** The content below is in no way political. The CBC’s bias against natural health was evident before the current federal government came into power and will likely continue regardless of who is elected in October. This has everything to do with decisions being made inside the broadcaster – mostly at a local level.
I was once an avid CBC devotee – proud that I had the discernment to choose a broadcaster that so beautifully created a national dialogue, weaving all the threads of our great nation into a stunning tapestry of tolerance, common experience and national identity. I trusted the CBC; it validated my vision of the very concept of Canada.
But love is blind. I now recall occasions that should have challenged my devotion. For example, when a CBC reporter speaking to my media relations class surprised us all with his bold proclamation that “oh yes, the CBC absolutely does have a bias.” Once out, the statement rang true. The bias showed up in the sharper tone used by the national morning show host when interviewing the “other side” or the combative approach to guests who were invited for the sole purpose of being proven wrong. Steadfast, I believed that, whatever the tactics, the CBC was protecting pure Canadian values and I trusted it with all the conviction a flag-flying progressive can muster for an institution. The CBC may have a bias – but it was my bias.
But the bias took an unexpected turn. In the fall of 2015, CBC’s Marketplace commissioned lab testing on samples of fish oil, vitamin C and protein powder supplements, part of an investigation to determine whether consumers were getting what they paid for when purchasing natural health products. Based on those results, Marketplace reported that five of the products did not contain what was indicated on the label. The manufacturers strongly disputed the results and demanded the testing be re-done.
Turns out, the re-test found the original results to be false and the CBC issued a retraction. I found the entire situation – the intent of the story, the failing of the evidence, and the retraction – confusing. Clearly, the CBC wouldn’t have done the story unless they were determined to find something untoward? But why? For what reason would the CBC try to sell Canadians doubt about natural health? Don’t most Canadians understand that natural, preventative health practices and products are of huge benefit to us, individually, and – collectively, in terms of reduction of health care costs?
In 2017, HANS was sharing office space with another natural health nonprofit – Pure North S’Energy. Based in Calgary with locations in various cities in Western Canada, Pure North offers a variety of health services to the public on a sliding scale. Services include comprehensive testing for nutrient levels, heavy metals, hormonal issues, etc. Consultations were done by nurse practitioners, a naturopath, and a nutritionist. Treatments consisted of supplements (included in the price), intravenous therapies, chelation therapy and general health support. Much of the patient population was marginalized, addicted or homeless.
Every day I witnessed extraordinary extensions of kindness, compassion and love, from the Pure North staff to the patients. The practitioner/patient relationships were strong and sustaining. People were becoming healthy and empowered. Those who needed the services most were not expected to pay for them – only to properly continue with the program. The organization was heavily subsidized by Calgary businessman, Allan Markin, and to a lesser degree, by the Province of Alberta. Until the CBC employed its terrorist tactics.
That July two years ago, Pure North S’Energy was strategically attacked by the CBC through radio, television, print and online, based on the allegation that an elderly woman (uninjured) was over-prescribed Vitamin D at a Calgary clinic.
As a result, Pure North S’Energy Foundation lost their provincial funding. The organization, still operating, is now seeking $6 million in damages from the national broadcaster and two of its reporters, Charles Rusnell and Jennie Russell.
Why would our national broadcaster seek to destroy an organization that deserves to be celebrated?
From there, the CBC’s anti-natural health campaign ramped up. Individual chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, and other practitioners, many friends of HANS, were publicly victimized by way of condescending, invalidating, misleading terminology and accusations. The CBC’s approach to natural health indicated something much more sinister than a mere media bias.
In March 2019, the CBC, on our trail after we wrote to their ombudsman in good faith to express our concerns about their attacks on homeopathy and other natural modalities, requested comment on our “anti-vaxx” activities. HANS was their next target. The local “reporter” introduced us to the public as an organization in contravention of public policy and in receipt of provincial funding. It was exactly the same strategy used on our friends at Pure North with exactly the same objective – defame and de-fund. Media terrorism.
In the following days, we decided that, in order to carry on with the good work we do, we would need to leave the vaccine safety issue in the past. We lost three board members, including our president. We endured a provincial government audit and our funding was put at risk – in fact – likely lost. The CBC accomplished everything it intended to. Media terrorism.
We got up, brushed ourselves off, and carried on. Several months later, at the suggestion of concerned Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, HANS joined a committee that included two members of parliament, formed to create public awareness of proposed Natural Health Product (NHP) regulations. Five of us participated in a July press conference, HANS representing the consumer. Before we’d turned off our microphones, the MPs were, via social media, being accused, by the CBC, of associating with an “anti-vaxx” organization. The CBC hijacked the press conference and the issue we were there to bring awareness to. They successfully terrorized the MPs into walking away from the committee and significantly diluted our ability to gain traction with it. Once again, the CBC accomplished everything it intended to. Media terrorism.
I’ve refrained from bringing attention to the specific CBC employees and contractors who are responsible for attacking individuals, organizations, and an industry that so immensely enhances Canadians’ well-being. This is bigger than them and their opportunism. This problem is national and systemic. These attacks are pieces of an agenda designed to undermine climbing Canadian demand for health-responsibility and individual empowerment. From here it looks like the CBC is the biggest threat to natural health in Canada.