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SELICK: Coronavirus crisis reopens 150-year-old controversy

How many Canadians have died, and will continue to die, of unnecessary health ailments (including COVID-19) because their government has given them this extraordinarily bad advice?

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I look at the coronavirus crisis differently from most people. To me, it’s the reopening of a 150-year-old scientific controversy that much of the western world has forgotten. 

French scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is widely celebrated as “the father of germ theory”— the idea that we become sick when our bodies are invaded by foreign organisms such as bacteria, molds, fungi, and of course viruses. Although the idea had been circulating long before Pasteur achieved eminence, his laboratory work in the 1860s appeared to provide the scientific proof that had previously been missing. 

What’s not widely known is that other French scientists working in the same field in that era held somewhat different beliefs, known as the “terrain theory”. They believed that the most important factor that determines whether or not a person becomes ill is not the presence of a germ, but rather the preparedness of the body’s internal environment (the “soil” or terrain) to repel or destroy the germ. 

One of the main terrain-theory scientists was Antoine Béchamp (1816-1908). Pasteur and Béchamp were bitter rivals over several scientific issues. The book Pasteur: Plagiarist, Imposter (R. B. Pearson, 1942) even suggests that Pasteur plagiarized some of his work from Béchamp—no doubt a sore point with the latter, who ultimately died in obscurity. Pasteur, by contrast, became a skilled self-promoter who literally managed to make himself a household name long past the time of his death.

The other main proponent of the terrain theory was Claude Bernard (1813-1878), who (notwithstanding their differences of opinion on scientific issues) was a close friend and associate of Pasteur’s. At the end of his life, Pasteur is said to have recognized the importance of what Bernard had been trying to tell him, remarking, “Bernard avait raison. Le germ n’est rien, c’est le terrain qui est tout.” (Bernard was right. The germ is nothing, it’s the soil that is everything.)

In 1982, French scholar Marie Nonclercq published her doctoral thesis on Béchamp, alleging that Pasteur was not only a plagiarist but also a fraud and falsifier of experimental data. But regardless of Pasteur’s character, and regardless of whether he recanted at the end or not, what lives on after him is the mindset, clearly visible amongst most of today’s medical professionals and health care bureaucrats. That it is, that the germ (formally designated SARS-CoV-2) that has to be tracked down, isolated, avoided, and eradicated – and that’s all that matters. The “terrain”, to conventional modern thinkers, is nothing. 

For instance, on the Ontario government’s website telling its citizens what to do about COVID-19, its advice consists entirely of measures designed to prevent people from coming in contact with the virus: stay home, wash your hands often, don’t touch your face, maintain physical distancing and wear a mask when you have to go out. 

No mention is made of any measures individuals can take to ensure their immune systems are operating at peak efficiency (or as the French scientists would have put it, their terrain is well prepared to mount a defence). It’s almost as though the Ontario government doesn’t believe human beings have immune systems or that they’re of any use whatsoever. The only hope – Ontario seems to believe – is for a pharmaceutical company to patent a vaccine, because that is the only way that human beings can defend themselves against a virus, or acquire immunity.  

In fact, Ontario and Canada have gone out of their way to discourage people from looking for methods of helping themselves. Ontario’s website says “there is no specific treatment” for COVID-19. End of story. Canada’s government-owned broadcasting company – the CBC – recently published an article denouncing “bogus cures” including vitamin C, zinc, medicinal mushrooms and oil of oregano.

This official attitude is utter nonsense. There is actually an abundance of scientific evidence supporting various nutritional supplements as being instrumental in preparing people’s immune systems to repel or overcome viral infections. 

Take zinc, for example. Many COVID-19 patients have mentioned as symptoms the loss of their senses of smell and taste. According to the BBC, these symptoms affect as many as 18 per cent of infected patients. A CNN article says that some people will take days or weeks to recover these senses after having the virus, while others may take months or years. 

But the loss of these senses is a well-established symptom of zinc deficiency, a fact not mentioned in either of the two articles cited, and apparently not known to most of the mainstream medical community. Yet a PubMed study connects zinc deficiencies with “smell and taste disturbances”.  Another study specifically connects older patients with zinc deficiencies and a loss of acuity in the senses of taste and smell. Both of these studies also mention that zinc deficiencies lead to impaired immune function or an increased risk of infection. Can medical “experts” and governments not connect the dots? 

Vitamin D is another nutrient (a hormone, actually) well recognized by scientists to have antiviral benefits. Google Scholar lists 3,670 research reports published in 2020 alone containing the words “vitamin D” and “virus”. 

But rather than recommending adequate amounts of vitamin D to Canadians, Health Canada has for many years discouraged people from supplementing with it. “Most Canadians are getting enough vitamin D” says this government website, recommending only that people over 50 might want to take the paltry amount of 400 international units (IU) daily. Other Canadian government websites recommend slightly more, which says adults over 70 should take up to 800 IU daily. Never do their recommendations come even close to those of the Vitamin D Society, a consortium of scientists who study this subject. Their FAQ brochure recommends at least 4,000 IU daily to maintain a healthy serum vitamin D level. 

But it gets worse. Vitamin D is actually free, if people would only go outdoors in the summer and expose their skin appropriately to the sun. These days, there are even cell phone apps that tell you when the sun is in the right position for your location, how long you should stay out, and how much of your body needs to be exposed in order to get the right dosage. The apps can also be used to determine how to prevent a burn.

Instead of telling Canadians how to get this free vitamin, Health Canada has told them for years to do exactly the opposite: to slather on sunscreen every time they go outdoors in summer and never to expose their skin to the sun. 

How many Canadians have died, and will continue to die, of unnecessary health ailments (including COVID-19) because their government has given them this extraordinarily bad advice? 

Americans are no better off. The National Institutes of Health fact sheet on vitamin D recommends the same 800 IU maximum that Canada recommends. And it says, “The American Academy of Dermatology advises that photoprotective measures be taken, including the use of sunscreen, whenever one is exposed to the sun.”

That’s no surprise, really. The US government is bedded down even more cozily than the Canadian government with the pharmaceutical companies who will eventually be licenced to produce the sacred vaccine. 

But while Pasteur’s germ-theory mindset reigns in officialdom, savvy consumers seem to be following Béchamp and Bernard, without ever having heard of them. Vitamin C, zinc lozenges, and more exotic supplements such as monolaurin (a derivative of coconut oil which in laboratory tests destroys the viral envelope in a manner similar to soap) have been flying off store shelves. Online sellers can’t keep them in stock as word spreads among the public that there’s more they can do than merely trust their governments.  

Epidemiologists busily debate the pros and cons of lockdowns and masks in controlling the spread of the virus, but I have yet to see a single report of anyone who has thought to compare the serum vitamin D levels of those who succumbed, versus those who recovered, versus those who have never become infected. This is the sort of data they should be looking at, but imbued with the germ-theory mindset, they are allowing this valuable information to slip away. 

I hope this article will change that.

Karen Selick is a Columnist for the Western Standard. She has previously written for the original Western StandardNational Post, Canadian Lawyer Magazine. She is the former Litigation Lawyer of the Canadian Constitution Foundation and is the owner of KeenEyesEditing.ca.

Karen Selick is a Columnist for the Western Standard. She has previously written for the original Western Standard, National Post, Canadian Lawyer Magazine. She is the former Litigation Lawyer of the Canadian Constitution Foundation and is the owner of KeenEyesEditing.ca.

Opinion

BARNES: Albertans deserve the right to make the big decisions in referenda law

Guest column from Drew Barnes says that Alberta’s referendum law should be expanded to allow votes on big constitutional issues.

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Guest opinion column from Alberta MLA Drew Barnes

“I am and I will remain a populist, because those who listen to the people are doing their job.” Matteo Salvini.

At its core the word populism is the action that government policies should be determined by the will of the people, not the will of the elite. Direct democracy is the institutional populism in action.

There is debate over whether populism should be termed as a movement or an ideology. Since the actions of populist engagement can transcend the ideological spectrum, I believe it should be viewed as a movement, that can sometimes manifest itself ideologically. As a movement, populist participation can take place on all points of the spectrum. Ultimately, that is what is wanted from a democratic society – engagement from all points of the spectrum.

Now more than ever, we need a new grassroots-populist approach to politics. Grassroots politics by its nature suggests that it is a movement that is sparked from the bottom-up. Politicians who came from grassroots movements must never forget where they came from, or lose sight of what they came to do. We need more of the bottom-up approach to politics, and make listening to the people that elected us a priority.

This is taking place in some measure here in Alberta. Political party policy processes allow for constituency associations to generate policy proposals for conventions, where they are voted on by the membership. Every party in Alberta – with the exception of the NDP – uses a ‘one member, one vote’ system.

Another grassroots/populist tool is referenda, that when used the right way are a valuable democratic tool. Referendums however, must stay true to their purpose, and the process for bringing them forward must allow for citizens to craft their own – fair – wording on a question. This is not to say that any question – however subjectively worded – that anyone wants to ask should be put to a referendum. Therefore, the rules on the use of referendums must not be overly onerous, nor overly temperate.

Switzerland is a prime example of a country that takes full advantage of referendums, including citizens’ initiative. In their democratic system, referendums can occur up to four times annually. All citizens registered to vote can cast their ballot on issues affecting decisions within both their federal government and their cantons (autonomous provinces). Before each vote, all registered voters receive a package of booklets in the mail which provide details on the coming referendums. Since these referendums began in 1848, just under half of the referendum proposals have passed. Even if they don’t always pass, the process is crucial to starting conversations and keeping citizens involved in debate. Referendums also force political parties to reach beyond partisan lines to reach consensus.

Alberta’s legislature recently passed a bill that guides referendums on non-constitutional matters. While this is a positive step forward, there are issues in this bill that need improvement. 

For example, Albertans initiating a referendum might go through the process of collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures, only to have the cabinet alter the wording the question. While fair wording of the question is critical to the integrity of direct democracy, that issue is not best dealt with by politicians who may have a stake in the result. Instead, clear guidelines should be established in law on question wording, and left to non-partisan officials at Elections Alberta. 

And while the new referendum legislation is a big step forward over the status quo (that is, nothing), it deliberately bans citizens-initiated referendums on constitutional questions. This means that if Albertans wished to force a vote on adding property rights to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that they would not be allowed. Similarly, Albertans are barred from forcing a vote on reforming the Senate, equalization, or internal free trade. Ominously, Albertans have no right to force a vote over the heads of the legislature on independence or other forms of sovereignty. 

I believe that Albertans can be trusted with the right of citizens’ initiative on all questions, both constitutional and non-constitutional. 

We trust the people to elect a government to run our systems, so why can’t we trust them to bring their own questions forward? 

Drew Barnes is the UCP MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat

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Opinion

LETTER: Erin O’Toole isn’t “woke” enough to beat Trudeau in the East

A reader says that Erin O’Toole isn’t “woke” enough to beat Trudeau in the East.

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In this ‘Era of Wokeness” along with the ascension of Black Lives Matter into the public consciousness, I believe that it would be detrimental to the Conservative Party of Canada to have Erin O’Toole as
it’s leader.

Mr O’Toole recently refused to use the word ‘racism’ and did not answer clearly when pressed on whether he believes it even exists. Erin O’Toole will hand the Trudeau Liberals an easy victory during the next election, should he become Tory leader. Canada cannot afford another four years of Justin Trudeau. 

Like it or not, most people in Ontario and Quebec (where all federal elections are ultimately decided owing to their number of allotted seats), are very much ‘woke’ on the issue of racism, as well as
sexism, homophobia, ect. In my experience, this also includes most Conservative Party of Canada voters in Eastern Canada.

Right-wing populism and social conservatism does well in Western Canada – but centrist Red Toryism is all they are prepared to accept in most of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. CPC members in Western Canada need to keep this in mind when voting for their next leader. 

CPC members need to be sensible and realistic if they want to win the next federal election. 

Gila Kibner 
Edmonton, Alberta

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Opinion

LETTER: While Trudeau mislabels regular guns “military-style”, he is handing real assault weapons to the police

A reader says that Trudeau is militarizing the police while disarming Canadians.

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RE: Canada’s cops worried Liberal gun ban will hamper training

I enjoyed your article on the gun ban and how it will affect cops. A point of view the CBC would never share.

Perhaps another topic should be brought to the public is this: Although Justin Trudeau said there is no place for these weapons in Canada and Bill Blair said these  weapons have only one purpose – and that is for one soldier to kill another soldier – they gifted more deadly weapons to our local police forces through the Canadian Armed Forces., as was done recently in my hometown of St Thomas, Ontario.

What is the government’s agenda in giving true military assault weapons to the police and banning “military-style” (no legal definition) weapons from civilians. 

John Siberry
St. Thomas, ON

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