Just what the doctor ordered

Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett visited Attawapiskat Chief Teresa Spence during her “hunger strike” on Victoria Island in Ottawa, yesterday.

We also learned from fellow Liberal doctor, Dr. Hedy Fry, that Bennett brought Spence tobacco just before Christmas,

Most doctors would recommend an immediate cessation of the practice of starving oneself to death, let alone bringing a person tobacco.

Last year, the President of the Canadian Medical Association was quoted in a CMA press release,

“As a doctor and as a parent, I would hope that our federal government would do all it can to protect Canadians from the scourge of tobacco,” added Dr. Haggie. “Canada’s physicians stand ready to engage with the government to ensure smoking becomes a thing of the past.”

The Canadian Medical Association Journal has also published extensively on the dangers of eating disorders.

Was Dr. Carolyn Bennett visiting Theresa Spence in her capacity as a medical doctor or as a preening politician?

Every adult Canadian should have the right to enjoy tobacco, but we haven’t had tobacco brought to us by medical doctors since many decades ago.



  • Rick Omen

    Well we all know that in the “progressive” mind, Native’s are to be treated “differently”. So it’s no surprise to see a Liberal MP treating a native in a way that she’d never even think of treating a non-native.

    That said, I think that describing Chief Spence’s current “plight” as “starving oneself to death” is a little melodramatic. She’s getting all of her required daily nutrients and proteins from supplements and various liquids. It’s actually the same kind of diet many Canadians partake in around the New Year in an effort to get fit and become more healthy. Calling Spence’s actions a “hunger strike” is like suggesting NDP MP Pat Martin is “fasting” when he’s on a 3-day whiskey-only bender.

  • Rena Kinney

    Please ask before you make assumptions regarding Native Traditions and please do not denigrate by making fun of Native Spiritual traditions. To us, tobacco is sacred and is very important in matters such as Chief Theresa Spence’s actions. By presenting tobacco to Chief Spence the good doctor was actually telling her he had come to her in good faith. Chief Spence in turn, was telling the doctor she was accepting his friendly visit by accepting the tobacco. Because the tobacco is a sacred offering we are always mindful to keep our words humble and kind. So please Stephen Taylor and others before you make assumptions ask a Native what is the meaning of our actions and rituals.

  • Stephen Taylor

    I’m not making fun of native traditions, I am questioning Bennett’s decisions as a medical doctor. As you may have read “Every adult Canadian should have the right to enjoy tobacco, but we haven’t had tobacco brought to us by medical doctors since many decades ago.”

  • Albertablue

    If Ontario MP’s like Bennet insist on promoting FN tobacco smuggling and the sale of FN tobacco products, Ontario should have it’s Health Transfers cut and re distributed to those provinces which want to rid themselves of tobacco use.

  • E Mac

    Your knowledge on the subject may be correct but your background knowledge is NOT!
    “his friendly visit” Carolyn Bennett is in fact a female doctor – of what, we are not sure and Hedy Frye even less so.
    Probably Quacks.

  • kenn2

    You might have a point… if Dr Bennett brought Spence, say, a carton of Lucky Strikes or a nice box of Cohibas. Otherwise, the respectful act of bringing tobacco to Chief Spence has no more medical significance than bringing a rosary to a Catholic, or providing a prayer rug to a Muslim.

    There’s tons of real issues in the whole bill C45/”Idle”/AFN situation, and the time is ripe for a national discussion about all this. Some of the proposals in C45 re First Nations are worthy of consideration and discussion, and need someone to better explain the idea. Why have you instead chosen to twist a religious token into a lame dig at a doctor? Bored?

  • Guest

    the tobacco was not to be used for consumption as in everyday smoking
    interesting that doctors say nothing about all the smoke<deaths injuries from vehicles that have been smoking for decades and within 3 metres of blgs and all ages of people

  • Oemissions

    the tobacco was not to be used for consumption as in everyday smoking
    interesting that doctors say nothing about all the SMOKE, DEATHS AND INJURIES from VEHICLES
    and they do this within 3 metres of bldgs and persons of any age including infants

  • Tony Prudori

    When I’ve brought someone a “pinch” of tobacco in a ceremonial context, it was never smoked as a cigarette or in a pipe. A doc not advising someone to be careful about someone’s health? I get that. The tobacco? Kenn2 has hit the nail on the head.

  • DougM

    Alas Stephen, I have to agree with the “Tempest in a teapot” synopsis on this. First, Hedy “burning crosses on our lawns as we speak” Fry is the one Canadian MP who actually makes Sarah Palin look like a genius. Second, you skirt the issue without taking it on directly. FN are treated differently – no other segment of the Canadian Public have a judicial oversight instructing judges not ot incarcerate them, no other segment of society have the almost sacrosanct albility to maintain firearms even when they have demonstrated issues which would have them yanked unceremoniously from the general public and few other segments are permitted are permitted to break the law with impunity (Caledonia is a good example)

    But the issue which you and the rest of the media dodge is one which will. sooner or later come to a head and have to be reconciled and I’m pretty confident that the FN are not going to like it. So perhaps, given the fact we only get a PM once in every two or three generations which will take the political heat to do the hard things that must be done it is good we have Harper with a majority.

    Essentially, ever since the Magna Carta, the basic and inviolate foundation of a Liberal democratic society is based, legally and morally on one simple fact – “that every person is equal before the law”. Once that simple basic concept has been violated, every society has been rewarded with conflict until it has been resolved or that society’s destruction. It doesn’t matter whether you look at the old South Africa, the more modern conflict with the Allawites running things in Syria, the Serb’s trying to run Kosovo, Ghaddaffi’s tribe running things in Libya, or the Israeli’s trying to run the West Bank.

    The fact is that as long as it was possible to pour billions into the FN and the nedia trotted out the horrible conditions they lived in – Canadian’s were content to pour that money in. It was when they began to demand more, and fiscal times were getting a lot harder that Canadians started looking at where the money was going – and in too many cases, the feces hit the rotary air motion device. From, the judicial protection mentioned above, to fisheries, to fiscal mismanagement the FN were protected. While there are certainly instances in the rest of Canada where families have been meshed in politics (Jack Layton/Olivia Chow Rob & Doug Ford) they have been seperately elected – if any Politician in the ROC ever installed their boyfriend at $850 per day – $200,000 p/y, they would have been crucified and rightly so.

    The Americans regard their Constitution with an almost religous zealotry – yet they have ammended it 27 times. We will eventually have to decide over two elements of our Constitution –
    that which stipulates “every person is equal before the law” or that which given aboriginals special rights based on their race. One way or the other, the Constitution will have to be changed. It would have been far better if the always insipid media had spent more time actually analyzing the Constitution that their darling Trudeau rammed through than fawning
    over the fact he had “brought it home”. For such a critical document, a badly flawed one has turned out to be far worse than waiting to get it right. And lets not pretend its just the FN either – we have roughly 23% of Francophones in the Country – “where numbers warrant” therer should be french language services, yet over 80% of people in Parliament are Francophone. If you think the FN issue is a hot button topic it is just the tip of the iceberg. For 150 years this country has been run like the regional fifedom of Quebec and southern Ontario – and it has begun to evolve – prior injustices and inequitys are going to be resolved as it matures or it will break up. Personally, if you look at South Africa, it is possible to moderize without destruction but it is alway surprising to see how some will attempt to cling to old priviledges and power. Just one more aspect of how we will again be paying for Trudeau for the rest of this century as well.

  • DougM

    On a general basis I would agree. But prayer rugs and rosaries have not, so far as I know, have been found to cause cancer or be damaging to ones health or the subject of substantial cost to the public purse. As well, anyone who still expects intelligent actions from Hedy Fry is partaking very heavily of BC’s most prolific (and non-official) export.

  • DougM

    ON the subject of the repeated visits to Spence – Charlie Angus is prostituting himself but at least he is the Attawapiskat MP. Trudeau, Garneau, Fry, an Bennet are just protitutes seeking attention and policial points – but it serves Spences purposes to be used and there is no question of the media participation, so it really is an interesting daisy chain – everyone using each other and not a hint of integrity in sight.

  • kenn2

    The way tobacco is usually used in Aboriginal ceremonies is a significant cancer risk. Or do you still think they all sit in a circle and pass around the Peace Pipe? Rugs are a slip/fall hazard. Rosaries represent a choking hazard to our precious children. Don’t get me started on incense…

    This attack on Dr Bennett remains one of the lamest ever to grace this blog.

  • DougM

    Nope – that lamest comment ever made on this blog has to be yours above – I’ll let the CMAJ know immediately that you see rosaries and carpets as right up there with Smoking and cancer as a national health hazard. Geeeejus friggin’ Christ!!

  • kenn2

    You might wanna learn a bit more, before you equate FN use of tobacco in their rites with smoking. I suppose Communion encourages drinking, too, right?

  • DougM

    Are you really so obtuse as to think that the reasons the First Nations started smuggling cigarettes as an industry, that it was for the white mans benefit? So,

    ‘you might wanna learn”…well, pretty much anything before repeatedly proving your idiocy.

    “A popular misconception is that tobacco use among North American First Nations was reserved for religious and ceremonial occasions, like the bear feast described above, or “smoking the peace pipe” of popular imagery, and that its use was restricted to shamans and elders. It is true that tobacco was used on ceremonial occasions in special ways. These could include burning tobacco in open fires as offerings to the spirits, placing tobacco in special places, as well as in communal smoking ceremonies. But it was also used all the time on every occasion.”…/Effective%20tobacco%20control%203.pdf

  • kenn2

    Are you really so obtuse as to think that Chief Spence accepted the token gift of tobacco from Dr Bennett, rolled it into a cigarette, and smoked it with her next double-double?

  • DougM

    And just what, precisely, does whatever Spence did with the tobacco have to do with your (proven to be ridiculous) point that “You might wanna learn a bit more, before you equate FN use of tobacco in
    their rites with smoking. I suppose Communion encourages drinking, too,
    right?” Very clearly, and as posted, the FN use tobacco to smoke far more than for ceremonial use – which you tried to claim, yet again, very clearly having no idea of what you were talking about. Nice try, but you’re still out to lunch.

  • kenn2

    Very clearly, and as posted, the FN use tobacco to smoke far more than for ceremonial use – which you tried to claim, yet again

    You’re making sh!t up; I never made any such claim. My point, whether you acknowledge it or not, is simply that Dr Bennett’s symbolic gift of tobacco to Spence has nothing to do with FN cigarette smuggling or their recreational smoking. It’s lame, ignorant, and disrespectful to assert otherwise. Of course, those adjectives describe you pretty well.

  • kenn2

    This won’t work if you insist on attacking points that i didn’t make.

    btw, I’m growing used to the personal insults; it’s clear you have some form of forum Tourette’s. I do note that the weaker your argument, the thicker the crap flies. But, whatever floats your boat.

  • DougM

    Whohoo! I love it when you go all apoplectic about stuff.- poor didums. But the name “Artful Dodger” has already been taken.

    When you run off at the mouth like a soup sandwich saying things like

    “You might wanna learn a bit more, before you equate FN use of tobacco in
    their rites with smoking.
    and “do you still think they all sit in a circle and pass around the Peace Pipe?” its pretty clear to a thinking person that your point is you don’t think they use tobacco for anything other than ceremonial use – I agree that you’ve never shown you were a thinking person, but on this board once is allowed to make that fantastical jump – deal with it. And when someone posts proof that they smoke like chimney’s and perhaps addicitve things aren’t the best choice of gifts – symbolic or not – you go nuts I can only offer my thanks for the entertainment you provide – that and the further proof that the left can’t think.

    btw, I’m growing used to the personal insults;

    Excellent, then I’m training you well. But truth be said, if you had ever started thinking I would have continued in the spirit of debate. But when you couldn’t seem to write anything to anyone without a snide comment, a natural instinct of mine kicks in – when I see a bully I tend to step on them – my bad. Most bullys whine like gutshot dogs when they get a bit of their own back and I see you are no different. If it’s any consolation, just think of the two little pricks I caught beating up on a disabled kid in a shopping mall. Like I said, if you had tried to think I would have explained, but instead you just blurt out the “Harper bad” pablum in every intstance. So if someone can’t think, you train them like a dog. Just think of me as your Pavlov.