behavior that will point you to their end goal.
So, with Health Canada, they really talk a talk. Like, they tell us they want our access there. They tell us that they want to protect our safety. And, in fact, I find that the Natural Health Product Directorate's mission statement so amusing, I feel compelled to read it to you. Just snuggle into your chair; this is going to make you feel very good, because it's just wonderful:
Our role is to ensure that Canadians have ready access to natural health products that are safe, effective and of high quality, while respecting freedom of choice and philosophical and cultural diversity.
Don't you feel like you're in front of the fireplace and you're cozied up in the chair with some hot chocolate? Like, it just makes you feel good, "Our role is to ensure Canadians have ready access to natural health products." So that's their talk, but what are their actions?
I'm going to go back to 1990, because Health Canada actually used to have a lab. It was a world-class lab that could take a natural health product and analyze it and actually tell you if there was any danger. And they did a review and decided, "You know what? Natural health products are not risky enough for us to justify the expense of this lab."
So they fired all the lab guys and closed the lab down. And then five years later, they start viciously attacking natural health products, like viciously. So, in the mid 1990s, they were driving natural health products off of the market and consumers noticed and consumers rebelled. I mean, you think Bill C-51's been a rebellion? It's been nothing. It's been nothing compared to what happened in the mid 90s.
In fact, I'm told by a parliamentary aid, as consumers we signed a petition saying, "Don't treat our foods as drugs. Protect our access to natural health products." I'm told that it had more signatures on it than any petition in Canadian history. It was huge. The public outcry was so great that the Minister of Health, who was Allen Rock at the time, actually had to publicly back down with some cost recovery regulations he had imposed.
So, he backed down, they withdrew the regulations. And he said publicly, "We're going to refer this to the Standing Committee on Health for guidance on what to do because Canadians are clearly unhappy with what we're doing."
And so he asked the Standing Committee on Health to look into how should we regulate the natural health products, which is a really unusual move. There was no legislation for them to consider. They were just asked to hold consultations and advise the government how should we regulate natural health products. And they had to do this because of the public outcry.
The Standing Committee on Health has wide consultations and they come out with a report containing 53 recommendations. You can still get the report off the parliament website. If you have trouble finding it, we have a link to it on our site at www.nhppa.org.
When you read the report at the beginning, they point out that presenter after presenter after presenter made it clear to them that there has never been a death in Canadian history caused by a natural health product. In fact, it was driven home to them so much, they felt compelled to mention it in their report.
They made it clear, Canadians want their access protected. In fact, they want increased access. They didn't just want the products that are there, they wanted a vibrant industry and increased access.
So, the Minister of Health said to Health Canada, "We adopt these recommendations. You go and implement them." That was 1998; it was 10 years ago. We thought we had won. Health Canada took six years to come out with a natural health product regulations that came into force on January 1st in 2004. And they presumed that natural health products are dangerous.
There are drug-style regulations. If you take the regulations and you take a black Jiffy marker and you black out natural health product and you write, "drug" over it, you compare it with the drug regulations, they are almost identical. The products are presumed to be dangerous unless they're safe. They have to go through a similar approval process. Everything about it, structure, everything is the same.
So, here we are. We thought we had won and Health Canada imposes on us these natural health product regulations, which are drug-style regulations. Under the natural health product regulations, a product now, to be legally sold has to have a government license. The government actually has to grant a license for you to sell it. So, the manufacturer has to prove to Health Canada that it's safe and effective to get a license.
If we walked into a health food store - so just imagine we're in a health food store and there are shelves all around us - the shelves are full right now. Understand that almost every single product on the shelf does not have a natural health product license.
And if you're asking 'well wait a second, you just told us that to be legally sold, they have to have natural health product licenses, and yet most of the products aren't licensed'. What's happened is Health Canada cannot process the license applications. So, the manufacturers have submitted license applications and they're just waiting for Health Canada to tell them whether their product's legal or illegal.
Now, I know what all of you are thinking; you're thinking 'wait a second, do you mean that for the last four years with our regulations, basically the industry's been unregulated and these products aren't licensed?' You're getting afraid and you're thinking you need to go into your basement and light the emergency candles because this is just so unsafe, right? Trust me, it's OK. No, it's just ridiculous, right?
What's happening is the license applications that Health Canada has processed - and listen to this, this is very important for you to understand - of the license applications they actually have processed, there has been a 55% failure rate. You can verify this. You can go on the Natural Health Product Directorate website, they publish the figures. They publish how many license applications they've processed, how many have failed, how many have succeeded. You just divide one number by the other and you have the percentage.
So, we've had a 55% failure rate. So, if you imagine the health food store with all of these products, if the trend continues, 55% of those products are going to disappear. The consumer hasn't noticed it yet because when a product becomes illegal and is removed, there are still so many other products waiting in the queue that a store can just substitute. But, the consumer is going to start to notice and definitely the manufacturers are getting into panic mode with what's going on because they see behind the scenes what is happening.
People like myself and other people in the industry actually think the failure rate is going to be higher than 55%. The reason we think that is that Health Canada, to try and get their numbers up of applications they've gone through, have focused on the easy ones, which are the single ingredient products, and it's harder to get a license every time you add an ingredient as the levels of evidence go up. So, we're anticipating, actually, that that level's going to go up. What the total number is going to be - is it going to be 60%? Is it going to be 70-75%? - Nobody knows what the total percentage of failure rate is going to be.
But let's, for our purposes, just stick with the current low rate of 55%. So, if you can imagine, we will expect that 55% of the products will become illegal and when they become illegal, one of two things has to happen; either they can be voluntarily taken off the market, or Health Canada can basically take them off the market with enforcement action.
You may not know that Health Canada has been going from university to university recruiting enforcement officers. Were you aware of that? So, here we have the natural health product industry with all these products basically, in slow motion, they're being declared illegal. The industry's being declared illegal. Health Canada is actively recruiting more enforcement officers because they see the need for more enforcement activity.
And then along comes Bill C51, which will give these enforcement officers unprecedented power to remove the products and destroy the people who make them, just to give you the context. I've been giving you the context just to show you the pattern because they tell us that they want to protect our access, they tell us this is for our safely, but when we look at the pattern over the past 20 years, it's very clear where it's heading and it's heading to the extinction of the industry, it's heading to your freedom to choose - to access - natural health products being taken away.
These are facts I'm telling you about. Like I say, go onto the NHPPA website and look at the statistics yourself. Call Health Canada and ask them how many more enforcement officers they're hiring and which universities they're going to. They're actually holding meetings and getting students to come to try and attract them. These are facts. You need to understand they're positioning themselves to take the industry out.
You also need to understand - I just mentioned the point briefly, earlier - is they're doing this in the name of safety because they're saying Canadians need to be protected from these unregulated products, but I said actually they have it backwards, that the real danger is removing natural health products from the market, and I want to talk about that a little bit.
I also want to talk about Truehope Nutritional Support. For those of you who have never heard about Truehope, they make a product called the EMPowerplus Plus, which is a vitamin and mineral supplement to treat bipolar disorder. Truehope is unusual in many ways because their product is so effective that actually the Alberta government coughed up half a million dollars for a double blind clinical trial at the University of Calgary. That doesn't happen every day.
They're also unusual in the depths that Health Canada went to, to taking EMPower Plus off the market. So, Health Canada shut down this double blind clinical trial funded by the Alberta government and run by the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Do you know why, at the end of the day? Because it had germanium in it. Can you imagine? Geranium is allowed as a supplement in our market. But, anyway, they were protecting us from the evils of germanium.
They also went after Truehope. Starting in the year 2000 and then culminating into the year 2003 they gave Truehope an ultimatum. They said 'you stop selling now'. And Truehope said to them 'we have thousands of Canadians that we are successfully managing on EMPower Plus who have bipolar disorder. They are normal again, they are back to work, they're back at school. They're not in psych wards anymore. We cannot take EMPower Plus off the market or there will be suicides and there will be hospitalizations and people will go back to the psych ward'.
Some of you will be going 'geez, these are grand words. Who are these guys that they'd make claims like this, really?' Right? Let me give you some perspective because Health Canada charged them for selling without a Drug Identification Number for all of the year of 2003. I was their lawyer and I forced the world's expert in treating bipolar disorder to take the stand - I had to subpoena him to get him there - and once he's on the stand, he has to answer my questions.
His name is Dr. Charles Popper, he teaches at the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He will not teach medical students, he won't even teach doctors. He will teach psychiatrists how to become child and adolescent psychiatrists.
There are two psychiatric wards in the U.S. that will certify you to be a psychiatrist, he helped set up both of their standards boards.
He pioneered drug treatments and diagnoses for children. So, he's the guy that pioneered how do you diagnose a child with depression and what chemical pharmaceutical drugs you use to treat depression in children. He basically explained and pioneered how you diagnose a child with bipolar disorder - very widespread in the U.S., less so in Canada - and the protocol, then, for treating them was with adult psychiatric drugs.
He is the founding editor of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology and was its editor for ten years. He is the only psychiatrist, at the time of the trial, that Harvard would allow to have a clinical practice in any of their hospitals. He would get the bipolar patients that the other psychiatrists couldn't handle.
So, if you were a psychiatrist in the Boston area and you had a bipolar patient that you couldn't handle, you referred them to Charles Popper. So, this guy got the worst of the worst.
It would take me probably about 20 minutes to explain to you how this guy, who is 'Mr. Pharmaceutical', would even allow a single patient to try a vitamin and mineral supplement for bipolar. So, I'm going to skip that story.
Suffice it to say that one of his patients, against his better judgment, ended up on the EMPower Plus, and got well! And when they took him off the EMPower Plus he got sick, and they put him back on the EMPower Plus and he got well. And so this got him thinking. He had a female patient that it didn't matter what drug cocktails he tried, she just didn't respond. She just suffered. And so he thought, "Well I'm going to let her try EMPower Plus." And she got well! So then he had another tough case and he tried it, and before you know it, basically his whole practice is on EMPower Plus. And he said in court, under oath, it destroyed his practice.
Now listen carefully. So, I asked him, "What do you mean it destroyed your practice." And he said, "Look, when I'm managing my patients under the chemical pharmaceutical drugs, I have to meet with them weekly. Every patient, I have to meet weekly with to counsel them not to commit suicide." He's got the worst of the worst, and basically, most of his job is counseling them not to commit suicide. And he also explained, "These chemical pharmaceutical drugs I have them on, they create so many side effects that I'm constantly having to manage the side effects. I put my patients on EMPower Plus and, listen to this, I meet with them every three to six months. We don't discuss suicide because they're not suicidal. They're back at work, they're back at university, and we're not managing side effects because with the EMPower Plus, maybe the first four to six weeks you kind of have stomach upset and then you have no side effects."
So, he said that it destroyed his practice. So, actually what he did, is he just took on way more patients, treated them with the EMPower Plus, and took on so many more patients that he was still filling his day. So, his case load just increased geometrically because he didn't have to be meeting with his patients weekly.
Now, I asked him, "Well what would happen if EMPower Plus was taken off the market?", because that's what Health Canada was trying to do. And without hesitating he said, "There'd be deaths, there'd be deaths. There would be hospitalizations, and there would also be assaults and interactions with the criminal justice system." He said that he personally would have to give away most of his patients because he would have to go back to managing them on chemical pharmaceutical drugs. And back to the weekly meetings, so he would have to give most of them away to other psychiatrists.
Now, he wasn't blowing smoke either. So, now we have Truehope saying, "Well there would have been deaths." And we have Dr. Charles Popper saying, "Well there'd be deaths."
Truehope is an Alberta company and they have a call center in Alberta. They actually interact with you if you're on their product by forcing you to tell them how you're doing and charting yourself, and all of this. But, the product's manufactured in the United States, and when you order it, it's shipped from the United States. And Health Canada, in an effort to take the product off the market, started telling customs, "Well turn it away when people order."
Two things happened. First of all, smuggling rings sprang up all across Canada. But, people who didn't get involved in smuggling rings, ran out. And some people committed suicide, if we believe the Canadian Mental Health Association. Because the head of Alberta branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, a man by the name of Ron LaJeunesse, made a point of calling a news conference so that he could publicly blame Health Canada for the suicides of two of his members who had committed suicide because they ran out of EMPower Plus and they were not willing to go back to the psych wards. I can tell you, I called several witnesses who testified they had suicide plans in place if they had run out.
So, we're dealing here with a single natural health product where we actually have credible evidence of suicides from Health Canada temporarily restricting access. In our 141 years of Canadian history, we have no evidence of deaths cause by any natural health products.
Now, at the Truehope trial, Health Canada put two Health Canada inspectors on the stand. And the beauty about that is then I get to cross-examine them. I knew from their files that they knew about the allegations of suicide. And so this one female inspector took the stand, and I established that she knew that the Canadian Mental Health Association was blaming Health Canada for deaths caused by them turning the product away. She was actively involved in turning the product away and I asked her, "Did you do anything?" "No", she didn't do anything. She didn't take any steps, listen to this, these are her words, she "didn't believe the news of suicides was relevant to the investigation".
Now these are the people that are protecting our safety. Ron LaJeunesse, just so you're aware, the guy who's publicly blaming them on behalf of Canadian Mental Health Association, used to run all of Alberta's psychiatric institutions and all of their programs for mental health. He is a heavy hitter in the mental health field and on first name with the Minister of Health. He wasn't some quack saying that there were suicides. They never said, "We don't believe that there were suicides." They just took no steps because they said it wasn't relevant. Later on, there was a meeting after that with Truehope people and other Health Canada people and this inspector was there. And the Truehope people are talking about, "Listen, there have been suicides." Again, she didn't look into these allegations. She said there was no evidentiary value into looking into allegations of suicide.
The other inspector, I questioned him. A package of 200 letters was sent to Health Canada early on. Basically, most of them were Truehope participants pleading for their lives saying, "Look, I was in psych wards, I was in and out. And now I'm on the EMPower Plus and I'm doing well." Some of the letters were from doctors and psychiatrists saying, "Don't you dare take this away from my patients. It's going to cause serious health consequences." This inspector said, listen, he ignored it, because it wasn't a policy direction. And he said, "if he had a document indicating people were dying, he would ignore it because it's not a policy or a directive". He said that under the stand. People's hair in the court just stood up on end. He also explained to us that it didn't alarm him that his enforcement actions could be leading to deaths or hospitalizations because he didn't have personal knowledge.
So, these are Health Canada inspectors, people that we'll be giving more powers to under Bill C-51. These are the people who are telling you that they are acting to protect your safety. And what they say though doesn't fit what they do, does it?
Most of you in this audience already buy into the fact that we need natural health products, that we need the alternative health community. But, most of Canadians actually aren't aware of this and they think that regulations are a good thing. And some of us in this room think actually that the natural health products regulations are a good thing and that this presumption that natural health products are dangerous, is a good thing. And you need to understand that if you accept this, if you buy into these regulations in any way, you are basically supporting the premise that underlies them, that natural health products are dangerous and we need these regulations to protect us. Do you understand that? If you accept the regulations, if you accept that we need them, you're buying into this premise supporting them, that natural health products are dangerous. I almost want to yell, that it's false! That it's false! I've told you already about the fact that there have been no deaths or hospitalizations, no deaths in all of Canadian history cause by natural health products.
Now, when Health Canada tells us that natural health products are risky, you have to appreciate that risk is a relative thing. I mean that's like saying something is expensive but not telling you what the cost is. Because it's all relative isn't it? So, risk is relative, so OK let's accept that natural health products are risky. But, risky compared to what? I saw a risk analysis done by a professor from New Zealand named Ron Law. And this is his area of expertise, is risk analysis. And a client had hired him to use Canadian government statistics to show, well how risky are natural health products? And did you know that as a Canadian, you are more likely to be bitten by a shark than harmed by a natural health product? You laugh, but, just so you know, actually some of us actually do get bitten by sharks. Two years ago, I went to Hawaii and the week before I got there, a Canadian got bitten by a shark.
So, it does happen. But, when we're comparing relative risk, you laugh because you're not really worried, as a Canadian, about being bitten by a shark. And, you would probably be offended if the government started restricting our travel to warm places in the winter because of the shark threat. But, understand when you laugh about these examples that it really demonstrates how sick what we're doing is.
My favorite example is the 'peanut butter' example. And, when I say peanuts and peanut butter, there are actually a whole collection of nuts, but we have nut allergies. Every year, in Canada, people die from eating peanuts. It's a fact. So, we could come back here a year from now and have statistics of the number of Canadians that died from eating peanuts. We die, we actually die from eating peanuts. It's a fact. It's the same with shellfish, but let's just stick with peanuts.
If we as taxpayers said to the Government of Canada, we only have limited tax dollars to give you. You keep telling us that you want to make us safe; that's the mantra of the government. So, we want you to do risk analysis and just focus our dollars on where you can save the most lives. So, when we come back here a year from now, there will be the most of us possible coming back. And, it would be a reasonable thing for us to do.
It would actually, then, the government would have to stop funding the National Health Products Directorate. They could take that money, and they could create a 'national peanut butter' taskforce. They could have SWAT teams. They could pass legislation where they abolish the law of trespass, so they can come onto your property and seize your peanut butter. They could have good manufacturing practices and demand double-blind clinical trials, because Canadians want to know if they say 'smooth and creamy' on the label that it's smooth and creamy.
But, you're laughing because it's ridiculous. Peanut butter does not create enough of a risk for us to justify a national peanut butter directorate, and yet, it's riskier than natural health products. So, what are we doing? When the government announced natural health product legislations, people didn't laugh. But, do you understand that when the natural health product regulations came out, Health Canada's estimate was that there were 50,000 natural health products on the market. 50,000. Not a single death.
We've gone four years with basically all of them being unlicensed. We used to not regulate them at all. They're less dangerous than peanut butter. We laugh about regulating peanut butter, we should be laughing about the Natural Health Product Directorates. But, manufacturers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars, we've lost probably 30,000-40,000 products, and nobody's laughing.
The risk doesn't end there. The government says, OK, we have to regulate natural health products because they're dangerous. We know that they're not causing any deaths. But, I'm trying to explain to you that this isn't a zero-sum gain. I've talked about the Strauss Heart Drops, and I've talked about EMPower Plus just to give you two examples. And, I use those examples, by the way, because the clients gave me permission to talk to you about them. I could come up with a whole bunch more examples, but I don't have the permission. So, don't think I'm just cherry-picking. It's just that those two companies were so alarmed by what's happening that they've given me blanket permission to talk about them.
But, if we have 50,000 products on the market, and we expect 55% of those to disappear, we're talking 25,000-30,000 products. Can we pretend that there's not going to be a serious health consequence to removing 25,000-30,000 natural health products from the Canadian market? Can we pretend there's not a health consequence? Do you see how we have it absolutely backwards? The risk is removing the products. That's where the risk lies, and it doesn't end there.
Because if I'm on a natural health product, if you're on a natural health product to manage a health condition and the government takes that product away, they take away your freedom to choose how you are going to treat that health crisis; and they leave you with only one option, going to the allopathic medical system. That allopathic medical system is going to prescribe to you a chemical pharmaceutical drug to deal with your symptoms.
And, I wish I could stand up here and say there's never been a death in Canadian history caused by a chemical pharmaceutical drug. And, you laugh because you just know it's so untrue, but I didn't understand how dangerous these things were. I had to speak at a conference in Toronto about five years ago. It was an international conference, people coming in from all over to talk about how natural health products are being regulated in their country. That's where I met this Ron Law fellow, this risk analysis person from New Zealand.
He explained that in every single western nation, Canada included, their statistic agencies hide from the public the two leading causes of death, which are highly preventable hospital accidents - or incidences, as he called them - and adverse drug reactions, highly preventable adverse drug reactions. Now, he said you could find these. The statistical agencies keep the statistics, and if you dig you can find them.
But, a lot of people outside of these doors, the general public, do not realize that one of their leading risk factors is taking chemical pharmaceutical drugs as prescribed. They did a study to see what's causing the admissions to Vancouver General emergency ward. They were specifically trying to figure out, well how many were adverse drug reactions. And, for the period they measured, 12% of the admissions to the Vancouver General emergency ward were adverse drug reactions to chemical pharmaceutical drugs. Apparently, there's like 1.3 million a year in Canada. We're not talking small change.
And so, here we've got the majority of Canadians using natural health products, and they're not using them because Canadians are stupid. We're using these products because they're delivering real, tangible health benefits for us. The government is saying to protect you, we're going to take away your freedom to choose to deal with your health crisis with natural health products, and force you to go to the allopathic doctor. Do you not think there is going to be a health consequence by forcing people to go to the allopathic doctor?
So, let's assume that the government continues to regulate natural health products the way they're regulating, and they're going to drive 55% of them off of the market. If we came back here in 10 years and asked, OK, we allowed the government to do this, but it was for our safety. How many lives were saved by removing these products off of the market? Because it's for our safety, so how many lives, 10 years from now, how many lives were saved?
Well, let's extrapolate. For the last 141 years, when we didn't even regulate them, there were zero deaths. So, we take half of them off the market, how many deaths are we going to have in the next 10 years? Zero, unless something really unusual happens. Zero. Now, I'm going to ask another question and I've been criticized in the media for asking this question, so now, I feel compelled to ask you the question. So, we continue doing what we're doing and we drive 55% of them off of the market. If we come back here 10 years from now, how many lives will what we're doing have cost, so how many people will have died because we drove 55% of the natural health products off of the market?
I've been criticized in the media for asking the question, but we're talking 25,000-30,000 products. There will be serious health consequences, and you're forcing people onto the chemical pharmaceutical drugs, which is one of our highest risk factors. How can it be then, if we're all aware that what we're doing is actually going to cost lives? We're actually talking life and death. This isn't a game. We're talking about the lives of our friends and family. This is a life and death issue. And yet, society at large is just sitting down, watching this happen.
So, we're actually in a quite a dangerous game in how we're going to vote things, but let me turn to Bill C-51 because it's part of the puzzle. And, Bill C-51 does some fantastic things, and I mean that in a pejorative sense. One thing that it does is that it allows a Health Canada inspector to force a recall.
Now, the media supports this, and a lot of people in the public, they go, "Well, that's a good thing, isn't it? Don't we want a Health Canada inspector to be able to force a dangerous product off of the market?" And, the key word there is Health Canada inspector because most people don't realize Health Canada can force products off the market now but they've go to go to a court.
There's funny little things out there called courts. And so right now, if Health Canada asks a company to recall and the company will not recall, then they have to go to court and say, "Will you grant an injunction, please?" And, I can tell you, listen, if you're a judge and a regulatory body appears in front of you and says there's a health risk and they have even a little bit of evidence there's a health risk, you're going to grant an injunction because it's just a preventative thing. They're easy for them to get if they have evidence. And also, people aren't asking, "Well, wait a second, do we have a problem with companies not recalling?"
Now, let's talk about chemical pharmaceutical companies. And, I'm purely speculating here. I have not acted for a chemical pharmaceutical company ever, and I probably won't unless they hire me to help them wind down.
So, I'm speculating. But, I'm speculating that if a Health Canada inspector tells a chemical pharmaceutical company to recall a product, that they recall it. And, I'm speculating because, can you imagine if a chemical pharmaceutical company left a product on the market after Health Canada said recall and there were deaths? Like, the class action lawsuit would just be tremendous.
A chemical pharmaceutical company, these multi-billion dollar companies, are not afraid of charges under the Food and Drug Act. That's like a fly buzzing around their head. They don't care. They care about civil judgments. They care about being charged with criminal negligence under the criminal code. That's what scares them. Who cares about a fine under the Food and Drug Act. You know, if you're a multi-billion dollar company, really, who cares?
So, I'm speculating that there isn't a problem. And, I've never heard of a chemical pharmaceutical company failing to recall. Maybe it's happened. I do know that natural health product manufacturers have failed to recall. And, let me explain to you why that happens. So, because they come to me and ask like, "Should we recall?" And I'll use Terry, Terry Bell where are you? Just stand up for a sec so people know who I'm talking about because I'm going to use his company, Wild Vineyard as an example. And, he's going to talk in a little bit.
But, so what will happen is Health Canada will tell a company to recall, and so the company comes to me. And, the first thing I say is, "Well, stop selling." And, it's pretty well, every time it's the case they've already stopped selling. Because any company, if Health Canada says that there's a danger, they're going to stop selling before they come to me. But, the question is, is then do they recall? Because a whole bunch of legal consequences follow if you recall.
So, then what we do is we analyze the safety risk. So, in the Wild Vineyard case, Health Canada was saying, "Look it, we've analyzed four of your products and we found there was arsenic in your products at an unacceptably high level. And so, there was a safety concern, please take your products off the market."
Now, Health Canada would not share their lab results, and they never do. So, we had, we sent the same product, same batch, same lot to an independent lab. And, there's only a couple of labs in Canada that can tell you with arsenic what your total amount of arsenic is, and how much is organic, and how much is inorganic. Now, for those of you who don't know, it is absolutely crucial to know how much is inorganic because organic arsenic is safe. You can eat organic arsenic all day. We've got some in the coffee thing there in the back.
It's safe. In fact, go on the Health Canada website in their search function, type in arsenic. Like within a couple of minutes you'll find their documents saying organic arsenic is safe.
The lab results come back basically showing it's all organic arsenic. And, we'd expect arsenic to be in there. The products contain seaweed, like most seaweed contains arsenic, click. Big deal.
So, we now know that Health Canada's risk analysis is a fraud. It's false. It's wrong. And, we shared our lab results with them but they still went after the company.
But then, I have to, because as a lawyer I have to advise them, "Well, what do we do?" And, I have to ask the companies a further set of questions. I have to ask, "Is there any danger to taking your products off the market? So, are there Canadians out there that are relying on the products for health conditions, and are we in a situation where we couldn't, you know, for logistical reasons, or any other reason, transition them onto other products?" Because if you withdraw the products and you cause harm, you're guilty of criminal negligence.
We have, as a society, said that you cannot put a treatment out there, have people come to rely on the treatment, and then withdraw the treatment and harm people, we call that criminal. In fact, if people die, it's a life imprisonment. OK? For public policy reasons, we don't want that to happen. In fact, in the Truehope case, in the judge's oral decision he said they would have been guilty of criminal negligence if they had listened to Health Canada and stopped selling. The judge said that.
So, I have to advise the client because it's not just the Food and Drug Act obligations, there's other obligations. And, if the answer is no, we actually think if we withdraw the product, it's going to cause harm, then I have to tell the client, "Well, OK, if you do the right thing and you defy Health Canada, they're going to hurt you. They're going to charge you, but you'll survive." OK, under the current Food and Drug Act, they can charge you, but most companies can survive. The fines aren't small enough, it's actually my bill that hurts the most.
So, but, they'll publish health advisories and warnings and they'll hurt your business. OK? But, if Bill C51 passes, the fines go from $5,000 maximum to $5,000,000 maximum. I don't know a natural health product company that could survive that. And, they're usually charged with multiple counts, like in Strauss it was 73. And, like Truehope, they whittled it down and we agreed to run a trial on one count. Truehope was charged with selling a drug, or a, you know, EMPower Plus without a drug identification number from January 1st of 2003 to December 31st of 2003. If they had been convicted, they would have had a single fine. But, Bill C51 now says that every day is a separate offense. So, that would be 365 charges and 365 fines. Do you see how a company's not going to be able to survive stuff like that?
And so now, I would have to tell, if Bill C51 passes, my legal advice will change. So, when a company is in a situation where ethically they should defy Health Canada and not recall, I have to tell a company, "OK, that's the ethical thing to do, but understand that you will be personally bankrupted because Bill C51 makes directors and managers now personally liable, and your company will be bankrupted, and all of your products will forever be removed from the market. So, just understand that." And, it's going to grieve me to have to give that advice. So, that's the recall thing that the media supports and thinks is a great thing.
Another really amazing thing about Bill C51 is it's now an offense not to listen to a Health Canada inspector, like those two in the Truehope file that thought that our deaths were not relevant.
So, Health Canada inspector, and there's no limit on what directions they give. So, they could walk into a homeopathic doctor's office and say, "You stop providing this treatment." That doctor could have hundreds of people being successfully managed on that treatment, and it would be now an offense for the homeopathic doctor to defy the inspector. And, I can tell you I have never run across a Health Canada inspector who is qualified to make a health decision. That is a health decision. It is not a regulatory decision. It is a health decision.
A Health Canada inspector could go to a manufacturer and say, "You stop putting this ingredient in your product." Or, "You stop selling this product altogether." That is a health decision. These people are not qualified to be making health decisions. These are not just regulatory decisions, but they're health decisions. And, I find it absolutely fantastic that we would give Health Canada inspectors the power to make health decisions. How does that make us safe? What is it now about our act? What powers don't they have now to actually legitimately regulate the industry? They can now, if Bill C51 passes, they can basically adopt international law, international treaty, simply by regulation. They could pass a regulation saying we're adopting the German law as it applies to natural health products.
To pass a regulation, it doesn't go through Parliament. You publish it in a magazine called the Canada Gazette 1. You wait a certain period of time for people to bitch and complain, and then you publish again in Gazette 2 and it's law. It's not debated. It doesn't matter whether you're a minority government or majority government.
Did you hear that? It doesn't matter if you're majority or minority. You can be a minority government and no one can stop you. You can pass regulations.
Usually, before we would adopt a major law, we have these things we would introduce into Parliament called bills and we debate them. We want to give Health Canada the power to adopt foreign laws and treaties without Parliamentary supervision? I don't think we do. It's crazy that that's in there. We're in the process of being positioned for a takedown, the industry is.
I want to talk to you a little bit about some of the government's tactics. I'm hoping that I'm instilling in you that Bill C51 is a huge problem. It's part of a pattern. The government has recently come out with a tactic to basically stop the opposition to Bill C51. We already have a couple of problems. Bill C51 is just an awful bill that is going to give inspectors powers that are going to destroy the industry. But, some groups are saying "Don't stop Bill C51, amend Bill C51." Probably all of you have seen "Amend Bill C51" postcards and stuff like that in health food stores. That's absolutely crazy. We're being split. We need to stop this bill. Laws that people support that are positive get amended. Try and find a bill that doesn't get amended. Every bill gets amended.
If you write to an MP saying "I want a bill amended" it means "It better pass, just amend it." So it's diffusing the message, and the government has come out and said "Well, we've amended it. We've amended it. We have created a separate third category for natural health products. We have stopped regulating them as drugs. We have now protected your access."
The Minister of Health has been saying this publicly. The government is publishing it and it's false. What they've done is taken a definition, not even the same one that's in the regulations. It's more like thr drug definition and they've put it into Bill C51. If we took the entire natural health product regulations and we moved them into Bill C51, are we changing how we're regulating natural health products? No. We've just moved them from the regulations to the Act.
All we've done is actually made it harder to change how we're regulating them because it's easier to change a regulation. They still fit within the definition of drug. It's really been a smoke and mirrors, but you see how effective it is. We're getting call after call after call, people going "We won. We don't have to be mad anymore. We don't have to write our MP." I'm just bringing it up so that I hope you in this room understand that it's basically a policy ploy and that's a problem.
I also want you to understand that we have a problem with Bill C52. Does anyone here know what Bill C52 is? So Bill C51 is introduced, an act to amend the Food and Drug Act. Right after that, Prime Minister Steven Harper introduces Bill C52, The Consumer Protection Act. That one, the government, I don't know how much they've spent advertising. In the Kamloops paper it was a half-page ad "Protecting You and Your Family" and there were these pictures of these precious vulnerable kids and I look at it and I go "Oh, right on, the government's protecting me and my family." They've been running newspaper ads. It plays to our sense of protection, safety, right?
I just got woken up at night a couple weeks later with this sense that I have to have a hard look at the bill and write a policy paper on it. I'm not an expert in consumer protection, so the first thing I had to do was go, "Well, what's the existing law?" Because, it's still not law yet. Are we unsafe now? We have the Hazardous Products Act where the government can actually make an order banning any product, forcing any product off the market. There are fines in the millions of dollars. That's not protecting us?
The difference is, when they make an order under the Hazardous Products Act, they have to table it in Parliament so anyone can criticize it. If they renew it and carry on with any seizure or any stop order, the person or company can actually have a review board look at it. That review board is like a court. They can subpoena witnesses. They can hire experts. They force testimony under oath. There is rule of law. There is due process.
But Bill C52 takes that away. It's like Bill C51, with their right to go in and seize, abolishes the law of trespasses. I just need to explain right now, if the government, including Health Canada, wants to seize your property, they have to go to court and ask for permission. Let's say Health Canada wants to seize the contents of a health food store, they have to go to a court and ask for a warrant.
In a court, they're really funny, they'll actually want to know "Why?" and "Give us a little bit of evidence." Because, courts, and they're quirky this way, they'll only let the state take your property for a legal purpose. If then if you take the property, you have to go right back to the court and give them a list of what you seized. Then the court will make you come back in 30 days and explain why you still need it. You can get a couple of extensions, but sooner or later a court will order the property to go back, unless you've done something.
You either have to lay charges and get the criminal process going or you have to apply to forfeit the property to the state, but courts will not let the state just take property and sit on it because then they're not holding it for a legal purpose. Under Bill C51 and Bill C52, the police or the inspection officers can seize property without a warrant, without reporting to the court, hold it for an undefined period of time, and then they decide whether or not to destroy it.
Bill C52 even goes further and they have these administrative penalties, where they issue you a violation and you're deemed to be guilty. You never get to go to court. If you think "just wait a second, I'm not guilty," you appeal to the minister. You don't get to go to court. He'll have some Health Canada employee appointed for this.
It's not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It's balance of probabilities, which is the civil standard. They abolish the defenses of due diligence and honest but mistaken belief, but the part I like the most is if they've seized your property and they find you guilty of an administrative offense, the fact that you're guilty of an administrative offense they can use to keep your property. It's the guy who's deciding whether or not you're guilty who gets to keep your property. Do you see a problem with this?
We are setting a precedent where we're moving away from the rule of law. So, in the consumer protection area, aside from the fact that we already have a kick-butt legal process in place to protect us, people are standing by to allow the government to implement a set of laws that move us away from the rule of law. Even if it's an area you could care less... let's say they were doing this in transport or widgets, or something that you didn't care about, it didn't affect you personally. It does affect you personally if the government is setting a precedent in any area where the state can take your property, where the state can decide how long to keep it, where the state can decide whether to destroy it. Then it's where the state, they get together for coffee afterwards and decide whether it was right or wrong.
We cannot stand for that. We're creating a very dangerous situation. We need you when you oppose Bill C51 to also oppose Bill C52. I'm just about to stop because we need to allow Terry Bell to speak. I hope that I've upset you tonight in driving home to you that what we're doing is actually dangerous. I hope that that question that I asked you, "If we were to come back here in 10 years, how many lives have we cost by driving the products off the market?" sticks with you because this is a matter of life and death. This is a matter of how we will deal with health crises when they occur in our lives and it's not a small matter.