Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bill C-51

I'm hearing a lot on my email groups about the proposed legislation, Bill C-51, which is an amendment to the Food and Drug Act. What I'm hearing isn't good, so I decided to look into it myself.

The First Reading version of the text of Bill C-51 can be found here.

Like most parliamentary bills, it's a little difficult to wade through -- the amount of "governmentese" makes one wonder if this was actually written in one's own country, because it seems so foreign. But there's a lot of talk about it in certain circles (pardon the pun), and it has even prompted the creation of The Official Stop C-51 Website.

Although on the surface, changing the legislation looks like a good thing (updating to go with the current times, rather than becoming antiquated and useless), the amendments in this bill will make it virtually impossible for people wishing to use natural health products to do so. By throwing in a lot of bureaucracy and threats of searches, seizures, expenses and prosecutions, it will eliminate that choice.

I haven't read through the bill completely yet, but I have read the legal review of it on the Stop C-51 Website, and this really sounds like Big Brother is getting too big for his britches. A lot of innocent people -- natural health care providers and consumers alike -- are going to get hurt by this if it goes through.

According to the Stop C-51 Website, Bill C-51 Will:

Allow Government agents to:
-Enter private property without a warrant -- Section 23 (4)
-Confiscate property at their discretion, at cost to the natural health provider -- Section 23.3 a
-Dispose of property at their discretion, at cost to the natural health provider -- Section 23.3 c
-Seize natural health providers' bank accounts without a warrant -- Section 23 (2) (d)
-Charge natural health providers for shipping and storage of their property -- Section 23.3a-b
-Store property indefinitely without paying for damages -- Section 23 (2) (d)
-Levy fines of up to $5,000,000.00 / 2 years in jail per offence. -- Section 31.1

Introduce new legislation that will:
-Allow laws to be created in Canada, behind closed doors, with the assistance of foreign governments, industrial and trade organizations -- Section 30.7
-Allow "Crack house style" of enforcement on natural health providers -- Section 23.1
-Allow enforcement to be considered on more than 70% of Canadians who use NHP's -- Health Canada Reference
-Allow the minister, based on opinion, to shut down research without any scientific reason or evidence of risk or harm -- Section 18.5
-Allow the minister, based on opinion, to allow or disallow market authorizations for Natural Health Products -- Section 18.7 (1)

Read the information for yourself, and if you think this bill is as dangerous as I think it might be, contact your MP. After all, that's why they get paid the big bucks -- to work on our behalf.

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