Tuesday, May 13, 2008

THREE CURRENT TOPICS



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        THREE CURRENT TOPICS are world food shortage, the vision for Canadian Forces and regulating natural health products (Bill C-51)

        TOPICS TWO and THREE include personal comments as well as information.

        Comment on TOPIC ONE is that Cargill will be one of the prime beneficiaries of the CWB being altered from Its present form.

                 Joe

        TOPIC ONE
        Making a Killing from Hunger,
         deals with the manner in which Corporatism and globalization have contributed to and are exacerbating the availability of food supplies

        TOPIC TWO       
        F.Y.I.: National Defence Key Documents and Major Reports directs you to the National Defence and the Canadian Forces website for info on that topic in the news.

        TOPIC THREE
         Minister Clement has responded to public pressure concerning Bill C-51. In doing so he ignores one of the prime concerns of those who should "harmonization" be         deemed desirable it be done openly by Legislative process rather than through regulation changes made by the Cabinet.

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TOPIC ONE

While people around the world are suffering from hunger and protesting the rise in global food prices, major grain traders, such as Cargill, are reporting big profits. Making a Killing from Hunger, a report by international NGO, GRAIN, says that the global food crisis is more than a food shortage or a price blip, it's a structural meltdown, resulting from globalization and neoliberal policies. http://therealnews.com/web/index.php

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TOPIC TWO

To: National Media
Subject: F.Y.I.: National Defence Key Documents and Major Reports

That Canadians Forces search and rescue service to Canadians is not a priority is clear: DND to patch aging rescue planes as replacements put on back burner .

Otherwise than this specific generalized reaction is in agreement with the CP headline Harper unveils broad outline of defence strategy; critics pounce on lack of detail

The speeches yesterday providing little information and there going to be no written visioning the National Defence and the Canadian Forces website offers information should you choose to visit it.

Links have been posted below with the dates when they were last modified.

Joe Hueglin
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TOPIC THREE

Posted on Free Dominion Clement ignores key reason for opposing Bill C-51

Clement's defence is ensuring protection for the public .

In no manner, shape or form does he address giving the power to the Executive Branch of Government to harmonize Canadian patterns with those of other governments without Parliamentary oversight.

ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE or THE PMO?

.....Joe

Allowing Trade Agreements to become law without Parliamentary Approval ­ and the Sharing of Confidential Information with Foreign Governments and Agencies.

The following term is added to the Act: "'government' means any of the following or their institutions, as applicable:
(a) the federal government;
(b) a corporation named in Schedule III to 10 of the Financial Administration Act,
(c) a provincial government or a public body established under an Act of the legislature of a province,
(d) an aboriginal government as defined in subsection 13(3) of the Access to Information Act,
(e) a government of a foreign state or of a subdivision of a foreign state, or
(f) an international organization of states.

Defining "government" to include foreign states or international organizations of states such as the United Nations, is important because of a change to section 30 of the Act. Bill C-51 adds the following to the regulation making power of the federal government: "30(7) A regulation may incorporate by reference documents produced by a person or body other than the Minister of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency including
(a) an organization established for the purpose of writing standards, including an organization accredited by the Standards Council of Canada;
(b) an industrial or trade organization; or
(c) a government."

This addition allows the federal government to make documents prepared by foreign governments or bodies law in Canada by simply passing a regulation incorporating the document. So for example, the CODEX treaty could become law without Parliamentary approval by simply passing a regulation saying it is now part of our regulations.

Just so that everyone understands what this means I will explain the difference between Acts and Regulations. Acts are documents introduced into either the House of Commons or the Senate. They must pass three readings in both before they can become law. This process ensures that Canadians and their representatives become aware of proposed changes, have them debated in Parliament, and have time to contest them.

Regulations on the other hand are simply published in the Canada Gazette twice and then can be signed into law. Parliament does not vote on regulations.

This change to allow the federal cabinet to incorporate documents from foreign governments or organizations as law by referring to them in NHPPA Draft Discussion Paper regulations will remove Parliamentary scrutiny on issues that could fundamentally change the ground rules for our industry.

Because these changes were not made by accident, the questions are raised: what purpose is served by removing Parliamentary scrutiny to the adoption of documents from foreign governments and institutions into Canadian Law, and does the federal cabinet already have specific foreign documents in mind?

There are also significant confidentiality issues associated with the new term of "government" in the Act. Bill C-51 also gives the Minister authority to disclose personal and business information without consent to a person or "government" that carries out functions relating to the protection or promotion of human health (see sections 20.9, 21 and 21.1). There are some safeguards, but at the same time the Minister has new power to share personal and confidential business information with a wide range of bodies, both Canadian and foreign, without consent.

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MEDICINES AND SUPPLEMENTS
Minister defends crackdown on safety of natural health products
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080513.NATURAL13/TPStory/TPNational/Politics/

GLORIA GALLOWAY
May 13, 2008

OTTAWA -- Health Minister Tony Clement is taking on the manufacturers of natural health products who object to his government's attempts to subject them to the same type of oversight proposed for pharmaceuticals, food and consumer products.

Rallies were held in Alberta, British Columbia and Toronto last week to protest against Bill C-51, the new federal consumer protection legislation that critics say will restrict access to natural medicines.

But Mr. Clement said in an interview that Canadians have a right to know the natural health products they buy are safe.

The problems created by mislabeling and the inclusion of potentially dangerous chemicals in a small number of the products has created the potential for severe harm, he said.

"I have had to issue warnings as Health Minister for liver damage, increased risk of cardiac arrest, increased risk of stroke. And these things are happening on a frequent basis," he said.

Most of the manufacturers want to make safe products, he said. But "we have to protect Canadians from the 1 per cent that are the bad apples. And if there are some elements of this industry that think they will go unregulated while other aspects of health care are regulated, such as pharmaceutical products, that's just not on."

Since 2004, natural health products have had to be registered with Health Canada. But the industry says that 60 per cent of the products that have been submitted for approval have been rejected.

"The issue with this bill is really around the enforcement, the definitions and the restrictions for natural health products on the marketplace," said Ian Stewart, the director of regulatory affairs for Truehope, an Alberta company that makes natural medicines for depression and stress disorders.

For natural products, Mr. Stewart said, "the requirements to get market authorization will be so onerous, [as will] the restrictions on being able to have these products in the marketplace, that these products are just going to be illegal in the marketplace or will be removed from the marketplace."

But Mr. Clement discounts most of the concerns being expressed by the industry.

For one thing, products that are currently on the market will not be pulled from the shelves, even if they are in the backlog waiting to be approved, unless there is a reported adverse reaction.

The rejection rate for approvals is actually closer to 50 per cent, the minister said, and usually it's just a problem with paperwork being filed incorrectly - something that can quickly be straightened out.

There are rumours that the new legislation would mean that doctors' prescriptions will be required for the natural health products, right down to vitamin C.

"That's ridiculous, that never will happen, that's not found in the bill and never would be," Mr. Clement said.

Products such as vitamin C, whose health effects are well known, will not be subjected to the intense scrutiny that will be directed at those that are chemical compounds akin to a pharmaceutical, he said.

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