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Inside Track with Ron Cannan: Why aren't BC doctors free to discuss COVID-19?

Have you recently come across a news story that had you asking questions? Have you been wondering what really is the other side of the story? Well, I am excited to have the opportunity to try and answer any questions that might be keeping you up at night. Combining my contacts with my personal experiences, I will try to provide you with the rest of the story.

The question for this week from various readers seems to be very top of mind and timely: If a doctor in BC has research information on COVID vaccination that is different from Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and/or Health Minister Hon. Adrian Dix, why are they not allowed to share this information with their patients and the public (media) without the threat of losing their medical licence?

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed

This is an opinion column by Ron Cannan, who served as Kelowna–Lake Country MP from 2006 to 2015 and on Kelowna City Council from 1996 to 2005. It contains only his own views – and not necessarily those of KelownaNow or its staff. If you would like to submit a letter to KelownaNow about this column, or about any other topic, write to news@nowmediagroup.ca


No matter what your position is on the COVID-19 vaccine, I thought this was a very interesting question considering the fact that if you watch the evening news and switch between stations, they almost all have the same story when it comes to COVID-19. Having worked in the media industry for several years and being involved in government for almost two decades, I know that today’s news services are more centrally controlled, censored and concentrated into a handful of different owners.

If an individual has an open mind, does some research and a little critical thinking, it has become quite obvious that there are many well educated and accomplished doctors, scientists, medical researchers, right here in BC, and around the world, who have compiled documents upon documents providing factual evidence challenging the government’s COVID-19 vaccine narrative.

As a former Member of Parliament, who attended Health Committee meetings in Ottawa, I can say that most politicians don’t have the expertise to make these difficult policy decisions and thus rely on medical professionals such as members of the various College of Physicians and Surgeons, Universities and scientific researchers.

To try and answer today’s question as to why these educated individuals are not allowed to share this information, I reached out to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC).

However, before I share their response, I thought it would be helpful to provide some background information and a quick review of history. This is important as the CPSBC, politicians and the media often make reference to a phrase “widely accepted scientific evidence.” This is really a point in time as new scientific evidence is being provided to us virtually daily; especially on the topic of COVID-19.

For example, in the 1950s, the Department of National Health and Welfare had no research capacity on the chemistry of tobacco and tobacco smoke. Capacity would be developed over the years, but it would never catch up to the tobacco industry. In 1954, the Canadian tobacco companies gave money for cancer research to the National Cancer Institute of Canada, but said nothing about it publicly until 1963. There were numerous scientists and technicians doing the research back in the 1950s and 60s who indicated that tobacco use was safe.

However, over time, other researchers determined how smoking causes cancer and revealed much different results about the harmful effects of tobacco use. Government officials were making decisions based on “widely accepted scientific evidence” at the time. However, as new research about how tobacco use causes cancer was discovered, the government was forced to change their policies.

Could you imagine if the strong tobacco lobby industry of the day was able to withhold this damaging information from the public? Similar to what some feel the powerful pharmaceutical companies are doing today with regards to COVID research information.

As a member of the Government of Canada’s finance and international trade committees, I received numerous invites from the pharmaceutical industry to attend special events and requests to meet often. The pharmaceutical industry is a strong, powerful and effective lobby organization in North America.

Can you imagine if you owned a company and the government issued you a multi-billion-dollar contract to produce a product and have total immunity from liability if something goes wrong with your product (i.e., vaccine)? You won the lottery my friend!

More than 60 years after the drug thalidomide caused birth defects in thousands of children whose mothers took the drug while pregnant, scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Ma. recently solved a mystery that has lingered ever since the dangers of the drug first became apparent: how did the drug produce such severe fetal harm? Thalidomide was being administered by medical professionals of the day based on “widely accepted scientific evidence” at the time. New information isn’t always misinformation, and in this case, it changed everything going forward.

Look at breast cancer treatment. For years, doctors were doing mastectomies. Now with new “widely accepted scientific evidence,” under certain circumstances, people with breast cancer have the opportunity to choose between total removal of a breast (mastectomy) and breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) followed by radiation. Lumpectomy followed by radiation is likely to be equally as effective as mastectomy for people with only one site of cancer in the breast and a tumour under four centimetres. Clear margins are also a requirement (no cancer cells in the tissue surrounding the tumour). This came about from scientific research and doctors' personal experiences with breast cancer patients. Just think if doctors/scientists/researchers were not allowed to share this new information then many women today would still be having entire breasts removed when often the case is not necessary.

Some folks may recall in the early 1980s, when the blood supply was determined as safe by widely accepted scientific evidence. About 2,000 Canadians were infected with HIV from tainted blood products. Many thousand more, perhaps as many as 30,000, were infected with hepatitis C. Although AIDS was first reported in Canada on March 27, 1982, it took three years for the Canadian Red Cross Society, which administered the nation’s blood donation system, to start screening for HIV. My mother had surgery and had blood transfusions during the 80s and in July, 1989, both my parents were diagnosed HIV-positive. Both died of AIDS. My mother passed away on Nov. 24, 1989 at the young age of 60 and my dad on Sept. 24, 1993 at the age of 65 (after living on the experimental drug AZT for a few years).

The decisions the medical professionals made at that time and the information that was provided to my three brothers and myself was considered “widely accepted scientific evidence.” However, new medical research and information has been made available and shared with other doctors and people are now living longer and healthier lives as a result.

I mention this only to reinforce the fact that whatever your position is on vaccines, medical professionals, locally and globally, are witnessing firsthand the adverse effects of COVID vaccine mandates. However, they are not able to freely share this information with their patients and the public without a threat to continuing their professional medical practice.

This reminds me of when we were in government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was accused by the mainstream media of muzzling scientists. Journalists, scientists and government media officials all concluded that the complaints were “well founded.” In the future, open science communication should be allowed and the media should provide more investigative journalism and objective reporting to the public.

Well folks, how do you think the media and the present government are doing on both of these fronts today?

Now back to today’s question, I asked you to please read carefully the wording of the reply I received from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC which states: “If a College registrant deviates in practice from widely held scientific evidence as it relates to patient care, in the event of a complaint, they would be held accountable and may be required to defend their decision in front of their peers on an Inquiry Committee. We couldn’t assume to know what action the Inquiry Committee would take as each case is heard and judged independently.”

There you go, folks. If a doctor decides to share their personal experiences and speak out against the public health officer’s vaccine mandate, then they might have to meet with a few of their peers to provide their evidence. Of course, the unknown is what is going to happen behind these closed doors as this isn’t a totally open and transparent process. How can the doctor provide this “widely held scientific evidence” if the CPPBC doesn’t allow doctors to share this new information?

<who> Photo Credit: 123rf

The anonymous communication spokesperson for the CPSBC went on to say: “The College’s mandate is public protection. It isn’t an advocacy group for College registrants. Vaccine mandates are issued by the PHO and not the College. The College supports all orders and directives of the Public Health Officer (PHO) as it relates to vaccine.”

So basically whatever Dr. Bonnie Henry says, the CPSBC does!

Interesting in that if the CPSBC mandate is really about public protection, then why are they not keen on hearing from BC doctors as to what they are experiencing firsthand from their patients with regards to adverse reactions to the vaccines and the vaccine mandate? Maybe there should be more than the present limit on exemptions for people who have serious health reasons for not getting the vaccine?

The reason is that the College does what Dr. Bonnie Henry states. Not taking anything away from Dr. Henry; however, she is an unelected bureaucrat who is appointed by the government. This all seems like a very convenient way for Health Minister Hon. Adrian Dix and the government to “muzzle” doctors in BC.

The College will tell you that they have an open call process that is fair and transparent for the Board Director appointments. However, I served three years as Director for a BC Board. When my appointment came up for renewal, I received a call from the NDP government staff member who was overseeing Board appointments and told me that she appreciated my work on the Board. However, new Board Directors were being appointed based on skin colour, gender, ethnicity and Aboriginal identity. Nothing to do with merit! I am not a member of a provincial political party so I am sure that didn’t help either, in this fair and transparent appointment process!

I was also advised by CPSBC that Doctors of BC is the association that advocates for physicians in this province. So, I approached Doctors of BC to see what they are doing to support their members who are against the vaccine mandate. I was quickly advised by Brent Weiss, who is their regional advisor and advocate, that he will be meeting with the Interior Health Authority next week to determine a process for those physicians that are choosing to remain unvaccinated. Will be watching closely to see how effective their advocacy is. This week I had doctors contact me and share letters they received this week from Interior Health Authority stating that they can no longer tend to their patients who are located in IHA facilities (i.e., long term care homes, KGH, etc).

One doctor I spoke to teaches at UBC and they are not required to be vaccinated (just rapid testing as required). However, this person also teaches UBC medical students at KGH and is now not allowed to teach the students without being vaccinated. This doctor also has their own practice with 20 years’ experience. Another BC doctor I spoke to is Dr. Steve Pelech. Dr. Pelech has over 33 years’ experience as UBC professor, medical researcher and President CSO (Chief Scientific Officer) of a bio-tech company. Here is a link to his bio.

Dr. Pelech is near the end of his career so he is not afraid to speak the truth without facing ramifications from his association. Actually, Dr. Pelech stated that more and more of his peers are now approaching him and sharing firsthand information as to what is happening to patients in BC and across Canada. Dr. Pelech is the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Canadian Covid Care Alliance. They represent over 1,000 members, comprised of physicians, research scientists (including virologists, vaccinologists and immunologists) and others, including highly accomplished professors from top Canadian universities, allied healthcare professionals, and lawyers from across Canada, who have serious concerns with respect to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in this country.

I don’t like needles; however, I am not against them. Actually, I think I might have had more things poked in me than a pincushion. As a former Member of Parliament serving on the International Trade Committee for almost ten years, I travelled to several countries around the world. My wife and I also travelled to rural parts of Russia and Brazil on missions’ trip so we had numerous vaccinations. Most recently got my double jab of the shingles vaccine.

Dr. Pelech said: "Any of the group members are afraid to share their names as there could be serious personal consequences (i.e. loss of their licence). These doctors and scientists are being muzzled."

I think we all should be asking questions as to why all these doctors and medical researchers, who are providing factual and verifiable references, are not allowed to speak freely regarding this “widely held scientific evidence”?

Remember when Stephen Harper was accused of muzzling the scientists?

Why is the mainstream media now not providing balanced reporting and asking these tough questions to provincial and federal governments of today? Why are they deciding to choose which science they want to report on?

As Dr. Pelech said to me: “This is an information war and the media have helped to create a state of mass psychosis and fear in our society. The media want to keep pushing the sensationalism as they are generating good ad revenue as well as several mainstream media companies are receiving financial support from our federal government (that is our tax money paying the mainstream media).”

Seems like this vaccine mandate has more to do with politics than science. Politicians often want to be seen as doing something and are often ineffective as they are too entrenched in the situation.

I can say that as I have been there, done that!


This is an opinion column by Ron Cannan, who served as Kelowna–Lake Country MP from 2006 to 2015 and on Kelowna City Council from 1996 to 2005. It contains only his own views – and not necessarily those of KelownaNow or its staff. If you would like to submit a letter to KelownaNow about this column, or about any other topic, write to news@nowmediagroup.ca


Official advice about COVID-19 vaccinations is available from Health Canada here and the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control here.



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