March 20, 2019

To the Attention of: Mr. Jack Nagler, CBC Ombudsperson

Dear Mr. Nagler:

First of all, I want to congratulate you on your appointment as the Ombudsperson for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation. The CBC is a critically important public resource and it is vital that the CBC uphold the highest standards of journalism.

I am writing to you today to express my concern with the persistent efforts by the CBC, in its various forms of radio, print and television journalism, to undermine and discredit the therapeutic modality of homeopathy. It appears that the CBC has an agenda to eliminate homeopathy as a therapeutic choice in Canada. I have witnessed repeated attacks on homeopathy and its practitioners over the last number of years. The manner of these attacks undermines my confidence in the CBC and its journalistic integrity.

I am a citizen of Canada who has benefited from the therapeutic modality of homeopathy for more than 30 years. I was introduced to homeopathy when conventional medical treatments failed to alleviate the medical condition my son was experiencing at the time. I witnessed a tremendous improvement in my son’s health following the prescribed use of homeopathic remedies under the care of a Naturopathic Physician. Since then, homeopathy has become a well utilized, standard method of medical treatment in my family.

Over the last many years, I have witnessed the CBC’s efforts to discredit homeopathy as a valid and effective method of therapeutic intervention. What I note is that these efforts by CBC journalists to discredit homeopathy do not appear to be motivated by disgruntled consumers of homeopathic medicine. Instead, they seem to be motivated by an ideological difference between the natural/complimentary paradigm of medical treatment and the pharmaceutical-based paradigm of medical treatment.

I have witnessed the persistent, organized and biased attacks in CBC programming and reporting of alternative and complimentary therapies. This biased and distorted reporting does not reflect a fair or balanced perspective and respect for consumer therapeutic choice.  In most cases, the criticisms of homeopathy, as presented in the CBC coverage, is generated by health practitioners who are untrained in homeopathy, unfamiliar with its methods of treatment and its medical paradigm, and have an ideological and/or financial conflict of interest.

It is important to me that the CBC demonstrate respect for patient diversity, autonomy, and a commitment to supporting the safe use of alternative and complimentary therapies.

The Beijing Declaration adopted by the World Health Organization in 2008 was developed to promote the safe and effective use of traditional medicine (i.e. natural medicine and therapies). The Beijing Declaration requires member states, including Canada, integrate natural medicines and therapies into national healthcare systems.

Member states must:

  • Promote and respect natural therapies
  • Create policies to support safe use of natural medicine
  • Call on governments to integrate natural healthcare
  • Contribute to natural health research and innovation
  • Improve delivery and access
  • Promote sustainability
  • Establish and monitor reporting systems.
  • Establish quality licensing for practitioners
  • Seek to see natural healthcare used in tandem with modern medicine

Homeopaths are regulated in Ontario under the Homeopathy Act, 2017 and the RHPA (Regulated Health Practitioners Act), 1991. This means that the Government of Ontario has recognized Homeopaths as part of the Ontario Healthcare System and the public have access to well qualified and competent homeopaths.

A national survey described in JAMA (Astin, 1998) found patients seek alternative medicine because it aligns with their own values, beliefs, and philosophical perspectives towards health. Homeopathy has been used by generations of physicians for more than 200 years and is the fastest growing form of health care in the world today.

I have enjoyed the CBC, primarily as a listener of CBC radio, for many decades. I valued CBC because it tended to offer richer dialogue, more nuanced conversation, and more thoughtful discussion on challenging and complex topics than did other mainstream media.

In many cases, this is still the case at the CBC. However, when the topic is natural and complimentary medical treatments, such as homeopathy, I notice the CBC has devolved into an adversarial, disrespectful, and biased pattern of reporting that seems to have an agenda other than supporting the voices and choices of Canadians.

It is my hope and expectation that as the Ombudsperson for the CBC, you will endeavour to bring civility, respect, balance, and the voice of Canadians to these conversations and serve as a buffer against what appears to be a corporate and ideological driven agenda to eliminate the right of Canadians to therapeutic choice.

The Board of Directors, Health Action Network Society,

Alison Miller

Andrew Cuscianna

Antonina Bureacenco

Lionel Wilson

Mitchel Mahler

Ted Kuntz (President)