With nothing but contempt for Parliament`s constitutional prerogatives, Canada`s unelected social engineers are again at it. On March 4, the Canadian Institute of Health Research allowed immediate funding of research on what they consider waste or garbage products - left-over human embryos from in-vitro fertilization (itself an immoral and inhumane process that condemns thousands of unused embryos to death). The CIHR made an end run around Parliament, hoping to get the embryonic stem cell research genie out of the bottle before members of Parliament have a democratic chance to stop it. CIHR member Françoise Baylis was unashamedly blunt about it: "The committee was not persuaded by the perspective that an embryo is a human being with an inalienable right to life." What`s the problem? Is it with the "human" part or with the "right to life" part, or both? We`d all like to know.

Incidently, this is the same working group which gave its blessing last March to tax-funded technical cannibalism of embryos less than 14 days old. The group made the startling claim then to occupy the moral "middle ground" in declaring that human embryos have a "special moral status" requiring they be respected, but allowing them to be killed if it would benefit others. To even the most morally challenged, these ethics are depraved, especially when a growing mountain of scientific evidence suggests there are already effective alternatives to destroying human embryos.

It`s as if these bureaucrats were operating in a knowledge vacuum. It is a real mystery why there is such institutional support in both Canada and the U.S. for embryonic research that has not produced any significant results whatsoever, whose unpublished claims of success have been vastly exaggerated and for which there has proven to be an immensely more productive and ethical alternative. In fact scientists who don’t look to the richly endowed embryonic research industry for their funding, recognize that post-natal (adult) stem cell research which does not kill human beings has an impressive unmatchable clinical track record.

One might wonder, therefore, why many researchers and advocacy groups continue to fanatically push the increasingly discredited theory of embryonic stem cell superiority. The mystery becomes clearer when one realizes that these "experts" have gone out on a limb predicting incredible therapies, with none to show to date. Their employers and sponsors have also gone out on a financial limb by unwisely wrapping venture capital around embryonic stem cells. To maintain the illusion of success, these people will spare no effort to empty Canada`s frozen orphanages located in cryogenic tanks throughout the country.

Scientific breakthroughs in adult stem cell research have been phenomenal and have proven unquestionably over the years that we can save lives now without sacrificing lives. Just this year, adult stem cell research at the University of Minnesota revealed what is described as possibly the "most important cell ever discovered." That research shows that contrary to the tireless assertions of embryonic stem cell research advocates, adult stem cells can actually turn into every single tissue in the body. But don’t look for the media to tell you these things. It much more prefers to act as a filter, screening out most information that could damage the credibility of the potentially huge profit-making embryonic research industry. Instead of helping people find out what is going on, by its silence on the astonishing accomplishments in adult cell research, it is assuring they don`t. And won`t. And can`t. Is it any surprise that liberals in the media still wonder why used car salesmen command more respect than they do? Obviously Health Canada is satisfied with this deliberate campaign to keep Canadians in the dark? If not, why isn`t it out there putting a stop to the growing misinformation blitz orchestrated by the for-profit embryonic stem cell research industry?

Unlike the U.S. where a principled administration is outraged by the very idea, Canada seems quite determined to treat tiny human beings as mere property, which can be scavenged and cannibalized for spare parts for other people`s benefit. It is effectively opening a research path that will certainly create a demand for human embryos - a reality already confirmed in a March 5 report in the National Post indicating that Canadians scientists are about to approach infertility clinics across the country in search of excess human embryos to use as raw material for their research.

Taking its cue from some prominent members of the Canadian judiciary, the Canadian Institute of Health Research circumvented the parliamentary process. It is defiantly making rules on embryonic stem cell research which destroys human embryos, despite the fact that Parliament is still waiting for legislation on assisted human reproduction which will likely regulate in this same area. This is legislation through the back door that shows contempt for the democratic process. Canadians deserve to have their views on these issues of life and death debated in Parliament before any decisions are made. We may think that Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress squabble endlessly over diametrically opposed positions on vital life issues. But in contrast to Canadian members of Parliament, the people`s representatives there are quite keen in examining and discussing all aspects of proposed social legislation such as that concerning the exploitation of human embryos. They are also not the least shy in expressing their moral beliefs and in openly discussing controversial legislation. Here in Canada, it seems our elected legislators would rather let ideologically motivated agencies make the controversial decisions and do their dirty work.

Are we really willing as a country to rationalize death by allowing human embryonic cell research and, further, to provide federal funds for it? I don’t think so, but that is a question that now has to be answered by elected legislators before Canada becomes irremediably committed to exploiting its vulnerable unborn children for what appears to be primarily financial gains. If flawed reasoning can be sufficient to justify the devaluation and destruction of human life at one point along its developmental continuum, then every other point along the same continuum is opened to suffering the same fate.


Thaddée Renault

New Brunswick, Canada

March 10, 2002

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