Thursday, April 28, 2016

Let's all say "NO" to the sale/purchase of blood!

After the "tainted blood scandal" in Canada, in the 1980's, Mr. Justice Krever was appointed to head a commission to investigate and to recommend steps that would, hopefully, prevent such a disaster from being repeated in Canada.
Two of his recommendations are:

    1) Donated blood is a public resource—Canadian Blood Services must act as a trustee ofthis public resource for the benefit of all persons in Canada;

    2) Safety of the blood supply system is paramount—the principle of safety must transcend other principles and policies. (from Michael Decter's presentation to the Ontario government, in opposition to the sale of blood plasma)

    Today, there is already one private clinic collecting and paying for blood plasma in Saskatoon, an operation opposed by the Ontario government during the election of 2014, opposed also by OPSEU, the Ontario Union of Public Service Workers, and opposed also by BloodWatch ( an organization of some of the victims of the tainted blood scandal.
    The notion of "selling" body parts, and blood plasma qualifies as such, is, or ought to be anathema to most sentient Canadians. Not only is this another slippery slope down which our country need not slide, given that while blood donations may be levelling, or perhaps even falling in some quarters, the supply is close to meeting need. Also there are other ways to encourage, and not incentivize, Canadians to donate blood. Rarely do Canadians not come forward if and when they are made aware of an impending shortage of blood supply, for example, prior to many holiday weekends in summer, when road travel is at a peak.
    The ethics, of course, of paying for human blood is arguably unacceptable to many, including your scribe.
    Transactional "deals" have come to characterize contemporary culture. Sure, that statement is an oversimplification, literally a line drawing. Nevertheless, it is worth mining for its implications, especially in the context of "privatized"  "for-profit" blood sales.
    In the United States, the head office location of the blood plasma "traders", free speech is for sale.
    So are tainted test results for drug safety, for emission tests, for corporate responsibility, purchased with professional contracts in the billions with the Public Relations industry. Lobbyists, message merchants, talking heads, shill-representatives (the louder the better to distract from the limits of the "truthful" message contained in the infomercial.
    Also for sale are convention delegate badges among political contenders, determined, at all cost, to deliver favourable votes on the respective convention floors in Cleveland and Philadelphia.
    $889,000,000 is the purported sum committed to influence the presidential election in 2016 by one corporate company, the Koch Brothers, who, according to the New Yorker, are reputed to have their own spy agency, dedicated to ferretting out dirt on anyone who criticizes them and their libertarian, frontier, global-warming-denying agenda. Now, that's a transaction a piece of which there will be hundreds of campaign "hacks" overturning mountains to access. And in the wake of that "pretense" to a kind of perverted truth, there will be hundreds if not thousands of careers lost and a handful of careers elevated, as their talking head puppets.
    In this transactional universe, people, individual human beings, are little more than a consumer, a writer of cheques, a holder of credit cards, a digital number in a plethora of marketing and advertising agency databanks. Like the nuggets of copper and iron that our forefathers sweated to bring to the surface, that went into the furnaces for refining and melting into alloys of various capacities, and the oak and pine timber that is stripped from our forests and pushed through the saws and the sanders, through the lathes and the stain rooms to form our furniture, we are needed for our "production value" measured in units produced and sold, profits and dividends 'earned', and yes, wages paid, disposable and defined by our function, in the higher order of the universe that is ruled by the oligarchs, the corporate moguls, the hedge-fund managers and the Wall Street monsters.

  • Our water supply, already under the corporate control of a few corporate vacuums who bottle and sell it back to the same people who consider it a "public resource",
  • our land, a source of interminable and exhaustive profiteering, (in Canada 15 of our largest cities are experiencing a significant overvaluing of their real estate market, as reported today on CBC)
  • our public health care system is under threat from the private pirates who seek to offer better service, faster, for those who can write those same cheques
  • our libraries are underfunded and closing like the endangered dodo's before them (this week Newfoundland and Labrador announced the closing of approximately 40% of their public libraries, as a cost-saving measure)
  • our military budgets are ballooning, along with our national security budgets, in the interest of keeping pace with innovation and high technology
  • and our personal genetic code is being analyzed by corporate laboratories at a substantial profit, so that we might be more able to manage our inevitable illnesses and diseases, already baked into our bodies
  • our entertainment industry is merely another arm of the corporate monsters, (just today Comcast agreed to purchase DreamWorks for $3.5 billion) in another of the many evolutionary moves to sequester control of the propaganda machine into the hands of those few in charge...
  • 3-D printers are already generating appendages like hands and fingers, for those whose lives have been curtailed by their loss, once again by researchers and laboratories whose eventual aim is to make such offering available on the open market, for profit...
  • universities and colleges have become so enmeshed in the money-acquisition obsession, they have sold both their integrity and their scholarship to the highest bidders, in an effort to compete with others doing the same "pimping" for dollars, status, reputation and sustainability
And in light of these other "normal" and natural developments in a culture that holds the pursuit of and the acquisition of money to be the highest ideal to which human beings can and do aspire, now we are about to watch another act in the sell-off of human nature, for the benefit of those have's who care only about their having more.
And, one wonders if there are enough voices, spines, arms and legs, not to mention brains, willing to stand against this avalanche of profiteering, by sticking our collective fingers, arms, legs and even torso's in the dyke against the tidal wave that threatens to drown us first emotionally, then psychically, then spiritually and finally physically.
Time alone holds the answer to such questions....and hope alone is not and will not be enough.

House of Commons

e-126 (Health care services)

42nd Parliament
Initiated by Kat Lanteigne from Toronto, Ontario, on January 18, 2016, at 3:05 p.m. (EDT)

Petition to the Government of Canada        

e-126 (Health care services)


  • Over 30,000 Canadians were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C via tainted blood in Canada, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Canadians and harming countless families;
  • Canada spent $17 million dollars on a publicly-funded federal inquiry which revealed that the paid-donor system was a key factor contributing to Canadians receiving tainted blood;
  • Billions of dollars in compensation have been given to those who received tainted blood and their families due, in part, to Canada's former reliance on blood from paid donors;
  • The Krever Inquiry recommended an end to a private, for-profit blood donor system in Canada, citing these five basic principles regarding how the blood system should be governed: 1. Blood is a public resource; 2. Donors should not be paid; 3. Sufficient blood should be collected so that importation from other countries is unnecessary; 4. Access to blood and blood products should be free and universal; and 5. Safety of the blood supply system is paramount;
  • Our blood plasma is not meant to be a commodity that is bought and sold, we must protect our voluntary blood system in Canada and ensure we have one national operator, the Canadian Blood Services, to oversee blood collection and plasma collection in our country.
We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, request (or call upon) the Government of Canada to:
Refuse to issue or approve any license to Canadian Plasma Resources or other private, for-profit, donor-paid blood products company to operate in Canada; and
Implement legislation that ensures no for-profit, donor-paid blood donor clinics are allowed to operate in Canada.

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