by Joseph Roberts
“This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
– Shakespeare, Hamlet
The Conservative government launched a huge AMEND Bill 51 campaign in the wake of the hostile reception it received. People are now in place, hired by tax-payers dollars, to inform the manufactures, retailers, and consumer of the benefits of the new improved AMEND position. The Conservatives would like to just pass the bill and have all this noise die down before the next, possibly very soon, election. The Amend promoters stand ready to ridicule anyone who doesn’t agree with them as ‘fear-mongers’, as ‘misunderstanding the intent of what they’re trying to say’, etc. So, a smear, not necessarily directed at any one person, but at everyone in general who has a different opinion. Grassroots folks will be accused as people who “don’t want regulations at all!” Another smear strategy, implying that, well, those low lifes are a bunch of hicks that don’t know better. Whatever.
If Health Canada had been so sharp, Listeria at the luncheon meat counter and mad cow disease would have been prevented, or at least announced earlier. Walkerton and SARS would have been discussed when “different” opinions first appeared.
Health Canada certainly does not have a monopoly disliking whistle blowers or heretics. Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) was slow to announce their screw-ups in the supply of medical isotopes, and, that homes in Elliot Lake were polluted by radon gas hence uninhabitable. So many wonder which side some governments agents are really on. To some these may be inconvenient comments. But let us not forget that regular people need to be represented, the voice of the consumer, and not just industry. Not government, but the consumer. People need to be protected and it seems that the people most likely to do this are the people themselves. Because, as Jacques Cousteau said, “you will only protect that which you love”. Corporations, though granted the status of person under law, are not known to be bastions of compassion.
Those that prefer to limit debate in order to push through their agenda have a familiar refrain. Benito Mussolini declared “O con noi o contro di noi”–You’re either with us or against us. President George W. Bush in September 20, 2001 voiced, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Gaston in the movie Beauty and the Beast tells citizens, “You’re either with us, or against us,” and then proceeds to locks up Belle and her father so he can kill the Beast.
One needs to welcome, not stiffle civil debate in order to find common ground.