Wednesday April 16, 2014


QUESTION OF THE WEEK

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Letters

Health priorities questioned

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Dear Editor,

On Sept. 24, local MP John Weston proposed a new private member’s bill that encourages local governments across Canada to open sports facilities for free public access, on the first Saturday of June each year.

Weston added, “We should be aiming to be the fittest nation on earth. People from all parties and backgrounds are realizing that together we can improve people’s health; reduce health care costs, and benefit the economy.”

I find it troubling that a fitness buff such as Mr. Weston, a regular participant in the GranFondo and the Whistler Half Marathon, fails to (or chooses not to) connect the dots that affect our overall health.

Everything is hitched to everything else on this earth, and frankly, I no longer trust our federal Conservative Government to manage our overall health and safety.

Free use of a playing field once a year is easily negated if Canadians are living without clean air or water, or if the health of corporations (imaginary people) is more important than public health (real people).

Case in point. On Feb. 4, 2013, Canadians will lose their right to purchase many herbs and vitamins when UPLAR (Natural Health Products Unprocessed Product Licence Applications Regulations) goes into effect. Under Bill C-38, Health Canada (Canada’s FDA) will have legal authority to pull unlicensed herbs and vitamins off the shelves, with jail time and fines against the sellers. Vitamins currently available in health food stores will be replaced with low-dosage, inferior products made by pharmaceutical companies. Health Canada alone will determine whether a product is safe or effective.

An ill-informed government agency has no role in deciding what we use as medicine, or the natural, unadulterated foods we choose to consume.

The current Conservative Government is failing the health and safety of Canadians by refusing to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) found in our food, and by gutting Canada's stringent environmental laws to favour mining and oil interests above the common good, such as fisheries. Its push to approve the controversial Northern Gateway Pipeline Project at all costs will devastate our pristine coastlines and coastal communities forever.

Our elected officials need to start thinking less about their six-figure pensions and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and focus on the long-term well-being of the people they represent.

You can't become the fittest people on earth when the food and water you're consuming is making you sick, and our farms and rivers are turning into wastelands for fracking residue and tailings ponds.

If our MPs are serious about reducing our country's health care costs, they need to place their neo-conservative ideology aside and reinstate the hundreds of jobs cut by the Harper government at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, so that the recent E. coli disaster doesn't repeat itself. That's what happens when governments allow corporations to self regulate.

Pina Belperio

Whistler, BC


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