I look at the coronavirus crisis differently from most people. To me, it’s the reopening of a 150-year-old scientific controversy that much of the western world has forgotten.
French scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is widely celebrated as “the father of germ theory”— the idea that we become sick when our bodies are invaded by foreign organisms such as bacteria, molds, fungi, and of course viruses. Although the idea had been circulating long before Pasteur achieved eminence, his laboratory work in the 1860s appeared to provide the scientific proof that had previously been missing.
What’s not widely known is that other French scientists working in the same field in that era held somewhat different beliefs, known as the “terrain theory”. They believed that the most important factor that determines whether or not a person becomes ill is not the presence of a germ, but rather the preparedness of the body’s internal environment (the “soil” or terrain) to repel or destroy the germ.
One of the main terrain-theory scientists was Antoine Béchamp (1816-1908). Pasteur and Béchamp were bitter rivals over several scientific issues. The book Pasteur: Plagiarist, Imposter (R. B. Pearson, 1942) even suggests that Pasteur plagiarized some of his work from Béchamp—no doubt a sore point with the latter, who ultimately died in obscurity. Pasteur, by contrast, became a skilled self-promoter who literally managed to make himself a household name long past the time of his death.
The other main proponent of the terrain theory was Claude Bernard (1813-1878), who (notwithstanding their differences of opinion on scientific issues) was a close friend and associate of Pasteur’s. At the end of his life, Pasteur is said to have recognized the importance of what Bernard had been trying to tell him, remarking, “Bernard avait raison. Le germ n’est rien, c’est le terrain qui est tout.” (Bernard was right. The germ is nothing, it’s the soil that is everything.)
In 1982, French scholar Marie Nonclercq published her doctoral thesis on Béchamp, alleging that Pasteur was not only a plagiarist but also a fraud and falsifier of experimental data. But regardless of Pasteur’s character, and regardless of whether he recanted at the end or not, what lives on after him is the mindset, clearly visible amongst most of today’s medical professionals and health care bureaucrats. That it is, that the germ (formally designated SARS-CoV-2) that has to be tracked down, isolated, avoided, and eradicated – and that’s all that matters. The “terrain”, to conventional modern thinkers, is nothing.
For instance, on the Ontario government’s website telling its citizens what to do about COVID-19, its advice consists entirely of measures designed to prevent people from coming in contact with the virus: stay home, wash your hands often, don’t touch your face, maintain physical distancing and wear a mask when you have to go out.
No mention is made of any measures individuals can take to ensure their immune systems are operating at peak efficiency (or as the French scientists would have put it, their terrain is well prepared to mount a defence). It’s almost as though the Ontario government doesn’t believe human beings have immune systems or that they’re of any use whatsoever. The only hope – Ontario seems to believe – is for a pharmaceutical company to patent a vaccine, because that is the only way that human beings can defend themselves against a virus, or acquire immunity.
In fact, Ontario and Canada have gone out of their way to discourage people from looking for methods of helping themselves. Ontario’s website says “there is no specific treatment” for COVID-19. End of story. Canada’s government-owned broadcasting company – the CBC – recently published an article denouncing “bogus cures” including vitamin C, zinc, medicinal mushrooms and oil of oregano.
This official attitude is utter nonsense. There is actually an abundance of scientific evidence supporting various nutritional supplements as being instrumental in preparing people’s immune systems to repel or overcome viral infections.
Take zinc, for example. Many COVID-19 patients have mentioned as symptoms the loss of their senses of smell and taste. According to the BBC, these symptoms affect as many as 18 per cent of infected patients. A CNN article says that some people will take days or weeks to recover these senses after having the virus, while others may take months or years.
But the loss of these senses is a well-established symptom of zinc deficiency, a fact not mentioned in either of the two articles cited, and apparently not known to most of the mainstream medical community. Yet a PubMed study connects zinc deficiencies with “smell and taste disturbances”. Another study specifically connects older patients with zinc deficiencies and a loss of acuity in the senses of taste and smell. Both of these studies also mention that zinc deficiencies lead to impaired immune function or an increased risk of infection. Can medical “experts” and governments not connect the dots?
Vitamin D is another nutrient (a hormone, actually) well recognized by scientists to have antiviral benefits. Google Scholar lists 3,670 research reports published in 2020 alone containing the words “vitamin D” and “virus”.
But rather than recommending adequate amounts of vitamin D to Canadians, Health Canada has for many years discouraged people from supplementing with it. “Most Canadians are getting enough vitamin D” says this government website, recommending only that people over 50 might want to take the paltry amount of 400 international units (IU) daily. Other Canadian government websites recommend slightly more, which says adults over 70 should take up to 800 IU daily. Never do their recommendations come even close to those of the Vitamin D Society, a consortium of scientists who study this subject. Their FAQ brochure recommends at least 4,000 IU daily to maintain a healthy serum vitamin D level.
But it gets worse. Vitamin D is actually free, if people would only go outdoors in the summer and expose their skin appropriately to the sun. These days, there are even cell phone apps that tell you when the sun is in the right position for your location, how long you should stay out, and how much of your body needs to be exposed in order to get the right dosage. The apps can also be used to determine how to prevent a burn.
Instead of telling Canadians how to get this free vitamin, Health Canada has told them for years to do exactly the opposite: to slather on sunscreen every time they go outdoors in summer and never to expose their skin to the sun.
How many Canadians have died, and will continue to die, of unnecessary health ailments (including COVID-19) because their government has given them this extraordinarily bad advice?
Americans are no better off. The National Institutes of Health fact sheet on vitamin D recommends the same 800 IU maximum that Canada recommends. And it says, “The American Academy of Dermatology advises that photoprotective measures be taken, including the use of sunscreen, whenever one is exposed to the sun.”
That’s no surprise, really. The US government is bedded down even more cozily than the Canadian government with the pharmaceutical companies who will eventually be licenced to produce the sacred vaccine.
But while Pasteur’s germ-theory mindset reigns in officialdom, savvy consumers seem to be following Béchamp and Bernard, without ever having heard of them. Vitamin C, zinc lozenges, and more exotic supplements such as monolaurin (a derivative of coconut oil which in laboratory tests destroys the viral envelope in a manner similar to soap) have been flying off store shelves. Online sellers can’t keep them in stock as word spreads among the public that there’s more they can do than merely trust their governments.
Epidemiologists busily debate the pros and cons of lockdowns and masks in controlling the spread of the virus, but I have yet to see a single report of anyone who has thought to compare the serum vitamin D levels of those who succumbed, versus those who recovered, versus those who have never become infected. This is the sort of data they should be looking at, but imbued with the germ-theory mindset, they are allowing this valuable information to slip away.
I hope this article will change that.
Karen Selick is a Columnist for the Western Standard. She has previously written for the original Western Standard, National Post, Canadian Lawyer Magazine. She is the former Litigation Lawyer of the Canadian Constitution Foundation and is the owner of KeenEyesEditing.ca.
McCOLL: As Scheer did unto Trost, O’Toole did unto Sloan
“O’Toole – potentially shocked into action by the events in Washington – has fired the first shot and triggered a battle for control of the big blue tent.”
I wanted to use the phrase, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me;” but for Ontario social conservatives, this is the third time. Erin O’Toole is now the third conservative politician from Ontario who recently courted the support of social conservatives only to throw their champion out of the party a few months after winning a leadership election. Why does this keep happening?
Conservatives say they elect leaders in accordance with a “one member, one vote” principle; but most centre-right parties in Canada do not. The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) and the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party use a ranked ballot and an electoral college style point system. With each constituency entitled to the same number of points, this system allows a dozen dairy farmers with one-year memberships in Quebec to be worth the same number of points as hundreds of life-long social conservatives in a rural Ontario constituency or the thousands of members in Calgary Centre.
Politicians are people, and people respond to incentives. The path to victory for a challenger in a conservative leadership vote lies in securing the runner-up position early by being an undefined “True Blue Conservative” and then vigorously courting social conservatives for down ballot support.
With 13 candidates in the 2017 leadership race, Scheer positioned himself as everyone’s second choice; but it was the social conservatives who voted for the hard-right social conservative Brad Trost and the more moderate social conservative Pierre Lemieux that gave him his narrow 51 to 49 per cent win over Max Bernier. Unfortunately, the hard-right support that is key to winning the CPC leadership can also be a “stinking albatross” in competitive swing ridings during a general election. This encourages CPC leaders to dispose of political liabilities. Less than a year after the leadership vote, Brad Trost lost his CPC nomination in what his supporters have described as a Scheer ordered hit job.
In the 2018 Ontario PC Leadership, Doug Ford courted the down ballot support of social conservative Tanya Allen. Doug Ford narrowly won the most points – while losing the popular vote – thanks to the down ballot support of rural social conservatives.
Allen ran for the leadership in opposition to Liberal changes to the public-school curriculum, and Ford signaled his support arguing that the “sex-ed curriculum should be about facts, not teaching Liberal ideology.” Within two months of the leadership vote, Ford revoked Allen’s elected nomination because of her social conservative views on sex education.
During the 2020 leadership race, Sloan implied that being gay was a choice. Many Conservative MPs were outraged and demanded that Sloan be expelled from caucus. O’Toole defended Sloan in caucus, and made it known to Sloan supporters that they were welcome in O’Toole’s “True Blue” tent. Less than a year later, Sloan has been kicked to the curb.
Trost, Allen, and Sloan all had the support of the Campaign Life Coalition, a social conservative group that campaigns against abortion and what they see as liberal ideology in sex education curriculums. As reported in the Western Standard, the president of Campaign Life has demanded O’Toole’s resignation and confirmed reports that Campaign Life has organized delegates to attend the CPC’s virtual March convention. As only delegates can vote for National Council leadership positions, it was reported that O’Toole dumped Sloan as part of a plan to stop Campaign Life from taking control of National Council and passing anti-abortion policies.
In the 2017 Conservative leadership race, the social conservatives were the king makers, but they did not have the numbers to elect one of their own. Social conservatives also represented a minority of delegates at the 2018 party convention in Halifax. In the 2020 leadership race, social conservatives won the popular vote in the second round. After Sloan’s down ballot support was redistributed, moderate social conservative Dr. Leslyn Lewis had 35 per cent of – and was winning – the popular vote but she placed third in the points and was eliminated because her support was concentrated in the West.
Social conservatives are demanding greater influence over the CPC. A conflict between the two camps at the March convention seems certain. O’Toole – potentially shocked into action by the events in Washington – has fired the first shot and triggered a battle for control of the big blue tent.
Alex McColl is the National Defence Columnist with the Western Standard and a Canadian military analyst
WAGNER: The Toronto book that predicted the rise of Western independence, 50 years ago
“It is remarkable that this book – The Prairie Provinces: Alienation and Anger – written by a team from a Toronto newspaper and published in Toronto in 1969, got so much right.”
In 1969, The Toronto Telegram newspaper undertook the ‘Canada 70’ study, which involved surveying the attitudes of citizens across the country. One of the products of this study was a book entitled, The Prairie Provinces: Alienation and Anger which was written by The Telegram’s Ottawa Bureau chief, Peter Thompson, and published by McClelland and Stewart. The striking thing about this book is that it shows how little has changed in the West’s relationship with Central Canada in over 50 years.
Much of the book is a sympathetic discussion of Western alienation and the reasons for it. Thompson sought out the views of many Westerners and seems to have obtained an authentic sense of their frustrations with Central Canada. This provides a basis for him to accurately explain a genuine Western perspective to his Toronto audience.
Early in the book, Thompson writes: “Many Western Canadians are getting mad. They have been disenchanted for generations with the East over economic inequities because the best interest of the Western primary producer is fundamentally opposed to that of the Eastern manufacturer. They have been disturbed by their apparent inability to influence the political and financial decisions of the nation.” In other words, “The real basis of Western discontent as Canada enters the 1970s is the fact that too many decisions guiding the Prairie destiny are made in Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal.”
Of course, in 1969 Canada had a rookie prime minister named Pierre Trudeau. The Canada 70 study was able to get a comment from Trudeau about discontent in Western Canada. He began by saying, “Perhaps, to be quite candid with you when you talk of growing disenchantment, I must begin by saying that some of my reading of the West is that it is always disenchanted.” In other words, his basic assumption was that Westerners are a bunch of chronic whiners. Not a good place to start.
In one part of the study, Westerners were asked about their sense of attachment to the country in relation to their sense of attachment to the West. A somewhat concerned Thompson writes: “perhaps many Canadians will be disturbed to know that thirty-four percent of Westerners think of their province or region ahead of the nation. Even more disturbing could be the fact that young people are more inclined to identify with their region or province than their parents are.”
Not surprisingly, then, Thompson sensed the budding of secessionist sentiment in the West. Indeed, the concluding chapter of his book is entitled, “Seeds of Separation.”
As he explains, the prairie West had been relatively poor from the early part of the twentieth century until the 1960s. During that decade, however, its economic situation began to improve, leading to new political thinking: “Not until the mid-1960s did the West halt to take stock, of both its riches and its position within confederation. It found the riches to be vast in dollar value but apparently limited in power to change the industrial and social structures of Canada.”
The result was that many Westerners became determined to get a better deal from Canada. As Thompson points out, “The suggestion implicit in the West’s confident tone is that if this game is rigged,” then “the West is getting out. The West is in a position to set some of the rules because it has more than its share of wealth in the game.”
He quickly adds that there were only “tiny seeds of separatist thought” in the West. However, he then points out that if the federal government does not deal fairly with the West, it “could force those tiny seeds of Western separatism into a growing movement within a decade.”
Thompson’s words were prophetic. The first serious secessionist organizations began to form in Alberta during the 1970s, and really took off in 1980 after Pierre Trudeau introduced his execrable National Energy Program (NEP).
Thompson was able to interview Premier Harry Strom – the last Social Credit premier of Alberta – and asked him about Western sentiment. Strom’s view was that “it would take a man of national stature to stir up the scattered separatist feeling in the West.” Although he did not think such a leader was then on the horizon, he said “such men have been known to emerge almost overnight.”
Premier Strom’s view that the lack of a prominent, credible leader was the missing piece in the independence movement is worth pondering. This same point would also be made by others in the ensuing decades. Clearly, there is something to it.
It is remarkable that this book – The Prairie Provinces: Alienation and Anger – written by a team from a Toronto newspaper and published in Toronto in 1969, got so much right. Over fifty years ago, an accurate and sympathetic portrayal of Western concerns and grievances was presented to Central Canada, along with a warning about budding secessionist sentiment. But in Central Canada, nobody listens to the West. In fact, federal policies are probably worse for the Prairie West today than they were in 1969.
Alberta’s – and even Saskatchewan’s – independence movement have begun to emerge from their infancy with organized and increasingly credible political parties behind them.
All the movement needs to catch fire is Strom’s man of “national stature”.
Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard
MORGAN: Trans Mountain may be the next victim of Ottawa’s indifference
Cory Morgan writes that there are dangerous signs of delay that could lead to Trudeau washing his hands of the entire project.
While the death of the Keystone XL pipeline at the hand of President Biden has dominated the news, the state of the embattled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) has been sliding under the radar. Despite the federal government ownership of the project, bureaucracy and regulations are keeping the construction of the line at a snail’s pace. Due to what appears to be an interminable safety stand-down imposed after a construction fatality last year, the TMX hasn’t moved an inch in over a month and the date for construction resumption keeps getting kicked down the road.
The construction season for modern pipelines is short. Ground must be frozen in order to access many areas and many other zones have seasonal access restrictions due to wildlife migration. This makes every week during the winter critical for construction, and the weeks are ticking away quickly. Road bans are imposed at the end of February in many zones and construction won’t be able to resume until next winter. Meanwhile, costs continue to explode, going from an estimated $7.4 billion to $12.6 billion.
Mismanagement appears to be rampant as contractors have been fired and new schedules are being drafted daily. This is a common fate of any project once government assumes management of it.
On top of these setbacks, BC has been imposing COVID-19 restrictions on the construction sites which has crippled if not shut down work altogether in some sections. Pipeline construction is not like a restaurant where you can simply reduce patron capacities and the associated staff. For many phases of construction you can either work with a full crew, or no crew at all.
Due to these delays, many of the hundreds of permits acquired for the construction of the TMX will begin expiring. That means the application process will have to be repeated at great expense along with more lost construction time.
Activists have taken a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic but we can rest assured that they will be coming out in force and working their very hardest to delay the pipeline construction by any means possible. Only through strong and uncompromising law enforcement will we see continued construction in zones with protesters and the government has shown little appetite to go that route.
The only way the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is going to be completed is if the federal government makes it a top priority and forces the project through the ever-growing mire of delays, opposition, and red tape. Can we be confident that Justin Trudeau will do this?
Canada is likely headed for a federal election this spring and if the Liberals remain in power, Alberta’s last remaining pipeline project may well be dead. Trudeau will claim that it simply is costing too much and that we no longer need more fossil fuel capacity.
Working within the confines of confederation will then have failed Albertans on every front. At that point, Albertans will have little choice but to look elsewhere. There truly will be nothing to lose anymore.
Cory Morgan is the Podcast Editor and a columnist for the Western Standard
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