Giant grizzly bear is deflated after protest demanding endangered species legislation last week. It followed minutes after another protest and petition warning against paid donations of blood plasma.

BC VIEWS: Fake news and the blood system

Labour groups claim paid donations to supply plasma-derived drugs are a health hazard, but BC already uses them from the U.S.

The B.C. legislature attracts its share of fake news events, especially now during a pre-election sitting.

We had a couple of these staged protests last week. The Wilderness Committee hauled a giant inflatable plastic grizzly bear to the front steps and pumped it up to attract gullible TV coverage of their petition demanding an endangered species law.

No, B.C. grizzlies aren’t endangered. That’s an “alternative fact.” Their news release talked mostly about spotted owls, whose tiny northern fringe population extending into B.C. has been a fundraising favourite of professional tree-huggers for decades.

Sweeping logging bans south of the border didn’t “save” spotted owls in their actual home range. It just put forest companies out of business, which is the apparent intent of the Wilderness Committee. In Washington and Oregon, barred owls moved in and displaced their wimpier spotted owl cousins.

The other fake news protest was a more serious matter. An outfit calling itself the B.C. Health Coalition brought two “survivors” of blood transfusions to warn of the danger posed by a “pay-for-plasma” company that wants to expand in Canada.

One told a grim tale of being hit by a car while walking his dog in Victoria. He said transfusions saved his life, his friends donated blood on his behalf, and voluntary donations are at risk by the opening of a company called Canadian Plasma Resources, which gives out $25 gift cards for blood donations at its Saskatchewan clinic.

The other is a hemophiliac who received a virus-tainted transfusion in the 1980s. He claimed that current technologies don’t catch new viruses, and somehow this new company will lead to the next tainted blood disaster.

Space does not permit listing everything that’s wrong with these arguments.

First, Canadian Blood Services collects enough volunteer blood and plasma to supply all the transfusions done in Canadian hospitals.

Canadian Blood Services can provide only enough plasma to meet about 17 per cent of demand for immune globulins, one of the protein treatments derived from large quantities of plasma. The rest of the plasma for these products comes from paid donors in the United States.

“Drugs made from plasma donated by paid donors are just as safe as those made from plasma from volunteer donors,” Canadian Blood Services states on its website.

Any suggestion that paid plasma donations reach trauma patients, or that highly refined products of donor plasma are unsafe, is false propaganda.

So what is the B.C. Health Coalition? It’s a front for union organizations around the province, and it typically stirs to life around election time. When it comes to the safety of medical products and procedures, whom should you believe: senior scientists at Health Canada, or the New Westminster and District Labour Council?

This recurring media stunt has nothing to do with plasma purity. It is about ideological purity, as determined by the labour movement operators who run this show, including former Hospital Employees’ Union executive and now NDP health critic Judy Darcy.

The real point of these misguided testimonials is to repel private manufacturers, in this case to the accidental benefit of U.S. producers.

I have been a regular Canadian Blood Services volunteer donor for more than 10 years, and I’ve seen the changes to procedures as new threats like Zika virus have emerged. Every donation includes multiple test samples in addition to the bag of blood that goes for transfusions or processing into plasma and other components.

It would be great if enough people donated blood to provide everything. But that’s not the world we live in.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Just Posted

Houston introduces Change program

Program offers lifestyle intervention to patients with metabolic syndrome

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Property sales up in Houston in 2017

Average selling price of single-family homes has also increased

Alexandra Park, undeveloped wonderland

Alexandra Park is located behind the Houston Leisure Facility at the end… Continue reading

Public’s help needed with tick survey

Tick infestations can directly impact the survival rates of moose

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Most Read