THE YEAR OF CRITICAL MASS
You have read this line before. Since the NHPPA’s inception in 2008, we have seen steady growth in grass-roots understanding and engagement but these last months have seen an explosion in commitment to action from you and your networks.
Our most visible work has always been in attending exhibitions, developing presentations, lectures and interviews to ‘get the word out’ and you all saw us crossing the country with the Freedom in Crisis tour, but what are we doing when you can’t see us?
OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND?
HERE IS A BREAKDOWN OF THE REGULAR WORK YOUR FUNDING ENABLES:
During the last year, we have been especially active providing individual citizens with knowledge and printed material to work on NHPPA’s behalf.
If you’ve ever wondered how we decide what to research, write and post for you to use on our website, the ideas are mostly yours! We produce tools for industry stakeholders, such as the Emergency Kit for Health Canada Raids, and the recently released Industry Alert on Advertising Standards because we know they are needed and we have the legal knowledge to devise them. But we produce many other tools and information sheets because you ask for them.
As you will know if you have emailed the NHPPA, we can’t reply to each and every message, but if you have asked for information you will receive a reply, even if it takes a while. Sometimes your email will be sprinkled with ‘CLICK HERE’ links to our website! This means that your question is so popular, we have devised and uploaded a page especially to answer it.
It does sometimes take time to get back to you. This is because there are hundreds of you writing to us, and because our answers have to be meticulously researched. We are equipping you for a grass-roots rebellion in areas of complex legal and regulatory systems. We must be 100% right in what we tell you.
HERE ARE THE TOP 10 QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK:
“I want to write to my MP, but I’m not sure of the details of what to say.”
This question came up repeatedly during the run up to the federal election and remains one of the most frequent requests. We devised a series of letters in English and French for you to download from our website. Each letter had a different spin on the situation but contained irrefutable facts and figures. each contained a space for you to add your own concerns and individualize the contents. We learned from parliament’s reaction to our letter writing campaign to Senate, when similar letters were dismissed as ‘computer generated’ and we advised you to go through your chosen letter(s) with a highlighter and ask your MP to address your specific concern in a reply. The election may be over but those letters are still on our website, and still relevant. Many of you are taking up our suggestion of writing to your MP once a month, and thank you for sending us the replies you receive! We may not reply to you every time, but we use the information to inform our research into what MPs need to hear. CLICK HERE to access the letter writing toolkit
“My MP doesn’t seem to understand the problem.”
You send us the replies you received from your MPs. They are invariably the same. A standard letter, containing Health Canada’s assurance that the system is for your safety. This makes our correspondents really angry. ‘How can I make my MP get it?’ We asked one of our stakeholders, an experienced industry retailer, to put together an education pack which would outline the situation, the history and the problems with the 2004 NHP Regulations so simply that even an MP would understand. It remains the single best introduction to the natural health crisis in Canada and we recommend it to anyone who wants to get up to speed with the details so that they can begin conversations with their networks.
CLICK HERE for the MP Package toolkit.
“I want to send links to people but they’re difficult to find.”
Many of you see or hear an interview with Shawn and think ‘that would be a great thing to email to my networks’ but by the time you go back to look for it, the link has been taken down by the TV or radio station. When you write to us asking for the link, we have had the same problem. We have solved this by capturing permanent copies for our YouTube channel. And to make things even easier for you, we have a page of links on our website telling you exactly how long each clip is, so that you can save some time looking for the perfect segment. CLICK HERE for the video links page.
“I’ve been collecting signatures for the petition but everybody says it would be better to have an online version.”
Yes, online petitions go viral very quickly and some governments take notice of them, but currently Canada doesn’t. This query comes up so frequently that we called the Clerk of Petitions in Ottawa to check the situation. Our decision to stick with an ‘old fashioned’ petition is based on the fact that the Canadian government MUST respond to it. We have researched and written a full article about this on our website and we send the link to anyone who wants to know more about the petition before collecting signatures. CLICK HERE to read Paper vs On-Line Petitions.
“My local health food store doesn’t have any of your materials, why don’t you call them?”
Many local stores have been reluctant to be seen by Health Canada to be ‘rocking the boat’. We do call and write but we are powerless to make them collect petition signatures for us, or put up posters for local events. We have been suggesting that you, the customer, might have more influence. Many of you have been taking petitions to your local stores and have been telling us that even retailers seem uninformed about the way regulation is taking the industry. We are listening, and hope to have a store support toolkit available on the website soon.
“My local media doesn’t know anything about this, why don’t you send our press releases?”
We do! All the time! Mainstream media seem reluctant to pick up on the issues, as with our MPs they seem content to allow Health Canada to write the news. However, if you have a contact who would be interested in some information, we will research and write whatever they need…and we have done this several times over the last year. We can also arrange telephone interviews with Shawn, so check your networks for media people!
“Why is Health Canada doing this?”
Alas, this is a question we can’t answer. But so many of you are angry now, the reduction in available products is touching the lives of the people around us and you write to us about terrible suffering. We read your stories and they impel us on to work harder for change. The level of anger out there is new and it has given us a new idea. Watch the toolkit section of our website, there are buttons for tools we haven’t supplied yet, this just mean we are still working on getting them exactly right. We hope soon to be supplying you with letters to send to Health Canada decision makers! These have to be very carefully worded (and checked by lawyers!) but they will include space for you to tell a named individual that they, personally, are causing you suffering. This is a big step to take, it’s taking a while to perfect, but it is something you are asking for and we are responding.
“How can I help?”
We love this question. There is so much you can do and you will receive a reply littered with ‘CLICK HERES’! You can collect signatures, write and visit your MP, contact your local media and, of course you can support us as we support you. We need volunteers and we need funds. Both enable us to get the tools you need out there faster.
“Can you help me to…”
We love this one too. Do you have a great idea to motivate your network? Ask us for support and you’ll get it. This year we have sent out PDFs of information leaflets to countless individuals who have identified a great local spot for a petition station. We have sent out DVDs of Shawn’s presentations to those great people (you know who you are) who have had an information and movie night at home. What a great idea that is. We have supplied leaflets for, publicized and assisted with web development for a great public rally at the BC Legislature. We have organized meetings, presentations and discussion groups across the country. Do you want Shawn to speak in your town? We’ll support you all the way. There’s a web page for that too, CLICK HERE to find out what sort of timescale and facilities we’d need to work with to make it happen.
“Why don’t you…?”
We receive many, many ideas and suggestions. Some are policy changes, some are website changes, some are changes to our media profile, some are ideas for events. We read them all. We consider them all. Some are ideas we have either tried and found unsuccessful, or have considered and rejected on balance as taking funding or time away from another core function. Sometime we’ll write back and say ‘what a brilliant idea, can you volunteer some time to help make it happen?’ Please don’t be offended if we don’t take up your suggestion, we’ll usually write back and explain why and often it just comes down to not enough funding. We love to hear from you, we all need you to stay engaged and angry.
WE’RE CRAFTING THE TOOLS
But only you can use them.
We can support the grass roots, we can energize the citizens, we can educate, advise, inform and encourage but we cannot BE the citizens of Canada.
Only you can do that. One by one. And you are.