Two teenage girls had just died, but it did not stop his bizarre protest. I have many examples in my collection of anti-vaccine chiropractors here in Ontario, but very few of them were adjudicated. Over the years, I have attended a number of large and small presentations where chiropractors set up shop and try to sell various programs. Some of them targeted families with young children. One of the funniest was Dr. He and his young son, who was not a chiropractor, claimed to be able to move the skull bones to improve kids with autistic spectrum disorder ASD.
I even volunteered to have my skull manipulated at a quack-filled alternative health convention in Toronto. It was met with applause from the usual science-based groups and authorities [ 6 ]. The usual anti-vax brigade will be there along with the usual sales people selling all sorts of goodies to help chiropractors build their practices. Among the speakers are Canadian and American chiropractors, along with a long history of anti-medical opinions. In Summary, the basic spin of pediatric chiropractors has never been confirmed in any major study.
But, the case against them has not seemed to stop their marketing in any way. As more chiropractors graduate each year, they are having difficulty finding practice opportunities that would help them pay back their tuition. That is my belief! That is why there are so many of them who have swallowed the sales pitch of organizations who skillfully sell them expensive programs.
There are thousands of unlicensed individuals who prey on children and their families around the world. I will not be discussing this. But, I will attempt to identify an area of grave concern, especially when it comes to children in Canada. Children are victimized because either their parents allow them to be treated by these quacks, instead of real medical professionals, or their health providers, who are licensed as regulated health professionals, treat them without regard for science-based medicine. Little has changed over the last few decades. It is particularly troublesome here in Ontario, because we have authorized the regulation of naturopathy, homeopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine.
Socialized medicine was supposed to provide oversight of these CAM professions, but we have found little has changed. Fortunately for us, very few of their flock try to recruit infants and children…yet! Ravi Devgan : Nearly two decades ago, I was contacted by a reporter in Ontario who had identified a poor Mexican Mennonite family who had twins that had major neurologic and mental health issues. They reached out to a physician, Ravi Devgan, who claimed to be able to cure them. Devgan was sentenced to jail. But, even after his first conviction and the loss of his license, he continued to rip people off from his house in Toronto.
He died in prison after his last conviction. Tyrell Duec : In the spring of , a year-old Saskatchewan boy, Tyrell Dueck garnered headlines around the world because his bone cancer treatment was stopped by his parents. They were convinced by a local chiropractor, lawyer, who was a fundamentalist Christian, and politician that the best treatment was to pray and take him to a quack clinic in Tijuana for treatment.
He died of his cancer in July after the courts said that the parents could basically do what they wanted. The courts finally gave the go-ahead to stop chemotherapy for her leukemia, which had a good chance of putting her into remission. The case involved more than one Aboriginal girl suffering from treatable leukemia. The State of Florida had originally charged Clement with practicing medicine without a license.
The case was quietly dropped in March One of the puzzling things about Clement is the question of his supplying illegal supplements, which were shipped to the Reserve and other health food stores in Ontario. This was reported to Health Canada, but little seemed to be accomplished. Furthermore, the Aboriginal band sponsored several appearances of Clement to recruit more patients and flog his quackery.
Clement continues to flog nonsense treatments and prey on vulnerable people. We can assume that there are many more cases like Makayla in his files [ 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 ]. Ezekiel Stephan : This case has been in the headlines for six years. It began when a month-old toddler from Alberta died of meningitis. Years ago, thousands of infants and toddlers died of meningitis in North America every year. What makes the death of Ezekiel especially unusual was the legal case against his parents. His father, David Stephan, and mother, Collet, were charged and convicted in an Alberta Court for failing to provide the necessaries of life in David and Collet have to be retried all over again back in Alberta.
There have been scores of incisive articles, extensive television coverage, and ethical and legal opinions from around the world. The case took years to finally be prosecuted, and the actual trial lasted for weeks. David works for the company directly. The prosecution argued that an option for the defendants, aside from ceasing to sell the supplement, was to leave Canada, and move to the United States.
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The viability of this was not established by the prosecution and was discounted by Judge Meagher. He commented at  : E]vidence led by the Defendants established that the business of the Defendants was more than just selling the supplement but included the vital and essential support program. As the Supreme Court held in R v Latimer  1 SCR 3 at : The third element for the defence of necessity, proportionality, must be measured on an objective standard, as it would violate fundamental principles of criminal law to do otherwise.
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Judge Meagher noted that the harm that the defendants sought to avoid was the rapid return of the symptoms associated with depression and bipolar disorder which could result in aggressive behaviour, assaults, hospitalisations and suicides. He found that there was ample evidence that the symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder returned rapidly upon cessation of the supplement.
Thus the prosecution had failed to satisfy the court that one of the three elements of requirements of the defence of necessity had not been met. The prosecution failed to satisfy its burden of proof so the defence of necessity was made out. In R v Sault Ste Marie City  2 SCR ; 40 CCC 2d the Supreme Court held at , : Offences in which there is no necessity for the prosecution to prove the existence of mens rea, the doing of the prohibited act prima facie imports the offence, leaving it open to the accused to avoid his liability by proving that he took all reasonable care.
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This involves consideration of what a reasonable man would have done in the circumstances … While the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the prohibited act, the defendant must only establish on the balance of probabilities that he has a defence of reasonable care. In the Synergy Group matter the defendants established that they were unlikely to obtain a DIN for the supplement because of its multiple ingredients.
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However, evidence suggested that Health Canada did not unequivocally inform the defendants of this. Nonetheless, the defendants were under no illusion as to the eligibility of their product. This led them to focus upon attempting to obtain a ministerial exemption. The prosecution contended, too, that it had been open to the defendants to remove their treatment claims or the boron or germanium in the supplement. However, Judge Meagher found that there was no evidence that the taking of such steps would have led Health Canada to change its position that the defendants needed to obtain a DIN.
He concluded at  that the defendants had taken all reasonable care that could have been expected of a reasonable person in the circumstances to comply with the requirements of Health Canada … The backdrop of circumstances include that it was not possible for the Defendants to obtain a DIN for the supplement, that a new Natural Health Products Directorate with an approval process suited to natural health food products was about to come into force on January 1st, , that their numerous efforts to obtain a resolution to the concerns of Health Canada regarding the sale and distribution of their product were being largely ignored by Health Canada, and that the thousands of individuals who had found relief from mental illness through the supplement without the negative side effects of conventional medications were relying upon them to continue to sell and distribute their product and to maintain the Truehope program.
The fact that the Minister of Health in March made an agreement for the sale and distribution of the supplement and the operation of the Truehope program that continues to this say is evidence that the Defendants acted reasonably in and that there was no other reasonable legal alternative at the time. Extraordinarily, this led him to conclude that the defendants took all due care to comply with the Act and its regulations that would be expected of a reasonable person in the circumstances and therefore were entitled to the defence of due diligence.
The abuse of process argument Judge Meagher also scrutinised whether the defendants should be granted a stay of proceedings on the basis that it would be an abuse of process to allow the prosecution to proceed. The outcome of the decision was that the defendants were found not guilty of the charge.
Truecare contended that the provisions breached ss 7 and 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms the Charter. While the present Application does not challenge the statutory and regulatory control measures directly, the objective is to reduce their effectiveness by fundamentally altering the provisions used for their enforcement.
The focus of the constitutional challenge argument was on the health risk to users, and the infringement of the life, liberty and security Charter rights of users. This meant that the evidence to support the argument could only come from users making a personal Charter claim at .
However, as he found that Charter claims of users of Empower Plus were irrelevant to the application before him, he decided that the answer to the question posed was that the legislation was valid. Mr Hardy was not a user of Empower Plus for a therapeutic purpose and thus could not argue that the seizure sections were unconstitutional as a denial of health products necessary for his life or a denial of his liberty to choose necessary vital health products.
His subjective and objective claim was that his emotional wellbeing as a security interest had been infringed by the seizures. The result was that the application was dismissed.
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It seems to the committee, however, that the forceful expression and rigorous examination of differing opinions and positions is more or less fundamental to the work which goes on in universities. However, it extended to Dr Kaplan the opportunity to make further written submissions about the complaint. She asked the committee to scrutinise the methods used by Dr Polevoy to express his criticism and to determine whether his behaviour constituted harassment.
The board accepted that the principal mandate of the committee is to investigate complaints relating to the provision of medical care. It declined to overturn the decision of the committee. It is also illustrative of the difficulties in applying other than standard therapeutic goods assessment processes to nutritional supplements promoted as having collateral medicinal potential. Disappointingly, amid all the legal and associated disputation, the core question has not yet been litigated in the consumer protection context — whether the claims of the distributors about whether Empower Plus can cure or relieve psychotic symptomatology are false, misleading or deceptive.
The result was a curiously emotive and questionably reasoned judgment which has too often been elevated by non-legal often anti-Big Pharma commentators to the status of being a legal precedent. The rejection by the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board of the complaints made by Dr Kaplan against Dr Polevoy was an attempt by the board to remove itself from the ugly academic feud between a researcher who was an apologist for Truehope and an anti-quackery activist.
Where does the line lie between temperate scholarly critique and hectoring and defamatory castigation? Is there a professional obligation of moderation in terms of disagreement? And the stakes were high. Those marketing the product claimed that it enabled sufferers of serious conditions to have simpler, non-chemical treatment for their conditions, which did not have side-effects.
However, others have pointed to tragic cases of patients who have taken it upon themselves to stop taking orthodox medications for their mental illnesses, in favour of Empower Plus, putting themselves at risk of suicide, self-neglect, accident, or major deterioration in their psychiatric condition because of their treatment decision. He is the author of eleven books - four are on health topics for the lay public. His writings have appeared in numerous medical and lay publications and websites. He wrote a regular column for Schizophrenia Digest and writes for the website schizophrenia dot com.
As a journalist, he has attended and written about both the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the American Psychiatric Association annual conferences. Marvin is past president of the Hamilton chapter of the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario and was on the Ontario board.