Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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October 23, 2003

Foods are not Drugs - Canadian Parliament votes

October 22, 2003 - Ottawa, Canada.

The Canadian House of Commons has voted Bill C 420 - introduced by MP Dr. James Lunney - which would establish that dietary supplements, botanicals, herbs, and other natural health products are not drugs, but rather are foods.

“In a day of skyrocketing health costs, all avenues of promoting healthier Canadians need to be explored,” said Lunney. “With Bill C-420, we could still have Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), inspections, and evaluation of claims, but oversight would come from a more appropriate food-style directorate, one that better understands the history and culture of such products, which by their nature are not patentable.”

This important step for natural health care and individual choice comes amid trepidation over new rules announced by Health Canada, the regulatory agency dealing with drugs and foods. Health Canada is in the process of "medicalizing" supplements but may have a harder time sustaining this move, after the recent vote of Parliament. The law is not yet through the full legislative process. It will now be referred to the Standing Committee on Health. The Committee is expected to examine the bill, hear from witnesses, and consider amendments before it returns to the House.

Read a statement by Dr. LUNNEY, the MP who proposed the bill, a report by Anthony STEPHAN of Truehope on the parliamentary vote and an analysis of what is happening in Health Canada from Ron LAW, a New Zealand expert on health legislation who attended an international conference in Toronto, Canada and studied the situation there.

Lunney’s Bill: Big Victory
Natural Health Products Bill Goes to Committee

OTTAWA— A Canadian Alliance bill to amend the Food and Drugs Act was passed last night with the support of all opposition parties and many government members. Bill C-420, sponsored by James Lunney, MP for Nanaimo-Alberni, would place Natural Health Products under a food-style directorate, rather than a drug-style directorate as currently proposed.

Lunney has raised concerns that outdated clauses (3.1 and 3.2) of the Food and Drugs Act have been used to take low-risk, high-benefit vitamin, mineral and herbal products off the market. “In a day of skyrocketing health costs, all avenues of promoting healthier Canadians need to be explored,” said Lunney. “With Bill C-420, we could still have Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), inspections, and evaluation of claims, but oversight would come from a more appropriate food-style directorate, one that better understands the history and culture of such products, which by their nature are not patentable.”

The bill will be referred to the Standing Committee on Health. The Committee is expected to examine the bill, hear from witnesses, and consider amendments before it returns to the House.

“The vote of 124 to 85 indicates that Members of Parliament want this matter to be examined more thoroughly before new regulations come into effect early in the new year,” said Lunney.

A Historic Day - A model for change in Health Freedom
by Anthony Stephan

Oct 22, 2003 will go down in the annals of world history. The day that Canada spoke out and alerted history forever...

Yesterday Bill C-420 (A bill to amend the Canadian Food and Drugs Act) was voted on in the House of Commons. Voting the controversial bill through were 124 Members of Parliament to the opposing side of 85.The bill was fostered and promoted by Dr. James Lunney (Nanaimo-Alberni). Dr. Lunney has worked tirelessly to move the bill through the house, even under great opposition. He has proved that one courageous man can make a difference affecting the whole world. I believe in the end Canada will be seen as a benchmark in the world of Health Freedom.

The parliamentarians carried the bill saying:
1) That dietary supplements, botanicals, herbs, and other natural health products are not drugs, but rather are foods.
2) That the Sec 3(1) and 3(2) and Schedule "A" are to be repealed. These sections prohibit claims from being made on dietary supplements and the like.

Many of the Members of the House voted across party lines to carry the bill. A historic act itself because while many nations are moving under pharma pressure to restrict the use of dietary supplements and herbs, Canada is moving in the opposite direction. The regulator in Canada (Health Canada) has resisted change and is now under extreme pressure because of multiple law suits that have been filed against it and some of its employees. These law suits challenge Health Canada's draconian actions.

Support for the bill was provided by a number of groups, the Red Umbrellas being one. This is a group of individual ladies that had been previously diagnosed with depression, bipolar or some other mental disorder but have overcome their disorders through the use of a dietary supplement called EMPowerplus. They have been ignored by Health Canada and by the minister of health anne mclellan. Health Canada has attempted to block the importation of EMPowerplus and has interfered with valuable research which was taking place at the University of Calgary with patients suffering from bipolar disorder. Many of the voting M.P.s were seen to be wearing Red Umbrella pins at the time of the house vote.

Providing support to the bill as well were the Friends of Freedom. To date over 100,000 petition names were delivered to parliament to protest the actions of Health Canada and support the Foods are not Drugs movement.

This is only the beginning of a new day in Canada. More support is needed to build a movement that the whole world will look to. Many thanks to Dr. James Lunney and others who gave their support.

Anthony Stephan

If you would like to know more about the situation in Canada, here are some links and following after them an analysis by Ron Law, who participated in the recent international symposium on health freedom in Toronto, Canada.

Canadian Health Authorities sued

Canada clamps down on supplements

RCMP raids supplements for the mentally ill

Canadian Reforms have failed
by Ron Law, New Zealand

The much touted new Canadian system has fallen at the final hurdle.

The government accepted all 53 recommendations on the regulation of Natural Health Products (NHPs) of the 1998 standing committee review.

Recommendation 1 stated:
"1. Health Canada, in conjunction with a new separate NHP Expert Advisory Committee, set out an appropriate definition of NHPs and amend the Food and Drugs Act accordingly."

This and other key legislative changes have not happened -- the advice of the Transition Team report was simply ignored. No legislative change has occurred, simply new regulations which have formally defined Natural Health Products as drugs and regulated as such. No third category has been established as promised. In effect, the Australian system has been implemented which is contrary to what was promised...

The subtleties of the syntax used by the spin doctors can be seen in the statement, "Based on recommendations from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health ("Standing Committee"), set out in its 1998 report entitled: A New Vision: Report of the Standing Committee on Health, the main components of the Regulations are definitions, product licensing, adverse reaction reporting, site licensing, good manufacturing practices, clinical trials, and labelling and packaging."

As can be seen above, the New Vision was for the changes to be via legislative (Act) changes, not simple regulatory changes which have reclassified supplements as drugs. See, "Definition of a Natural Health Product: NHPs are drugs at the level of the Food and Drugs Act."

Recomendation 8 gave the necessary fast tracking,

8. The necessary process to amend the Food and Drugs Act not delay in any way the implementation of the regulatory and administrative changes that can proceed at this time.

The minister promised to have the legislative change in place before the end of the change process -- that never occurred.

Recommendations 35 & 36 refer to Section 3 and Schedule A of the Food and Drugs Act

35. Health Canada immediately initiate a review of the diseases listed in Schedule A to ensure that only appropriate diseases are included and, where relevant, specific diseases be exempted by regulation from the broad terms found in Schedule A.

36. Health Canada, subsequently, conduct a study with the participation of representatives from consumer groups, the food, natural health products and pharmaceutical industries, and health practitioners to determine whether subsections 3(1) and (2) of the Food and Drugs Act or all of the diseases listed in Schedule A should be deleted.

Despite meaningful advice from the Transition Team, these changes to prohibitive advertising and claims which date back to the 1920's & 30's were ignored and have not happened as promised -- therefore it is still illegal to make scientifically proven claims for most diseases.

The minority report of the Canadian Standing Committee is worth reading in hindsight

Minutes of a Health Canada meeting in May 2003 stated that any legislative renewal would be a long-term solution. 

In other words, some five years after giving the go-ahead to fast track legislative reform setting up a 'third category' [of Natural Health Products separate from both Food and Medicine] all of the independent expert advice and political promises have been ignored/broken and still the underpinning legislative changes are a 'long-term solution.

How long-term?

The government has just announced a formal review...

"In 1998, extensive consultations were held across Canada with health professionals, industry, advocacy groups, and members of the Canadian public, to identify issues the new legislation should address. Health Canada committed itself at that time to conduct a second round of consultations, to seek views on a detailed proposal for a new health protection act. The final step will be to finalize a Bill and initiate the parliamentary process.

A new Canada Health Protection Act would replace the Food and Drugs Act (1953), the Hazardous Products Act (1969), the Quarantine Act (1872), and the Radiation Emitting Devices Act (1970). Other existing health protection statutes, such as the Tobacco Act and the Pest Control Products Act, would remain in effect but would be integrated in the new framework.

All elements of the detailed legislative proposal are open for discussion. The proposal is intended to focus discussion during this second round of consultations. Only after the results of these consultations have been analyzed would an actual bill be drafted and presented to Parliament."

Talking to a constitutional lawyer whilst in Canada, he said that officials have bundled these four contentious areas in to one to make sure it's a ten year plus process -- on top of the 5 years to date.

In short, in Canada, supplements have been hijacked from a food based paradigm to drugs.

As defined in the new regulations

"natural health product" means a substance set out in Schedule 1 or a combination of substances in which all the medicinal ingredients are substances set out in Schedule 1, a homeopathic medicine or a traditional medicine, that is manufactured, sold or represented for use in

1. the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder or abnormal physical state or its symptoms in humans;

2. restoring or correcting organic functions in humans; or

3. modifying organic functions in humans, such as modifying those functions in a manner that maintains or promotes health.

However, a natural health product does not include a substance set out in Schedule 2, any combination of substances that includes a substance set out in Schedule 2 or a homeopathic medicine or a traditional medicine that is or includes a substance set out in Schedule 2."

In short, the Canadian system of regulating supplements is to become a drug based one, not the promised 'third category.' Anyone touting the Canadian system is touting a definition which explicitly states, "NHPs are drugs at the level of the Food and Drugs Act."

Beware anyone touting the Canadian system, and watch out for a major court battle...

Bill C-420, the Canadian version of a health freedom bill, has been re-introduced into the Canadian parliamentary debate process recently (November 29, 2004). Here is a messge from Trueman Tuck, of Friends of Freedom in Canada:

Hello Freedom network -

History in the making - see transcripts.

PLEASE provide the "Royal Jelly" of freedom - memberships and donations now, to help us finance this Beehive fight.

Click on this link to review the first hour of debate at second reading, yesterday, November 29:

Trueman Tuck

Volunteer Coordinator

Friends of Freedom

A recent message (March 2005) about Bill C-420 from Jack Layton, NPD (New Democratic Party), forwarded by Trueman Tuck of Friends of Freedom:

From: Layton, Jack - M.P. []
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2005 6:01 PM
Subject: Bill C-420 - Codex - Reply Jack Layton

Dear Friend,

Many thanks for your recent letter concerning Bill C-420.

I am pleased to report to you that the NDP has supported Bill C-420 through its second reading in the House of Commons. The excerpt below is taken from a speech delivered by NDP Caucus member Bill Siksay, MP for Burnaby-Douglas, to the House of Commons on November 29 of 2004, and in support of Bill C-420 at its second reading.

"We have seen over the years many of the difficult and problematic effects of drugs on people, such as death, allergic reactions and side-effects. Yet we continue to use them and prescribe them in large numbers. We need to examine our reliance on those. They are very important in the treatment of many diseases, but there are other alternatives. I do not know if we as a society and as parliamentarians give appropriate attention to those. The NDP welcomes this legislation."

As a quick update, Bill C-420 will come up for further discussion tomorrow, Wednesday March 9th, in the House of Commons.

To catch up on recent news and issues, I invite you to visit the federal NDP website at: If you would like to get the latest news about the federal NDP sent to you by e-mail, subscribe to our e-mail bulletin, e-NDP, at

Thank you again for writing and sharing your opinions on this important piece of legislation, and please accept my continued best wishes for good health to you and yours.


Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)
Leader, Canada's New Democrats


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Thursday October 23 2003
updated on Friday December 17 2010

URL of this article:


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Readers' Comments

Well done Dr. James Lunney and others who gave their support to improve Health Freedom.
Hopefully some days because of your work we will see some changes here in Australia.


Posted by: Pierre Petoud on October 24, 2003 02:18 AM


Thanks to Dr. James Lunney for the great work he's done and will still do, thanks to Anthony Stephen and Ron Law for their articles , thanks to Josef for all the informations he's always busy to email around. This gives us hope for the future. Let's go on this positive way in a l l countries...



Posted by: Waltraud Beele on October 24, 2003 01:57 PM


For a follow up also see:

Big Victory - But It's Not Over Yet

Posted by: Chris Gupta on October 24, 2003 09:48 PM


I may be stupid;
But, in simple terms, what the heck does all of this mean???? in simple terms???

Posted by: Granny Earth on March 14, 2005 07:38 AM


Hi Granny,

in simple terms: Health Canada is tightening the noose around health products such as vitamins, minerals, aminoacids, herbs, and all kinds of remedies, calling them "natural health products" and making a strict control system for them, under their medicines department.

Predictably, this will lead to more medication and less prevention, because of natural alternatives to pharmaceutical medicines no longer being widely available.

There is a movement to reverse this trend by a bill that is now being discussed in the Canadian parliament (see this article by Chris Gupta).

The bill is called bill C-420 and proposes to keep natural products in the FOOD category instead of treating them similar to medicines.

Posted by: Sepp on March 14, 2005 12:47 PM


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The Individual Is Supreme And Finds Its Way Through Intuition


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

These articles are brought to you strictly for educational and informational purposes. Be sure to consult your health practitioner of choice before utilizing any of the information to cure or mitigate disease. Any copyrighted material cited is used strictly in a non commercial way and in accordance with the "fair use" doctrine.



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