The location: The Stone Store. The topic: Bill C-51. The special guest: Olivia Chow, a Member of Parliament from Toronto and the significant other of NDP leader Jack Layton. The objection to Bill C-51 hasn't been an engulfing hot topic like, say, the environment, but to a lot of people that like all natural foods, alternatives and supplements, it's very important indeed.
Chow says that Bill C-51 will make 75 per cent of the natural food and health products in the market right now illegal. "Bill C-51 is going to try and control everything so that only big pharmaceutical companies will be able to get their products approved. Small companies, like the one I'm in front of right now, will have a hard time surviving."
The Trinity-Spadina MP was highly critical of the Conservative government saying that their reasons for putting this bill through was in order to help out corporate donors in the pharmaceutical industry, while denouncing the Liberals for saying that their against parts of the Bill while noting that they intend to vote in favour of a second reading. The ideal solution, she says, is to push for an amending to law that creates a third category for Natural Health products.
"What is most important is when the House of Commons comes back on the 15th of September, we need a Member of Parliament, with a clear position and will take that position and say No to this Bill," added Chow. Three guesses as to who she thinks that MP should be.
"This is a store that I frequent for a number of items that would fall under the rubric of health products that would be affected by Bill C-51," said Tom King. "I just don't understand parts of that bill. I mean, we're smart boys and girls. I don't know if we need the government telling us what we have to do in every instance."
King went on to say that the bill will effectively put businesses like the Stone Store out of business. He said the bill was, "Part of Harper's mantra is to get government out of people's lives but he doesn't mind letting corporations in to control those lives and in many ways, Bill C-51 is exactly that."
But Chow reinforced that what needs to be done in order to protect the industry is create a third category and regulate it through act of law, because regulations can be changed on a whim of whatever government's in power. "It needs an act that will enshrine it in law that will protect it, regulate it so that it good for the country, good for ordinary Candians and good for the industry," she said.