2006-04-12 Real-life experience. PPP’s and corruption in action. Government-University-Chemical Biotech. (from a series)
The problem we are resolving is the impact of the chemicals on health through the water supply, air, and food (as has been documented in emails #1, #1a and #2.)
The role of the corporations in the Government and in Universities (the undermining of regulation and of “science”) has to be understood and addressed if effective problem-solving is to occur. We must first remove the obstacles to finding a solution.
As you will see, the relationships between industry and Public Institutions takes us to the conclusion: ACCOUNTABILITY is not possible if the Government is allowed to hand off money to incorporated companies (Inc.’s) and Foundations, the names of which hide the fact that they are run on public money. I call them “GOVERNMENT FRONTS”. They are organizations that operate on behalf of an industry and which are government funded.
As long as this continues, citizen participation in governance is futile. Things won’t be cleaned up. The problem of chemicals (or bioteched foods or nuclear or war or … ) will not be addressed because the industry has entrance through back-doors. The documentation makes it clear.
In this case “the industry” is the pharmaceutical transnationals. They own chemical companies. The two together are the biotechnology companies.
Herbicide-tolerant plants lead to an increase in the chemical load which increases disease and developmental problems. Biotech pharmacy (pharmacy owns chemical and together they are biotech) ensures that there will be little effective action in the removal of cause – – especially not when the Government is in collaboration (it is passed along, doesn’t matter whether Liberals or Conservatives. The Saskatchewan branch of the NDP – I don’t know who else).
- Health, Tony Clement
- Agriculture, Chuck Strahl
- Fisheries and Oceans, Loyola Hearn
- Environment, Rona Ambrose
University of Saskatchewan
- Board of Governors
- Deans Ernie Barber and Lynne Pearson
Parliament has begun its work on Accountability legislation (news reports April 11, 2006).
From the bottom of my heart: thank-you!
- The Accountability legislation in its draft form should be evaluated against the events described below. Would it have stopped the events from occurring, and if not, do we have the ingenuity to make changes to the legislation so that it would?
- The Accountability Legislation must outlaw “Government fronts”.
Re (1): Would the Accountability legislation have prevented …?
The letter below provides concrete examples of what happens when the Government and the Universities are “partnering” with industry. One example is that I, the citizen, become the subject of attempts by a civil servant to silence me, if I challenge conflicts-of-interest. I believe the new legislation will provide a clear and easy path for the individual citizen to have the conflicts-of-interest addressed. Thank-you.
But I note that in order to achieve accountability, there has to be adequate public funding for the regulatory functions of Government. (The civil service cannot be held to account if it doesn’t have the political will behind it AND the money to enforce regulations.)
There also has to be adequate funding for the universities so that we have research without corporate bias – research in the public interest. The notion that corporate money is a necessity in the public sphere because “we can’t afford things” without it, is ludicrous and a door through which insidious corruption manoeuvres into position. Documentation below.
(2) The Accountability Legislation must outlaw “Government fronts”.
In following emails there will be documentation of what happened under the Liberals: funding was withdrawn from public-interest research at Health Canada (the Canadian Childhood Cancer Surveillance and Control Programme).
Then, “Health Research Foundations” were established with a stated priority for “funding research that has the potential for commercialization”.
Biotech pharmacy is, through the Health Research Foundations, a recipient of public money but the trail is covered over because the public has no way of knowing, from the name, that “Health Research Foundations” are funded by Government. Here we have a clear example: public money is diverted away from the research that would help address the CAUSES of a 25% increase in childhood cancers; then public money is funnelled to biotech pharmacy research with its “potential for commercialization”. There will be no progress on REMOVAL OF CAUSE. “Government fronts” are an obstacle that need to be removed / outlawed.
If an organization receives a significant portion of its funding from the Government, the public must be able to decipher this, FROM THE NAME OF THE ENTITY. If Agwest Biotech Inc receives almost 100% of its operating funds from the Government, then it IS a department of the Government and must carry the Government’s name. Similarily with Biotec Canada and the Health Research Foundations. There can be no accountability for public funds when the money is passed out, from under the control of the Department and Minister responsible for it. Through Government fronts, tax-payers’ money is going to organizations that lobby or operate on behalf of an industry.
SECOND EXAMPLE, CAN’T TELL FROM THE NAME
The biotech arena is not the only arena in which this is happening. What is “TransGas Pipeline”? (A Saskatchewan example.) You can’t tell by the name that it’s a crown corporation. I just did a quick google search: TranGas is a bronze sponsor: “Cougar Racing Welcomes TransGas As A New Sponsor”.
This is money for Formula race cars … when the Government is supposed to be reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
TransGas builds pipelines. Nexen Inc (oil and gas) is a beneficiary.
Dwayne Lingenfelter, former deputy minister works for Nexen. Doug Anguish, former cabinet minister works for the pipeline lobby. A Dept of Environment employee, Larry Kratt, also works for Nexen after co-chairing the Sask Petroleum Industry Government Environment Committee (SPIGEC). Thank goodness the new Accountability legislation will address the latter. But it has also to address NAMES – people have to be able to tell from the name that TransGas Pipelines is a crown corporation.
LAST EXAMPLE, YOU CAN’T TELL FROM THE NAME
A third example of the need for full disclosure: I worked in a community that has a dependent and co-dependent relationship with the Federal Government. I was dismayed that my tax money, given in earnest to help these communities, was ending up in the bingo halls and in drugs. People in the community receive $75 each to attend regular meetings of community associations. (This was the amount paid in 1998 and there was movement underway to increase the amount.) It would have been very difficult to hold anyone responsible because the money was funnelled through different organizations that do not report to a Minister of the Crown, and again, you can’t tell by the name that they are simply “the Government” as far as funding is concerned.
Back to point (1), would the new Legislation address these events?
The documentation of the corrupting influence of the corporations takes the form of a letter submitted to the University of Saskatchewan (below).
Feb 14, 2006 letter to the University of Saskatchewan Board of Governors is moved to: http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=5309
THINKERS OF THE DAY ON PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS is posted at: http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=5312
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SCIENCE UNDER SIEGE (The full article is at 2005-08-05 )
An ill wind is gusting through the halls of science these days: faked research, suppression of unwelcome results, corruption of science advisory panels, university research falling under the influence of corporate sponsors, and many other conflicts of interest.
It’s as if science were under siege. . . .
TO: Carmen DePape, Clerk to the Standing Committee on Health, DepapC AT parl.gc.ca
Will you please supply the Committee Members with a copy of my submission?
TO: Members of the Standing Committee on Health:
- The Chair (Bonnie Brown (Oakville, Lib.))
- James Lunney (Nanaimo—Alberni, CPC)
- Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, CPC)
- Réal Ménard (Hochelaga, BQ)
- Robert Thibault (West Nova, Lib.)
- Jean Crowder (Nanaimo-Cowichan, NDP)
- Ruby Dhalla (Brampton-Springdale, Lib.)
- Colin Carrie (Oshawa, CPC)
- Nicole Demers (Laval, BQ)
- Brenda Chamberlain (Guelph, Lib.).
Thank you for your patience and diligence on behalf of Canadians.
I have read parts of the testimony given to the Standing Committee on May 19th, 2005 by Drs Chopra, Haydon and Lambert. http://www.parl.gc.ca/committee/CommitteePublication.aspx?SourceId=117785
My experience with Health Canada reinforces what the scientists are telling you. I was heartened to read Mr. Réal Ménard’s remark, “I think that it almost warrants a public enquiry”.
A public enquiry is most certainly required.
Please find attached the letter I received from a lawyer representing a Health Canada scientist who also works for the chemical industry (CropLife Canada). The letter threatens to sue me if I give such-and-such evidence to Saskatoon City Council. My response is also appended – “Gangsters bully people through threat of broken bones. The chemical industry has an established history of attempting to intimidate through the threat of harm to the person’s finances and well-being, utilizing the legal system as the weapon.”
In my case, the gangster is a Health Canada employee and his bullying is a consequence of the problem identified in the testimony of the 3 scientists: the Government sees its “clients” as the industry it is supposed to be regulating.
Also appended is copy of the newspaper report that arose out of my calling “foul” to the intolerable conflict-of-interest that the Government employee is in.
This particular incident is but one example of what is happening in Health Canada. I have sent a list of 14 items (of which I am aware) to the Minister of Health that documents other egregious events.
My experience, as documented below, lends support to Mr. Ménard’s statement. An enquiry is most certainly in order.
2004-04-10 Tom Wolf, Health Canada scientist threatens to sue me. Response – the mafia uses threat of broken bones.
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TERMINATOR TECHNOLOGY, see Terminator Technology (GMO), UN Convention on Bio-diversity, Dr. Tewolde affair, (Norway) Spitsbergen seed bank
Réal Ménard (MP) is absolutely right that an Enquiry into the operations of Health Canada (PMRA – Pest Management Regulatory Agency) is in order.
Further to the personal experience submitted to you earlier (Health Canada scientist’s attempt to intimidate me into silence) I have appended documentation of 2 events related to biotechnology. The events make a loud statement that something is very rotten in the state of Canada.
Some will think that the UN Biosafety Protocol Meeting in Montreal and the February UN Meeting in Bangkok have nothing to do with Health Canada and are therefore irrelevant to the decision on whether an Enquiry into the operations of Health Canada is warranted. But Health Canada plays a large role in biotech in Canada.
The PMRA (Pest Management Regulatory Agency) is responsible to the Minister of Health. The CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) is responsible to the Minister of Agriculture.
The clients of the PMRA (Health Canada) are the chemical companies. The pharmaceutical companies have large ownership interests in the chemical companies, who in turn, by-and-large are the biotechnology industry.
Biotechnology in Canada has a current main thrust into agriculture where crops (our food supply) are developed to be resistant to herbicides. (One might logically think that the food supply would be developed using the criteria of nutritional gains and environmental impact on the common good, but this is not the case.) The companies go to Health Canada to get their pesticides and pharmaceuticals licensed for use, and they make large payments to the PMRA (at least $8 million a year as reported by the television programme W5 a few years ago). These companies then have partnership agreements whereby the Government through Agriculture Canada pays half the research costs for developing seeds that are resistant to the licensed chemicals. And they have agreements through Health Canada to fund research on biotech drugs.
A second developing main thrust of biotechnology in Canada, and with the same corporate criteria as are applied in agriculture, is into the development of biotech pharmaceuticals. The partnership agreements through which public funding flows to the drug companies to fund research are through a front known as the Health Research Foundation. Health Research Foundations exist at the Provincial level of Government as well. These publicly funded “foundations” fund research that has “the potential for commercialization”. Biotech pharmaceuticals figure prominently. Government funding of the transnational pharmeceutical companies is done in precisely the same way as its funding of the chemical/biotech companies (e.g. for the development of crops such as roundup resistant wheat) which is through front organizations with names such as BioTech Canada and AgWest Biotech.
Both the food and the drugs we consume are determinants of health. The PMRA, other branches of Health Canada, and the CFIA work together – their “clients” are the same companies. As I have mentioned, the pharmaceutical companies own the chemical companies who own the biotechnology companies.
These are mostly large transnational corporations many of which have a very long and well-documented history of corruption and non-compliance with the laws of the land. (documentation in a separate email.)
Given the overlaps in ownership, the overlapping interests in biotechnology, and the collaborations between the Government and the industry through partnership agreements, it is very reasonable to presume that Health Canada may indeed be collaboratively behind the 2 events mentioned. Both the witholding of entry visas to scientists who are effective in their work to insist on a Biosafety Protocol, and the attempted sabotage by Canadian Government negotiators of the UN deliberations on genetic seed sterilization technology, have the same end in view. I therefore presume that the same people in Government are behind both events. The events are an outrage to democracy and an international embarrassment to Canadians. I don’t know of any other way than an Enquiry to determine what is going on.
(1) Dr. Tewolde and other scientists who were to attend the UN Protocol Meetings on Biosafety in Montreal
(2) the UN Meetings in Bangkok in negotiations on genetic seed sterilization technology
Documentation on both is appended. It tells you that what Drs Chopra, Haydon and Lambert are telling you is the truth. What is going on in the Government and specifically in Health Canada is not to be tolerated in a democracy. There needs to be a public enquiry.
CAUSE AND EFFECT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PUBLIC-PRIVATE-PARTNERSHIPS AND CORRUPTION
The false idea of Public-Private-Partnerships has been embraced by different political parties . . .
APPENDAGE: ANNUAL REPORT CROPLIFE
(Lorne Hepworth, President of CropLife, presented industry information to Regina City Council during the pesticide bylaw attempt. Lorne was a Cabinet Minister in the Saskatchewan Government of Grant Devine.)
Croplife Canada 2003-2004 Annual Report (Link no longer valid)
2 0 0 3 – 2 0 0 4 P R O G R E S S R E P O R T
There are not many years when Canada’s pest control industry – and indeed, Canadian agriculture as a whole – faced as many challenges as those that presented themselves in 2003-2004. Some challenges you expect and even anticipate in this business, such as bad weather, global competition, disease and pest infestations. Others – such as challenges we face from people propagating misinformation – are less predictable, and require different responses and resources to address. These public education challenges are a modern reality and are a large part of our role at CropLife Canada, as a trade association representing developers, manufacturers and distributors of pest control products and plant biotechnology in Canada.
Physicians startle the public with unbalanced report
One of the highest-profile matters we’ve dealt with lately is the Ontario College ofFamily Physicians’ (OCFP) selective review of scientific literature about pesticides, which makes alarming recommendations against pesticide use. We believe this group, like others who oppose our industry’s products, has a right to its opinion. But scientifically, the OCFP report is disturbing. It focuses on only a limited number of studies – mainly, those that support its anti-pesticide position. It ignores the fact that Health Canada regulates all pest control products manufactured and sold in Canada, and that the products are subject to some of the toughest regulatory standards in the world. Nonetheless, despite its lack of balance, the OCFP report garnered major headlines across Canada. Our communications team, partners and member companies responded quickly to inform the public about the facts. This included hosting a news conference to present CropLife Canada’s position on the OCFP report, and distributing a joint statement from scientists, academics, farm and grower organizations, pest management professionals, manufacturers and distributors stating that the safe, responsible use of pesticides holds significant benefits for Canadian society.
CropLife Canada is now conducting two separate third-party reviews of the OCFP report, one involving internationally acclaimed epidemiologists. People need to know that Canada has exemplary risk-and safety-assessment procedures in place for pesticides, and that the responsible use of pest control products poses no undue risk.
That is why CropLife Canada has public and media information campaigns to explain how plant science technologies support innovative and sustainable agriculture in Canada.
Dealing with Toronto City Council
The Urban Pest Management Council challenged the City of Toronto anti-pesticide bylaw in 2003, but the Ontario Superior Courts upheld the City’s bylaw. This decision has been appealed, and the Ontario Court of Appeals will hear the case on November 4, 2004. This case is important not only from a legal precedent standpoint, but from a validity of science standpoint as well. If these products are deemed safe for agricultural use, how can they be judged unsafe for non-agricultural uses? The results of this case will most likely influence all municipal bylaws in the province of Ontario, and our trade association is committed to the appeal process.
Provincial regulatory activity
Laws in Quebec and Prince Edward Island are prompting significant changes in pest-control product use there. Again, this signifies a tendency toward increased legislation at taxpayers’ cost, which is at best redundant, and at worst, confusing and contradictory due to the patchwork of inconsistent legislation.
The need to inform the public
CropLife Canada is handling these challenges head-on with a series of initiatives. These are aimed at enhancing Canadian leaders and society’s understanding of plant science technologies to increase the awareness of the benefit and value of our technologies especially as they relate to the environment and public health. CropLife Canada is stepping up its stakeholder and government relations program with a new plan that will promote the association’s goal of supporting innovative and sustainable agriculture in Canada. The new effort is necessary because, in part, the political landscape has changed at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. As well, many of the issues CropLife Canada deals with are overarching beyond science and regulation, into societal issues. No doubt you’ll have seen CropLife Canada appear in various media across the country. The number of contentious issues we’ve dealt with, from the previously mentioned Ontario College of Family Physicians report and the City of Toronto anti-pesticide efforts, to providing information and expertise about West Nile virus, have meant a plethora of print and broadcast media interviews. It’s given us an opportunity to build up relationships with reporters, and is increasingly resulting in CropLife Canada being the “go-to” organization for factual information when contentious issues arise over pest management. This is a good start towards presenting a more balanced case to the public for responsible pesticide use.
Lorne Hepworth, President … etc.
(I HAVE DELETED THE REMAINDER OF THIS REPORT)
IV. ARTICLE IN STUDENT NEWSPAPER, THE SHEAF
The Sheaf is the student newspaper at the University of Saskatchewan.
Continuing series looks at privatization of University of Saskatchewan
Written by Jeremy Warren
Thursday, 09 February 2006
All it took for Homer Simpson to ignore his car’s engine problems was a little bit of duct tape to cover the ‘check engine’ light.
All it takes for the U of S administrators to ignore any criticisms directed towards them is a little bit of silence.
“There’s no response whatsoever from the [university] administration about concerns raised by the forums,” said Dr. Chary Rangacharyulu, a professor in the physics department and one of the organizers of the continuing series of forums about the direction of the U of S.
“Maybe we don’t exist,” he said wryly. “Things have been pretty quiet so we think we’re not saying anything that’s untrue.”
Indeed, some in the university community are troubled by the lack of response from administrators to their concerns raised about the direction of the U of S in a time of major growth and development of the institution.
These concerns were expressed at the latest of the forums, which carried the title “W(h)ither the Corporate University…No PAWS for thought.” Professors Howard Woodhouse and Michael Collins, both of the College of Education, were speakers at the February 1st forum.
Professor Collins, in an interview after the forum, explained why he believes the “knowledge economy has become a commodity to be bought and sold.”
He contends the university has developed into a corporate training ground, something he said is true now more than ever.
“There’s greater commercialization of research, and, in terms of teaching, the areas that are highly valued are those that feed the market, whether that be the applied sciences or the professions. There’s a greater emphasis on training for the market, which has its place on campus—it always has—but it’s a question of balance,” Woodhouse said.
“This claim that a university education always leads to a better job can be questioned. It can lead to a job, but is that the purpose of university? I think the real purpose of all education is the advancement and dissemination of shared knowledge.”
Woodhouse said there are two things that have led to this shift towards privatization of universities: government and industry, both of which have come to see universities as instruments to create private wealth. And, as government support for education dwindles, universities must turn to other sources of funding, such as corporations, he said.
“Whether it’s in terms of targeted research that’s geared towards the corporation’s own goals or programs that feed the market, like the cost recovery programs seen in commerce, outside forces have done what they can to change universities to fit their agendas.”
Administrators, Woodhouse explained, are complicit in this process.
“Universities have done little to resist this because the people running universities tend to have similar priorities, values, and goals. They talk as business wannabes rather than being academic leaders.”
Not that it’s easy to rollback this trend of privatization, said Woodhouse, who believes there is systemic and institutional resistance coming from universities as well as governments and industry. One positive step that he mentioned was the possibility of low or free tuition, similar to what the governments of Ireland and Wales have done, which would make this university “a beacon not just for western Canada, but Canada and the world in general.”
One critical problem Woodhouse pointed out was the lack of public access to contracts, financial statements, and other important documents on campus. He used the example of the minutes from Board of Governors meetings, which are only available to the public 10 years from the date the original meeting took place as one way the university administration undermines the credibility of this institution.
“This is a publicly funded institution and its accounts should be available for public scrutiny,” he explained. “There should be accountability in terms of what connections are made with corporations. These books should be open.
Too often transparency means they see us and we don’t see them.”