Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Future of American Foreign Policy

By Dr David Laing Dawson

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

Hey Justin. You go girl. Elbow those Commies. I’ll cover your legal bills. I got your back.

Donald J Trump @realDonaldTrump

@JudgeGonzalesCuriel. Mexican. Hostile, hostile, a hater. Total disgrace, okay. They should look into him. This is real life folks. OK.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

@Putin my man. Love those pecs and delts. But I got it big where it counts. Lemme tell ya. Okay.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

@China. Yo, leader, keep your pathetic little planes away from our thunderbolts. I’ll make you a deal. I’m a great deal maker. You better believe it. Got a whole University available. Good Price.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

Really Merkel, can’t you find anything classy in your closet. Come to New York and let me buy you some clothes. Not a bathing suit though, lol. Eww. Disgusting.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

You see people. What’d I tell you. Another plane down. Pathetic.

#ISIS, Al queda, whatever. You can’t hide from me. Your days are numbered. I promise you. Okay.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

@Israel@therealNetanyahu.  Hey, we’re behind you buddy. Send me the specs on your wall. You notice those Palestinians look like Mexicans. Eh. Huh. Huh?

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

@Vincente Fox. Funny accent man. You are a pathetic loser. I’m a winner. See next.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

From@BARBfromKansas. You are wonderful. I want your baby.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

#Muslim lovers. We’ve rounded up thousands. Who wants ‘em? Trade for some Coptic Christians. Egypt huh, C’mon. #the dealmaker. We’ll throw in some Mexicans.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

I love women. I really do. I love them all over. Sorry, not now Melania. I’m working. See, she wants me. All women do. Even Megyn. Really. Okay. I’ve got it down there. I’m telling you.

Donald J Trump @realDonaldTrump

@Europe #bigwars. Hey, we saved your asses twice. Big time. Not gonna do it again. Not. Maybe you pay us for those first two. Or get your own nukes. Pathetic.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

@Sadiq Khan. Why would I want to visit London? It’s old and dirty. Oh yes. I forgot. I own half of it. Sell me your Mosque. I’ll put up another Trump Tower. #thedealmaker

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

Huh, huh. @ISIS I told you I wouldn’t tell you when or how. Gone baby, gone. All glowy like with radioactive particles now. Pretty sight. Okay.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

Sorry about all those Roman ruins. Nobody really cared about them. Besides. I got plans. How about the Palmyra Casino? Las Vegas. #money. People. People. America first.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

@Tehran. What can you do? The wind is the wind. Could have evacuated. I told you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Right. Am I right or am I right.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

@Putin. #missiles. C’mon Vlad, you don’t really wanna do that, do you? All over a little desert real estate? I wouldn’t build a motel on any of it. Sand and stink. Oww. Really? You wanna see how big my missile is? Here’s the button. Gonna do it. Gonna do it.

Donald J Trump @ realDonaldTrump

@Kim Hey. The Donald here. You got a little place for me on the coast. Next to Rodman maybe? I’m worth billions.


What if Mental Health Awareness Was Successful – Chaos?

By Marvin Ross

Mental health awareness week/month/whatever is designed, in part, to reduce the stigma towards what is called mental health issues and problems – a politically correct phrase. One commenter on my last post that was skeptical of mental health awareness pointed out that stigma prevents people from seeking treatment. “If more individuals with mental differences (a politically correct phrase if ever I’ve heard one) seek help, they will be less likely to commit crimes, or end up homeless.”

Let’s say that’s true. All those people who were afraid of stigma actually began to seek help. Where would they find it?

They won’t because It is not there!

As I pointed out in my blog on Mental Health Awareness, the Mood Disorder Society of Canada found that 91% of people who were seeking help in Canada wanted to have greater access to professionals. Over one third had to wait for over a year to get a diagnosis.

This past winter, a 17 year old girl was discharged from an Ottawa hospital still suicidal after spending 8 nights in the emergency room waiting for a psychiatric bed. That same month, the emergency room in the Ontario city of Guelph was at a standstill because they had a psychiatric bed shortage. There were over 10 people in a psychiatric crisis with no beds for them. In Vancouver, a man is discharged from hospital early and given a bus ticket. Within an hour, he jumps off a bridge.

Inuk artist, Beatrice Deer has recently complained that “it was difficult to get therapy, because there weren’t any therapists,” as she pleads for a state of emergency to deal with suicides

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration reported that only 35% of the reasons given for failing to seek help was because of what we could call stigma – negative opinions from others was at 10.6% and negative impact on jobs was 9.5%. The absolute biggest reason was that they simply could not afford to get help at 45.4%. A little over a quarter thought they could deal with the problem on there own.

What if the US had universal health care like other industrialized countries and cost was not an issue? From everything that I’ve read, they do not have sufficient resources. The Treatment Advocacy Center has begun a national campaign to lobby for more psychiatric resources in that country.

In Canada, we do have universal health care. Psychiatric services and hospital stays are free. The problem is that we do not fund psychiatric care to the same extent as we do other illnesses. In my last blog, I cited this from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto:

While mental illness accounts for about 10% of the burden of disease in Ontario, it receives just 7 per cent of health care dollars. Relative to this burden, mental health care in Ontario is underfunded by about $1.5 billion.

The provincial auditor in British Columbia has just released a report pointing out that mentally ill people in that province need more services than they are getting now.

So, let’s forget about stigma and focus on getting proper funding for those who suffer from mental illness. A mental illness is no less worthy than cancer, heart disease or any other illness.

It’s time for parity.


A Dose Of Reality Is Needed For Mental Health Week

By Marvin Ross and 1st published in Huffington Post May 11, 2016

In Canada, the first week in May is designated “Mental Health Week,” and according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, the purpose is “to encourage people from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health”. We are encouraged to #getloud for mental health.

In the US, the entire month of May is devoted to “mental health”.

However, I have to say that I am perplexed about the reason we “celebrate” mental health in both Canada and the US. I assume we are celebrating, but I’m not really sure what we are celebrating or what we are doing.

What is not “celebrated” is our abysmal record on providing treatment and resources to those who suffer from serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression and other illnesses. And note, I said illness not health. There is a difference. A poster circulating on the internet expresses the problem extremely well. It says:

Saying “Mental Health” for schizophrenia is like saying “Physical Health” for cancer

You can substitute serious mental illness for schizophrenia above.

Justin Trudeau had this to say at the start of the week, “Let us use our voices this week to help change the way society views mental health issues and those living with them. Now is the time to GET LOUD for mental health.”

And of course, he uses the word issue as in mental health issues. Hamilton psychiatrist and fellow blogger on Mind You, Dr. David Laing Dawson, discussed the use of the word issue in one of his blogs and commented that “by calling mental illness an issue we are placating the deniers of mental illness and we are reducing it to an abstraction, a topic for discussion and debate, rather than a reality in our midst….”

And he ended his blog by stating “But let’s stop with the “issue” when we are naming or describing a painful reality.”

The painful reality of mental illness in both the US and Canada is that we do not have enough resources like hospital beds, community treatment, housing, etc to provide the proper treatment that is currently available for these who suffer.

Readers of my blogs on Huffington Post know that many of them deal with the inadequate services that those with the most serious mental illnesses receive in Canada. It is hard to pick out one as so many of them deal with this problem. If we were to have a realistic group of people representing the faces of mental illness in Canada, we would have someone who is in solitary confinement in a prison and someone who is homeless.

One of Correction Services Canada’s top priorities is to deal with the mental health needs of its population. They estimate that 38% of incoming prisoners suffer with a mental illness. In his June 2015 report, the Correctional Investigator of Canada, Harold Sapers, found that “mental health issues are two to three times more common in prison than in the general community”.

In Ontario, the Globe and Mail recently analyzed the long-term solitary confinement of prisoners in Ontario and found that 40% were locked away for more than 30 or more straight days. This is twice the limit permitted by the UN in its Nelson Mandela Rules.

The Globe reported that:

On 40 per cent of the files, staff gave mental health or special needs as part of the justification for their prolonged segregation, a figure that seems to clash with provincial policy stating that segregation should never be used for inmates with mental illness until all other housing alternatives have been considered and documented.

In the US, a recent report disclosed that there are 10 times the number of mentally ill in prison than in state psychiatric hospitals. Most of them, the report states, would have been in psychiatric hospitals before they began to be closed. The largest mental hospital in the US is Cook County Jail in Chicago.

And what about homelessness? According to the Centre For Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, surveys of various Canadian cities put the percentage of homeless who suffer from mental illness at between 23 and 67 per cent. Furthermore, “While mental illness accounts for about 10% of the burden of disease in Ontario, it receives just 7 per cent of health care dollars. Relative to this burden, mental health care in Ontario is underfunded by about $1.5 billion”.

Again, in the US, about one third of the homeless are people who suffer from untreated mental illness

In a 2015 survey done by the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, the top priority for the respondents (91 per cent) was the need to have greater access to professionals. Over one third (38 per cent) said that the wait for diagnosis was over 12 months. In the most recent tragedy that took place in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Week, a 38 year old man was released from Burnaby, BC General Hospital where he had resided for three days due to suicidal thoughts. His mother had asked hospital staff to release him to her care but they did not do that. They gave him a bus ticket and sent him on his own. He committed suicide shortly after.

Clearly, as a society, we need more than simply being aware of mental health once or twice a year. We need a time when we can reflect collectively on how inadequately we treat those amongst us who have a brain illness. And we need to lobby to right that wrong. The money spent on these awareness campaigns could be put to better use providing more services for those who desperately need them.

Advocating for the mentally ill

By Marilyn Baker from Marilyn’s Blog, April 30, 2016

People with serious mental illness need an advocate at least as much as people with other health problems, and probably more. When the brain malfunctions, the patient can (and often does) make poor decisions, with very negative consequences.

For me, advocacy means doing whatever it takes to get my loved one’s life running  smoothly  and keeping it that way.  In actual practice, it is often driven by a reaction to a crisis.

Advocacy should also mean doing things to enrich their lives and enhance their care. In general, a good goal would be to raise public awareness about serious mental illness.

So far I have not found much time for the awareness and enhancement part.  I have been mainly busy trying to smooth out the bumps in day-to-day living for my loved one.

I will give some examples of the things I have been doing for my loved one. They tend to be very specific.  I expect that you, the reader,  will have your own list of things that you have done and are doing now.  My hope is that by communicating about it, it will help all of our loved ones to get better care.

Since writing the words “loved one” gets monotonous, let’s abbreviate it to “LO.”  LO can be either male or female, in keeping with the fact that severe mental illness does not discriminate by gender and afflicts men and women equally.  For ease in sentence construction, I will use “he” or “him” or “his”, but it also can mean  ”she” or “her” or “hers.”


A lot of the stuff I do involves the writing of letters and filling of forms and emailing people. Some of the activities have been triggered as the result of a crisis. Not all have been successful – yet. Advocacy is a work-in-progress.

My first success was with Canada Pension Plan.  I applied and got a CPP Disability pension for LO. It took four years, but in the end it was worth it. The pension is small, reflecting the very limited time he was able to work before becoming ill, but it helps with the rent.

I helped LO to file three years’ worth of tax returns, which recovered some long lost  refunds. I became his CRA authorized representative,  and I continue to help him file each year.

LO had no  medical coverage for a while.  Everything had just fallen through the cracks after he become ill.  So, as his advocate, I helped him to apply for MSP coverage. Because of the three years tax filings, he was able to qualify for premium assistance. He is also able to benefit from BC’s Fair Pharmacare program. It is a very good system because it is income based. This means that he is able to afford the many medications he needs.  Over the years he has also been helped with other onerous costs such as ambulance fees.

Power of Attorney or Representation Agreements  are important legal tools for the advocate.  These agreements require the cooperation of the ill person. Unfortunately, so far,  LO has not agreed to very much. The agreements make it easier to manage finances, such as paying rent and hydro, when the patient gets too ill to manage things himself.

Housing and apartment rentals are sometimes made easier if someone is willing to co-sign the rental agreement.  Over the years I have also provided references, arranged for movers, and biweekly cleaning services.

I write letters  to doctors, hospitals, nurses, social workers, case managers, police … The letters have mainly been to say “thank you” for  helping LO through some difficult times. I also keep in communication with his doctors to provide feedback on how the meds are working.  Sometimes I give negative feedback, such as expressing my grave concern at the appalling discharge practices at some Toronto hospitals.

Other advocacy involves trying to resolve crises: One letter to Air Canada resulted in LO getting a significant sum of money refunded for an unused airline ticket. Fortunately, he had kept the boarding pass  which was the only proof of purchase found among his belongings. There are many more, too numerous to recount here, but suffice it to say all would have been made easier if we had had a Representation Agreement signed.

I provide a permanent mailing address for important things, such as government, CRA and banking correspondence.


Since I am a writer a lot of what I do is writing.

  1. I write letters to editors, usually in response to an article or horrific event involving a person with a serious mental illness. I also find it therapeutic to rant.
  2. I write letters and emails to people in power, such as my MLA or MP. Invariably, I receive a reply within nanoseconds, thanking me profusely for writing and promising to forward it to someone whose job it is to send constituent’s emails to the bit bucket. But I keep trying.
  3. I write articles for publication in newspapers. I blog. I follow people on Twitter. I “LIKE” and retweet articles of interest. I make comments in online comment boards on pertinent articles. I have sparring matches with anti-psychiatry buffs on over book reviews.  Until they cut off public participation and denied me access, I contributed to the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Collaborative Spaces , by providing useful links to new research, treatments and other interesting articles by Susan Inman & Marvin Ross & others.

My hope is that if enough of us do this sort of general advocacy, sometime soon maybe some of it will stick and we will see real change in how our most vulnerable citizens are treated.


– Supported housing  is first and foremost of importance

– Absurd privacy laws need changing, or at least explained better

– Bus pass program needs reinstating and made more generally available for disabled people

– Assisted suicide legislation needs input from mental illness advocates

– Hospital discharge planning needs work

– Teachers, university professors, nurses and doctors need more training on mental illness


  1. Write from the heart, they will feel your pain.
  2. Use technology: Twitter, Facebook, emails make it easier; follow research online *
  3. Be tenacious. Never take no for an answer and never give up!


* I have a growing list of websites that are invaluable in providing the latest exciting news on new breakthroughs in mental illness research. I sign up to receive their newsletters. Things are exciting and very positive!

Also Good for Gout, Hair Loss, Female Troubles and Lack of Energy…

By Marvin Ross

 This article first appeared in the now defunct MD Canada Magazine in the July/August 2004 issue. Given the topic over the past two weeks on “alternatives” , I thought it would be informative to post this as it is still, sadly, relevant. And an update on the trial that I talked about two weeks ago on the preventable death of a child. David and Collet Stephan were found guilty by a jury for failing to provide the necessities of life to their child who died of meningitis by feeding him “alternative” products…….


When Dr. Terry Polevoy, a Kitchener, Ontario, anti-quack advocate, invited me to join him and Dr. Eva Briggs, a physician from Marcellus, New York, to investigate the latest products available at the Total Health Fair in Toronto, I jumped at the chance. In the past, this show delighted me with the fallacies perpetuated by its speakers and the banalities of their products.

Billed as “North America’s premier natural health show”, the event has been held every year since 1977 by the Toronto-based Consumer Health Organization of Canada.

The group’s website describes it as “… a non-profit organization… founded in 1975. Its mission is to improve the quality and longevity of our life [sic] using the ‘wholistic approach’. This approach encompasses our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and economic well-being.” (And, yes, they do consistently spell “holistic” with a w.)

While similar to the scores of holistic and wellness exhibits that are held around North America, this show attracts almost all the major stars in alternative medicine at one time and in one place — the people who fill the airwaves of talk radio and TV across the continent and whose books are prominently displayed in major book stores everywhere.

The website features a very long list of “alternative” health care books, arranged by topic from “AIDS” to “Vegetarian”, touching on aromatherapy, chronic fatigue, homeopathy, pet care and vaccination along the way. (Many of the books are highly suspicious of vaccination, as one might expect.)

One of the books offered is, The Good News Is That HIV Doesn’t Cause It, subtitled, The bad news is that recreational drugs and medical treatments like AZT do, by Peter Duesberg — the most prominent of the HIV deniers.

Another, entitled BioBalance: The Acid/Alkaline Solution states “Anxiety, depression, fatigue, panic attacks, insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, undiagnosable headaches, undiagnosable digestive disorders, weight disorders and a host of other conditions are not, as is commonly and erroneously believed, stress induced. Instead, these symptoms are almost always the result of acid/alkaline imbalances in blood biochemistry, which can be controlled nutritionally.”

All this would be merely amusing were it not for the fact that thousands of people attend these shows and that these “alternative” treatments and products represent a $4-billion-per-year industry in Canada.

Two years ago, Dr. Polevoy and I had attended that year’s version of the show along with Windsor physician Dr. Tony Hammer. Both Terry and Tony, at different times, were unable to restrain their anger, jumped to their feet and raised objections with the speakers. The audience turned on us and, later, a little old lady pointed us out to a security guard who then came over to inquire if we had been disruptive and to warn us to behave.

Recent controversy surrounding the event, however, may have dampened some of the participants’ enthusiasm, but not the delusions of the speakers or their zeal to sell their books and products. In 2001, there was an enormous public outcry when one of the keynote speakers was the anti-Semitic American writer and holocaust denier, Eustace Mullins. He was to have given talks entitled The Rockefeller Medical Monopoly: The Hidden Forces Behind The Myths Of Modern Medicine and Criminality In Banking. Organizers denied any knowledge of his racist views but canceled his visit when the Canadian Jewish Congress demanded that Immigration Canada refuse him entry into the country.

This year, Hulda Clark canceled her visit at the last moment for unknown reasons. She is the proponent of the theory that diseases like cancer and AIDS are caused by parasites that can be eliminated from the body by electrical gizmos called “zappers” and “syncrometers”. The Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. has successfully prosecuted some of these manufacturers. Hulda Clark operates out of a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, and is the author of a book called The Cure for All Cancers. She was to give two seminars on the use of her devices, which cost $130 each, but she did not show up.

Another last minute “no-show” was Texas naturopath Gary Tunsky. Rumours at the conference suggested that he had been prevented from entering Canada by either customs or immigration officials because he was bringing banned products into the country. This has not been confirmed, but officials for the show did mention that he was bringing in products that could save lives and that was the reason he was banned.

Len Horowitz filled in. He is a Harvard trained dentist with a master’s degree in public health. He is a frequent guest on Canadian radio and TV shows. Len Horowitz coined the phrase “iatrogenocide” and believes that vaccines and drugs “play a primary role in what amounts to genocide for profit, psychosocial control and even depopulation,” according to an Internet ad for one of his tapes.

During his presentation, Len Horowitz did say that the “I.G. Farben and Rockefeller cartel” monopolizes modern medicine and that “medical deities follow the Rockefeller agenda”. Sugar, coffee and pharmaceuticals, he told the audience, are addictions and he personally begins his day with a 15-ounce glass of cayenne pepper dissolved in warm water. This is an alkalizing agent, he says, so it is good for coronary artery disease and high cholesterol.

Len Horowitz said all chronic illnesses, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases require that the body be “acidified” and so he suggests drinking vast amounts of water every day — his formula is one ounce of water per day for every two pounds of body weight. (A 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces of water daily, he said.) Oxygenating blood is crucial, he said, since this will rid the body of diseases like HIV and hepatitis. He also claimed that ridding the body of mercury from the fillings in the mouth or by preventing vaccinations is also very important for good health.

Needless to say, many of the products necessary to accomplish this cleansing of the body (along with his books) were for sale at his booth in the exhibits section of the fair. Len Horowitz recently moved to Hawaii where he runs a health spa on 29 acres of land. He spent considerable time talking about the beauty of the location.

Many of the participants at these events are very much opposed to the new regulations governing natural health products recently introduced by Health Canada and are organizing public opposition to them. They feel that “nutraceuticals” are simply foods and should not be regulated and that health claims for them should be allowed. Therefore, the special guest heading up a panel discussion was B.C. MP James Lunney, a chiropractor, who has introduced a private member’s bill (Bill C-420) that would remove so-called natural health products from the Food and Drug Act.

James Lunney seemed to take great pride in stating that the new Conservative Party may endorse his bill and help fight for alternative medicine. He said he personally does not agree that randomized control trials are the standard of proof needed, but rather that “observation is the foundation of all true science”. Current treatment guidelines are suspect, he said, since 80% of them are developed by doctors who have “connections to big pharma.” His goal is to divert $25 million into research for natural health products.

The moderator was Helke Ferrie, a writer and owner of an alternative health publishing company. Helke Ferrie wrote the book on Dr. Josef Krop’s dispute with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Dr. Krop was found guilty by the College for using “vega machines” in his practice to diagnose allergies. He is somewhat of a martyr in alternative medicine circles. Helke Ferrie’s publishing company puts out such works as The Plot Against Allergy and Asthma Patients by Dr. Felix Ravikovich, who had his licence suspended for three months in 1995 by the College for professional misconduct associated with his treatment of allergy and asthma.

Dr. Carolyn Dean was next to present her views. Dr. Dean now lives in the U.S. where she practises as a naturopath and appears frequently on TV. She is the author of a number of alternative health books such as The Miracle of Magnesium. Dr. Dean lost her licence to practise medicine in Ontario. She told the audience that while her mother was recently dying of leukemia — the disease, she noted, might have been caused by her mother’s use of cholesterol lowering drugs and anti-hypertensives — she did research on deaths caused by modern medicine.

She suggested that 784,000 people are killed annually by doctors in the U.S., but thought that the true number might be five times greater. (Only 5% to 20% of medical mistakes are reported, she said, and the 784,000 are just the reported cases.) She went on to say that she lost her licence because she does not support allopathic medicine. Dr. Krop, she said, was attacked for the same reason and she claimed that some doctors have actually been driven to suicide by established medicine, which attacks its critics. Her own problems began, she suggested, in 1990 when she told The Dini Petty Show that sugar was bad. This upset the “sugar lobby” and they set out to have her licence to practise medicine taken from her. (According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario website, Dr. Dean lost her licence for incompetence and professional misconduct in 1995.)

Now, when Dr. Dean appears on TV in the U.S., she is not allowed to talk about depression and St. John’s Wort, she says. She told the assembled faithful that the networks tell her the subject is too heavy for the audience. But she says that is not the real reason. She believes that pharmaceutical advertisers probably have a clause in their contracts with networks preventing them from mentioning anything other than prescription drug treatments.

Nutritionist David Rowland continued with that theme and claimed that 106,000 people are killed each year by drugs that are properly prescribed and taken.

U.S. psychiatrist and anti-quack advocate Dr. Stephen Barrett describes David Rowland on his website ( as “one of Canada’s leading promoters of nutrition nonsense” and says “his writings and speeches advocate ‘freedom of choice’ and decreased government regulation of the health marketplace. His entrepreneurial activities have included practising as a ‘nutrition consultant,’ writing articles and booklets, publishing a magazine, operating a correspondence school, and issuing ‘credentials’ for ‘nutrition consultants’.”

David Rowland was referred to as a Ph.D, but this is what Dr. Barrett has to say about that: “His Ph.D. degree was obtained from Donsbach University, a non-accredited correspondence school operated by Kurt Donsbach, a chiropractor who has engaged in so many health schemes that nobody — including the man himself — can document all of them with certainty.”

David Rowland was also introduced to the audience as a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. The implication was that this membership gave greater credence to what he had to say. A call to the academy revealed that he is a member, but that members are not elected. Anyone can join. All that is required is payment of the membership fee. Membership does not mean that the work members do is endorsed by the academy, the public relations official stressed, although that is sometimes attempted. A recent example, he said, was the dictator of Turkmenistan, who joined and then claimed he was elected until the academy objected.

Needless to say, David Rowland was totally opposed to regulation of the industry — but not, he said, because of the issue of increased cost for compliance with good manufacturing practices his company and others will be required to follow under the new legislation. “The issue,” he stressed, “is your lives and safety” and the “censorship” being applied by Health Canada in its rules against the making of unproven claims for products.

That same point was advanced by herbalist Rich DeSylva who stated “big pharma is trying to regain market share from herbs and that is why we are seeing these new regulations. It is not about safety and efficacy, but about the bottom line.” Safety and efficacy issues are a red herring, he said, since all vitamin and herbal products on the market are simply foods.

The only MD on the panel who is still practising medicine as an MD was Dr. Zoltan Rona of Toronto — a noted media personality and book author who sells vitamins and supplements over the Internet from his office. Dr. Rona complained about the fact that prescriptions are GST exempt, but similar products purchased outside of pharmacies are not. He too took a turn at doctor bashing by telling the audience that one-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive while the other three-quarters of what you eat keeps your MD alive.

Dr. Rona added that doctors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., responsible for 250,000 deaths per year and that an American is 9,000 times more likely to be killed by a doctor than by a gun owner. (We were tempted to ask how many were killed by doctors who owned guns but, considering the crowd’s reaction two years ago, decided it was better to keep quiet.)

In addition to James Lunney, the main force behind the lobby is Belleville, Ontario, paralegal Trueman Tuck who runs the and websites. He pointed out that “a goliath” is running the world in the “pharma cartel” and that this is the “most monstrous conspiracy in the history of mankind that has been going on for 100 years”.

While Friends of Freedom did have a booth, they were just as busy selling a product called “Miracle II” (MII) as they were rallying the anti-government opposition. This product was typical of the many products being sold at booths in the exhibit area. MII is composed of three bottles. The saleslady told us the product was invented by Hulda Clark and has been around for 27 years. It cures skin disorders (and there were some very convincing before and after pictures) along with diabetes and numerous other conditions as it detoxifies, de-acidifies, balances PH and balances energy.

Patients take seven drops of Bottle One in water internally and then put one teaspoon of Bottle One and one teaspoon of Bottle Two (a shampoo) into their baths. When they finish bathing, they rub their body with the contents of Bottle Three (a lotion). Dr. Briggs asked how the saleslady found the product and was told that she was a researcher. We asked her what she researched and her answer was the vague “all sorts of things.” She did not seem too enthused about answering questions about herself and did not claim that she took the product or that she had been “cured” of anything.

She then asked us if we had any specific health issues that the three-bottle therapy might help cure and I mentioned Crohn’s disease. From the look on her face, I suspect she did not know what that was; she handed me her personal sales book to look it up, while she went to serve a lineup of customers interested in the bottles. (Crohn’s was listed and all it said was for me to take seven drops of Bottle One in milk or water daily.)

With the product priced at $29.95 a bottle (show special of three for $85.00), I thought it prudent to stick to my GI specialist even if he was more likely to kill me than Charlton Heston or a member of his National Rifle Association.

While some of the people touting “alternative” treatments may well be sincere in their belief that they can be effective, it would seem that many more are simply buying into the public’s naiveté — and cynicism.

That cynicism, one suspects, is just one more manifestation of the fact that it is — and always has been — very hard to know whom to believe. Combine that with the natural (if not holistic) urge to make a fast buck and the result is fairs like these.