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Legislate Health Freedom

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Legislate Health Freedom

My alternative medicine bill, Bill 2, unanimously passed second reading in the Ontario legislature recently. There was so much support from citizens contacting all Ontario members of provincial parliament that no politician could vote against it and remain a credible representative of the people.

My alternative medicine bill, Bill 2, unanimously passed second reading in the Ontario legislature recently. There was so much support from citizens contacting all Ontario members of provincial parliament that no politician could vote against it and remain a credible representative of the people.

I instigated Bill 2 by enlisting my member of provincial parliament during his guest appearance on my phone-in radio show (Toronto’s Talk640).

The Bill would ensure the ability of medical doctors to practice alternative medicine. Alberta is the only Canadian province so far that has passed a similar bill into law. It has been in effect for about two years and has helped legitimize alternative medicine in that province. Theoretically, MDs in Alberta can prescribe vitamins and herbs, but the Alberta College is trying to circumvent this with new regulations.

My Bill 2 states: "A member shall not be found guilty of professional misconduct or of incompetence under section 51 or 52 of the Health Professions Procedural Code solely on the basis that the member practises a therapy that is non-traditional or that departs from the prevailing medical practice unless there is evidence that proves that the therapy poses a greater risk to a patient’s health than the traditional or prevailing practice."

Bill 2 also addresses the crucial issue of relative risk. In the past, the medical establishment has gleefully pointed out the occasional person who has suffered harm from an alternative medical method. The Bill emphasizes any harm must be compared to the risk of using an ordinary method, which is usually many times more hazardous.

Power Shift

The first priority in alternative medicine bills is to curtail the power of licensing bodies like the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons. It’s happening elsewhere. The California State Senate recently passed a bill that eliminates the requirement that all cancer treatment be limited to "standard" chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Also, California Governor Gray Davis is removing (by not renewing) 14 of 18 appointees to the Medical Board (the equivalent to Canada’s Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons). A similar fate will fall the other four when their term of office expires.

One of the insidious hazards of allowing the colleges to continue to exist is the false sense of security patients get from ordinary allopathic medicine.

Patients mistakenly believe that ordinary drugs and surgery keep them healthy and prevent future problems. The fact is that, in most cases, symptoms are covered up while basic disease processes go on. Sometimes, doctors develop an attitude of "come back later when your problems are really bad so that we can justify taking the risk of heavy intensive therapy."

Some doctors also approve of the colleges’ attacks on alternative MDs: this allows them to practice "take-it-or-leave-it" medicine–"you either have to agree to my methods or take nothing."

Bill 2, even before it becomes law, embarrasses and exposes the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons in each province for what they have done to me and my colleagues, as well as to patients everywhere in terms of restricting freedom of choice.

The Ontario College has harassed five doctors in the last few years. I lost my license to practise medicine as a result of "failing to conform to the standards" (I used vitamins, herbs and foods as treatments). I feel that amends are getting close to being made to myself and others.

Most citizens and even some doctors find the College’s actions unfair, unconscionable, self-serving and monopolistic. As an organization, it has lost respect and credibility and is now the centre point of two Ministry of Health investigations.

Amidst the recent tap water E. coli contamination story in Walkerton, Ontario, the Ontario government has allowed the College to attack environmental and alternative medical doctors for advising patients to use clean air and water. I have been informing people of the dangers of drinking tap water–in any city–for years. Even spring water may be contaminated as a result of intensive farming practices. Manure and chemicals that farmers place on their fields wash into underground springs.

The relation between E. Coli in tap water and gastroenteritis is only one problem. Others disease- producing chemicals present in tap water include: aluminum (linked to Alzheimer’s disease), chloroform (immune diseases), herbicides (breast cancer), toxins leeched from PVC piping (cancer) and phalates (reproductive diseases). Bill 2 helps allow physicians to discuss these issues honestly with patients in a way that promotes freedom of choice.

While Bill 2 currently "frees" only medical doctors to practice alternative medicine, a recent bill in Minnesota prevents the Medical Board from going after non-MD practitioners for practicing medicine without a license. (This was the charge against Hulda Clark, which was later dropped.)

We still have more work to do. Contact your politicians and college officials. Tell them what they must do as servants of the people.

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