Good news and bad news. Now the bad news: the Canadian government funds homeopathy!

It’s bad enough that Justin Trudeau seems to be going down over his government’s political interference with a criminal prosecution, but now we hear that the Canadian government has also given hundreds of thousands of dollars to homeopaths to practice their woo in another country—Honduras.  Click on this CBC report below to see the bad news:

Yep, $70K per year to give water to prevent Chagas’s disease. Another CBC report notes that this has been going on for five years, so $350,000 has been spent—to no effect except endangering sufferers.

Excerpts from the CBC article above:

Physicians who go on aid missions abroad want the federal government to review its funding of a program that sends homeopaths to Honduras because of the potential harm to local people.

Since 2015, Quebec-based Terre Sans Frontières (TSF) has been spending $70,000 annually in aid money from Global Affairs Canada to dispatch more than a dozen volunteer homeopaths to Honduras.

The money runs out in 2020. But Dr. Zain Chagla wants the federal government to review the homeopath program which claims to prevent and treat Chagas disease among other serious infections.

“I really do believe this is a wake-up call,” he said.

Chagla, who has done tropical medicine training in East Africa and is a professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the homeopaths’ claims about treating Chagas disease are potentially harmful.

“There is no evidence that what they’re using is anything more than diluted water. It’s a placebo, and we’re talking about a disease that can again kill and cause a significant amount of scarring down the line,” he said.

. . .Under the Honduran Health Code of 1966, homeopathy, naturopathy and “other occupations considered to be harmful or useless” were banned until the code was rewritten in 1994.

The Montreal naturopath who leads the Honduran missions, Carla Marcelis, referred to homeopathy as “a beautiful way to use the body’s own healing system to come to healing” in a promotional video about the Honduras missions.

The video also shows how Marcelis’s team has instructed locals about how homeopathic remedies can prevent serious viral infections from dengue, influenza and Chikungunya.

Marcelis is in Honduras, and CBC News has been unable to make contact with her.

As for who in Canada is responsible for this travesty:

After our initial story, CBC News contacted the office of the federal minister responsible for international development for an interview but was denied.

Instead spokesperson Maegan Graveline reaffirmed Global Affairs’s support for the homeopaths in an email, “The World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization in its 2014–2023 strategy encourage the integration of traditional medicine and complementary medicine, including homeopathy, into national health systems”.

Well, I’ll leave this in the hands of Canadian readers, as I wouldn’t know who to complain to about this. But the money surely comes from Canadian taxpayers, and is being wasted on superstition. Worse, by pretending that Magic Water works to cure diseases, this practice endangers the people of Honduras.

54 Comments

  1. randallschenck
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    This one reminds me of how much does it cost us in this country by allowing people to opt out of vaccinations to get their kids in school? Of course with 50 states in control you get at least 100 opinions.

    • Mark R.
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      There is a Senate hearing today discussing this. The 18 year-old that Jerry posted about recently (who went against his mother’s wishes and got vaccinated) testified. Rand Paul said mandatory vaccinations was giving up liberty. What an idiot.

      • randallschenck
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Rand Paul got rolled by a neighbor but did not learn much from it.

  2. GBJames
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    sub

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    It’s so bad as that minister doubled down when called out on it.

  4. Jair
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    This is pretty silly, but $70k / year is such a infinitesimal amount of money to spend in terms of government-level scale that I can’t be terribly upset.

    • Posted March 5, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Well, fine. I am glad to hear that you’re not upset at taxpayer money being used AND that it’s being used for useless cures. If you don’t care about Canadian taxpayers being bilked, don’t you at least care about the sick people who are being treated with useless water cures, all funded by your government?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      I ‘spoze so, but $70k could still pay for quite a few school lunches in some impoverished neighborhood.

    • Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      The money is not the main point. People in Honduras may die by mistreating serious illnesses with homeopathic “remedies”!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        It also legitimizes pseudoscience. I am done with coddling people who “prefer alternative treatments”. That’s how we got measle epidemics. There are scientific truths and there is fantasy. People who believe in fantasy cures are wrong and endanger others. Governments shouldn’t get behind fantasy cures.

        • GBJames
          Posted March 6, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          Amen, so to speak.

      • W.Benson
        Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        Canada’s support of homeopathy in Honduras is not just bad policy or ineffective policy, it is criminal policy.

    • Harrison
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      As some others have said the problem is not so much “money wasted that could have been spent on something better” as actually being spent on something harmful. I would be much less concerned if I read that Canadian officials had placed $70k in a bag and lit in on fire.

  5. Julian Cattaneo
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I will start by contacting my MP. It’s not just a waste of taxpayer money — it’s immoral endangering of human beings and my government should not allow that, let alone support it.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      I’ll do the same. It’s a ridiculous waste of money, and as you say, immoral.

  6. rickflick
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I thought only the USian governors were that insane.

  7. Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Can’t wait to use the good news bad news thing with my kids and grandkids.

  8. MP
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Most of the Canadians seems to be enamoured with JT. Based on current posts I see on Twitter, JT can do nothing wrong, including political interference or supporting homeopathy. Starting tomorrow, if JT declares evolution as hoax and creationism as the only truth, most Canadians will blindly accept his statement as gospel.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      I hardly think so. I think people more like the idea that Canada gets noticed, even in the US where yesterday my dad heard people in Georgia saying socialism is bad because all the Canadians live in a dictatorship and the entire country is starving. I actually didn’t vote Liberal in the last election….mostly I was tired of Harper and his anti-science behaviour as well as his predictions toward kleptocracy.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        predilection not prediction….damn you autocorrect!

      • Filippo
        Posted March 6, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        “I think people more like the idea that Canada gets noticed, even in the US . . . .”

        Speaking as a USian, I trust that Canadians (and citizens of other countries) will not consider it all that special to be noticed by, or genuflect before, the US, what with self-absorbed “Amuricun Exceptionalism” exigent across its fruited plain. To paraphrase Don Rickles, “We’re great. Just ask us – we’ll tell you.” As Hitch remarked about Randian selfishness, so with USians’ collective self-regard: “Some behaviors require no further reinforcement.”

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      I do not find any evidence that even one of your sentences is fully truthful. Enough of us were sufficiently enamoured of him to give him a majority, true. That seems to be fading fast. Hardly a day goes by that there isn’t an editorial critical of him or his cabinet.

      That final sentence of yours is purely a politically motivated lie. On the outside chance you are an American, why don’t you work to clean up your own leadership problems. We don’t want to have to come down and burn the White House again.

      • Raskos
        Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Sure we do…

        • merilee
          Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          As an American who is soon to become a dual citizen, I would say that if there were ever a time to reburn the WH (maybe just the moron’s bedroom) this might be it.

          • Hempenstein
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

            Watch out, you might get accused of entertaining impure thoughts, like the irony of a crate of tainted lettuce landing at the WH kitchen’s loading dock.

    • chrism
      Posted March 6, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      I don’t do Twitter, so I can’t comment on what goes on there, but outside of Twitter I see nothing but contempt for JT’s empty words. I voted for him, I admit: anyone but Harper was the mindset. But the disenchantment has been rapid and complete. Watching him do all the same old Liberal Party tricks that we saw Trudeau Sr, Turner and Chretien perform, whilst preaching to us in social justice warrior platitudes is just too much. I don’t much care for the leader of the Conservatives, but I’ll have to vote for him as I can’t tolerate any more Trudeau.

      Perhaps he could be miraculously transformed by swallowing some of his government-funded magic water, but I’d rather rely on the ballot box.

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted March 6, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        […] anyone but Harper was the mindset.

        I was not a citizen during the last general elections (2015), but I remember observing this. Especially towards the end, the Harper administration was quite obsessed with controlling the scientific language of government agencies, for example regarding climate change. They went full Orwellian in banning specific words from reports for example.

        Unfortunately the current administration is driven by intersectionality and fully embraces anti-scientific talking points dominant in the regressive left, focusing the attention to the patriarchy in academic scientific fields. From the purely selfish perspective of someone working in the academia, it is worse now (not to say that anti-scientific blind spots on either side are better.)

  9. rom
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Just wrote to my MP.
    First time I have ever done that.
    🙂

    I just read with dismay that we (Canada) have been spending 70000$ a year for the last few years on homeopathic remedies for Chagas disease and likely other illnesses.

    It is bad enough that we inflict homeopathic remedies on our own citizens, but doing this in Honduras has an element of “uninformed consent”. I do not wish my hard earned tax dollars to be spent on this potentially dangerous nonsense. Plus it puts Canada’s reputation as a rational nation at risk.

    Please tell me you will help put a stop to this willful negligence.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Perfect.

  10. Posted March 5, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Time to contact my MP…

  11. Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I find this an absolute scandal, and I think that heads must roll in Canada (I mean resignations, of course). What outrages me most is that Canadian government paid the quacks to practice not on fellow Canadians but on Hondurans. Just try to imagine how an advanced prosperous countries like Canada is viewed from poor unfree/anarchic backward countries like Honduras (and like my own country was not long ago). It is seen as a Blessed Realm, in a golden glow that makes it perfect, people accept uncritically anything coming from it in a hope to benefit themselves and their community, and so are particularly vulnerable to any quackery or another deceit coming from the idealized country. Instead of giving taxpayer dollars to the quacks to abuse sick Hondurans, Canadian government should have used the money for ads in Honduran media denouncing the quacks.

  12. merilee
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m (finally) in the process of applying for Canuck citizensip, so I will be able to write my MP soon enough. Have confused feelings about the current Trudeau “scandal”, but the homeopathy bs is disgraceful!

    • rom
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Trudeau has not been the best prime minister in my opinion. They probably have done more that is beneficial than not … The things that I have disliked.

      The Kahn scandal. Sure he can visit friends as he wants but this was pure political naivete.
      The homeopathic dilution of the assisted dying bill.
      Walking away from proportional representation because consensus could not be achieved. this is what leadership is for.
      SNC Lavalin. Sheesh
      And now not clamping down this homeopathic nonsense.

      I suspect it is better than a Harper government and there are things I likely have missed.

  13. merilee
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m (finally) in the process of applying for Canuck citizensip, so I will be able to write my MP soon enough. Have confused feelings about the current Trudeau “scandal”, but the homeopathy bs is disgraceful!

  14. merilee
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Sorry about the Dept. of Redundancy Dept. Blame it on WordPress.

  15. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Prince Charles will feel quite at home now when he visits this colony — I mean member of the Commonwealth.

    • merilee
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Is Honduras part of the Commonwealth?

  16. merilee
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Oh, whoops, I guess you meant Canada, Jenny🤓

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Uh-O Canada for sure. I thought Honduras was independent butI learn that was conquered by by the US banana companies and and became Banana Republic colony. Now its inhabitants simply want to come to the Mother Country.

  17. Jon Gallant
    Posted March 5, 2019 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    PM Trudeau might be an admirer of the US Green Party, which a few years ago had this in its platform: “We support the teaching, funding and practice of holistic health approaches and, as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and other healing approaches.” A cursory web search will turn up a typically vapid comment or two in this area by Dr. Jill Stein.

    • merilee
      Posted March 5, 2019 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Too many people fell for Jill Stein’s BS in 2016, helping elect the Cheetoh😩

  18. Hempenstein
    Posted March 6, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Interesting that dengue and Chagas is specifically mentioned. Some yrs back I re-connected with an old HS acquaintance. Not an old girlfriend (altho I did run around with her younger sister for a short while) but someone I knew somewhat and thought well of. Back then she was a bright-eyed girl and Nat’ Honor Soc member.

    But what I found that she’d become was a prancing teabagger and Jesus-bot who was anti-vaxx to boot. I parried with her for awhile over evolution, and in-between she’d throw out these homeopathic things, and I specifically remember her mentioning potions for dengue and Chagas (but not any others), which I only scratched my head at since this was someone living in Virginia while AFAIK these were tropical diseases. In the end she flitted off and I never heard from her again, which was somewhat of a victory.

    • Posted March 6, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Umm. . . prancing teabagger isn’t language we use here.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted March 6, 2019 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        I asked her if she was in the Tea Party and the reply was something to the effect of yes and proud of it.

        • Posted March 7, 2019 at 4:19 am | Permalink

          You apparently don’t know what “teabagging” means.

          • GBJames
            Posted March 7, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

            I think there are really two different meanings to the word in. If memory serves, the non-sexual version originated independently in a political context. The meanings later came to overlap for derogatory reasons but not everyone is aware of the double meaning.

            • Nicolaas Stempels
              Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

              You can’t count me in among those “not aware of the double meaning” . I thought it was a strictly political term referring to the reactionary group calling themselves the ‘tea bag party’ or was it just the ‘tea party’? I’m betting confused now. 🙂

              • GBJames
                Posted March 7, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

                Tea Party loonies took the stage after Obama’s election. One feature of their events was the “colorful” ersatz founding-patriot look… tricorn hats and such. Photographers were attracted to the most colorful characters, many of whom dangled tea bags from their caps. They (rather naturally, I think) started being called “tea-baggers”.

                Somewhere along the line, it became known that this was also a term used among certain people within the more experimental (if that’s the right term) sexual activity communities. But I don’t think everyone who uses the term “tea-bagger” knows this.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 7, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

                I remember Bill Maher having to explain the sexual part of it to his guests all the time so people really don’t know that side of it.

  19. Posted March 6, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    CFI Canada has taken a stand against this. I have to write my MP, too.

    I think we should write to Health Canada, as well, and maybe Global Affairs Canada.

  20. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Happily, the funding has stopped. Also, for those thinking this was the Trudeau government who caused all this, it was actually started under Stephen Harper, according to this article.

    • merilee
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      It does sound much more like Harper’s gov’t.


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