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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

WAGNER: Kenney needs to follow Moe’s lead in putting someone in charge of provincial autonomy file

Michael Wagner writes that Scott Moe’s appointment of an MLA responsible for the autonomy file should be replicated in Alberta.

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Shortly after an election that saw surprisingly strong support for the new independence-minded Buffalo Party, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe assigned his new legislative secretary the task of exploring how his province could “exercise and strengthen” its powers within Canada. This legislative secretary, MLA Lyle Stewart, explained that “there is more work to do in standing up for Saskatchewan’s interests within Canada.” 

Moe has already joined other premiers in launching a legal challenge to Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax, replaced the federally appointment firearms officer with a provincially appointed one, establishing trade offices in Asia, and is discussing provincial control over immigration. The legislative secretary can focus on how to build on these initiatives. Having an official charged with this responsibility sends a message that Saskatchewan is fed up with the status quo and is serious about considering new measures.

Appointing an MLA responsible for exploring provincial autonomy is a good idea and one that should be emulated by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. Last year he appointed the Fair Deal Panel to gather input from Albertans about their views on how to improve the province’s position within Canada. The panel conducted its work and released its report, which many – including one MLA on the panel – saw as being weak. Appointing an MLA dedicated to working on this file would demonstrate that the premier is serious about addressing the ongoing challenges Alberta faces from the federal government and the prime minister’s hostility to the energy industry.

If he really wanted to up his game, Premier Kenney could borrow ideas from a proposal advanced by retired University of Alberta political scientist Leon Craig. In an August 2019 article for C2C Journal entitled, “Alberta Needs A Minister Of Independence Preparation,” Professor Craig recommended creating an entire government department with the responsibility to develop a plan for an independent Alberta. As he explains, “Since declaring independence would involve major changes in how governmental business is done, it is not a step to be taken without having thoroughly thought through the practical difficulties and prepared accordingly. Thus we need a cabinet minister charged with that responsibility – the Minister of Independence Preparation (MIP).”

Needless to say, that would be a bridge too far for Premier Kenney. However, establishing a ministry, or an agency within an existing ministry, to plan and implement the best recommendations of the Fair Deal Panel (as a starting point) would be a meaningful and effective way to demonstrate that Alberta will no longer passively accept the status quo.

This new ministry could be charged with developing blueprints for establishing an Alberta provincial police force, enacting provincial control of tax collection, and creating an Alberta Pension Plan. 

If Trudeau continues to block opportunities for Alberta to develop and export its petroleum products, the ministry could expand its work into developing proposals for an independence referendum and establishing contacts with foreign governments that may be sympathetic to Alberta’s plight. Public information sessions about the process outlined in the Clarity Act could be initiated to create widespread discussions among Albertans about options for the province’s future. 

Of course, whether Premier Kenney was to appoint a legislative secretary for this purpose – or create a ministry – the obvious person for the job would be Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes. Barnes has distinguished himself as an outspoken advocate for Alberta, more so than any other sitting MLA.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that any such position or ministry will be established in the near future. Were he to do so, Premier Kenney could show he is serious about changing Alberta’s relationship with the rest of Canada, fire up his increasingly disenchanted base, put meaningful pressure on Justin Trudeau, and drive the NDP into apoplectic summersaults. That sounds like a winning combination to me.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Alberta. His books include ‘Alberta: Separatism Then and Now’ and ‘True Right: Genuine Conservative Leaders of Western Canada.’

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Opinion

LETTER: Trump is undermining democracy

A reader says that Trump intentionally lies to destabilize and undermine the people’s trust in their public institutions.

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RE: Biden projected to win the presidency (assuming courts agree)

Trump has a lot of media savvy, and his strategy is to continue to engage and manipulate the media, to make sure the cameras are on him – not Biden.

He does that by constantly baiting the media with all kinds of lies and claims a hungry media readily responds to like he was throwing them small chunks of political ‘raw meat’ because he knows the media will respond by promoting, speculating, and arguing credibilities and probabilities for days, sometimes weeks, depending on how ‘juicy’ it is, and he will continue to scream – ‘I never lost’ – till he is a shadow on the horizon:

He will forever insist he won the election while insisting Biden is stealing it.

He will continue to scream fraud and fake till he dies.

He will continue to feed the media and the public misinformation to destabilize and undermine the people’s trust in their public institutions, including the democratic process.

He is a very sick boy.

Andy Thomsen
Kelowna, BC

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Opinion

CATHCART: Know your rights on mandatory facemasks

“In short, the local municipal governments are on shaky legal ground in imposing mask by-laws. Businesses in mandatory-mask municipalities are only enforcing what they are told to do, and businesses that voluntarily impose mask requirements have a right to do so as private, non-government entities, with several “human rights” caveats.”

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Anyone who has left their house in recent months knows that the rules on mandatory face masks are hardly uniform. In some places there are no masking requirements at all. Some stores insist on masks, some do not.  

Only in situations where the requirement to wear a mask is forced on an individual by a government body, or by a government order or law, does the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms apply. That is, if a business is not required by government to enforce the wearing of facemasks – but does require them of their own accord – the Charter does not apply. 

A store doesn’t have to follow the Charter, they aren’t the government. However, they are required by law to comply with the applicable provincial human rights code. Businesses and private companies are legally allowed to require that employees, customers, clients, or visitors to their premises wear face masks. Stores and companies have a general right to refuse service to anyone, provided that they still comply with human rights legislation. Businesses cannot discriminate based on grounds like race, religion, creed, physical disability, mental disability, etc. 

If someone is unable to wear a mask because of a mental disability, such as claustrophobia, a business would be engaging in illegal discrimination if it denied services to such a person for not wearing a mask, and did not provide some form of reasonable accommodation. 

A requirement to wear a mask as a condition of employment, or as a condition to receive a service, may be discriminatory toward people with exemptions. If a business denies such a person service or employment because they refuse to wear a mask, that denial may form a legally valid basis for a human rights complaint. 

Some people refuse to wear a mask for religious reasons. Other people cannot or should not wear masks because of various medical and health conditions. Many of the municipal bylaws are worded broadly enough to exempt those with “health concerns” or ” health conditions”, including mental conditions like claustrophobia. Laws must not disproportionately punish the vulnerable who are unable to wear masks. 

There are jurisdictional questions regarding mask bylaws, as well. Cities have no inherent jurisdiction to enact laws because they are entirely creatures of statute: their power is delegated from provinces through legislation. If a province has chosen not to enact mandatory masking requirements, then what empowers a municipality to do so?  The answer may well be “nothing”. 

Despite the poor drafting of mask bylaws and jurisdictional and constitutional issues, a legal challenge to them is not guaranteed to be successful. Hard data now demonstrates that the virus has a survivability rate of 99.98 per cent, but the mask requirements remain. 

If a store or service accommodates non-mask wearers with curbside pickup, online shopping, or some other alternative, a provincial human rights commission would likely rule that sufficient accommodation has been provided. 

An individual is typically not required to disclose his medical condition to any store, service, restaurant or facility, provide proof of exemption, or discuss religious beliefs. Individuals are not required to prove that they have a mask exemption. 

If asked to wear a mask, you can reply, “I can’t wear a mask.” A store or company can ask if you have a doctor’s note due to ignorance of the law, however, you are under no legal obligation to provide a note, discuss your medical condition, or get into detail about why you cannot or will not wear a mask. The exception to this is if you file a Human Rights Complaint. You are likely going to be required to provide proof as part of the complaint process. 

The mask exemption cards that are circulating on the internet are merely symbolic. While some stores may accept them because they look like an “official” piece of paper, they have no legal weight. 

Legally, the question of mask bylaws remains circumstance-dependent and uncertain. Scientists and doctors disagree on the benefits of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Ultimately, the constitutionality of requirements to compel non-medical masks can only be determined by a court after it considers all factors, including the fundamental rights of liberty, security of person, freedom to make ones’ own medical decisions, and the right to control ones’ own body and bodily integrity. 

Some insist that masks are like seatbelts, and since the government requires seat belt use as a precaution, it also ought to require mask use. The comparison between face-masks and seatbelts is a poor one, however. Seatbelts are extensively standardized, factory- and crash-tested and customized for each age group, weight, model of car, etc. Non-medical masks and fabric masks are not tested, standardized or even customized, and there are zero studies on the safety of masks for children, or long-term wearing of masks for eight hours or more a day, seven days a week. Further, seatbelts do not interfere with an individual’s breathing, or cover one’s face, which is a fundamental and personal part of existence, and also involves the most visible part of human identity.

No one can physically force you to cover your face in a free country, however you may have to shop in stores that welcome all customers regardless of disability or condition. Stores may choose to enforce the mask bylaw on their premises, but customers will likewise choose not to spend their hard-earned money in that store. In this economy, can stores afford to turn away customers?  

Importantly, medical offices, hospitals, and nursing homes are the most difficult places to exercise a mask exemption. These are places full of sick people, where the risk of catching any kind of cold, flu or virus is high and can result in death. However, Alberta Health Services produced a COVID information instruction sheet  which clearly stated: “No patient shall be denied service in AHS because they cannot or will not wear a mask.” This has since been removed from the original website.

In short, the local municipal governments are on shaky legal ground in imposing mask by-laws. Businesses in mandatory-mask municipalities are only enforcing what they are told to do, and businesses that voluntarily impose mask requirements have a right to do so as private, non-government entities, with several “human rights” caveats. 

Know your rights.

Marnie Cathcart was a reporter and journalist for more than 15 years and is Director of Communications at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

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