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BC Naturopathic Doctors Fight for their Rights-and Ours!


Not too long ago, huge rallies across the country protested Health Canada's attempt to remove dozens of non-patented, commonly used traditional medicines from health food stores

Not too long ago, huge rallies across the country protested Health Canada's attempt to remove dozens of non-patented, commonly used traditional medicines from health food stores. The power of public protest was heard in Ottawa David Dingwall, then minister of health, lost both his portfolio and his seat in Parliament!

Two health ministers later, our situation has not changed it's as precarious as ever.

Will vitamin dosages be "prescribed" only by medical doctors through the influence of drug lobbyists? Must we get government permission to use herbs in therapeutic dosages?

That little piece of federal history is already being repeated at a provincial level in British Columbia. Naturopathic doctors in BC are presently licensed to provide primary care without the use of drugs and surgery and have been for almost a century. Now many of the medicines they traditionally use have been removed and put on "prescription only" lists! And even though the
former BC government promised to establish a mandate to create access to these natural medicines by naturopathic doctors the present government has not done so.

The Ministry of Health is threatening to further severely limit the scope of naturopathic doctors in BC thus denying consumers access to valid and cost-effective health care choices, many of which patients have been depending on for survival. We are therefore doubly penalized. We pay, through compulsory Medicare, for a medical system that many do not use and are prevented from spending our own after-tax dollars on health care of our choice.

That's not logic it's not freedom but it's government!

What is the individual right of the consumer? Surely it's his or her ability to have choice in health care and treatment, whether drugs and surgery or a non-drug alternative? But that's not available in Canada. Powerful lobby groups and vested commercial interests control Canada's Medicare system.

General practitioner Dr. Joel Lexchin says, "[Drug] companies generate a constant bombardment of advertising directed at doctors…physicians rely on this advertising for much of their knowledge [in]." Patients have been led to trust and believe in this fraudulent system and, in fact, the Canada Health Act only obliges the government to use citizens' tax dollars for this "orthodox" treatment (drugs and surgery).

It's time for a change!

The British Columbia Naturopathic Association (BCNA) has lobbied provincial governments on your behalf for decades. Now it's asking us to step forward and make our voices heard. President of the association, Dr. Garrett Swetlikoff, warns, "Medical doctors have no formal training in complementary medicine, yet present regulations allow them to practise whatever and however they wish, while the experts in drug alternatives are shut down!"

The BCNA needs both our financial and letter writing support in order to hire appropriate lobbyists and demand that the elected government servants uphold our right and our wishes to the medicines of our choice. We are the people who pay their salaries!

Write to the BC ministers of health: Colin Hansen, Minister of Health Services, and Sindi Hawkins, Minister for Health Planning (contact information through Enquiry BC: 604-660-2421 or Enquiry Demand to know why they are limiting your ability to access safe, effective health care. Write your protest to your local newspaper as well as your MLA. And please contribute to the BCNA lobby effort by sending a donation to the BCNA, 2238 Pine Street, Vancouver, BC, V6J 5G4.

It's for your health.



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