We are happy to post the answers provided by the federal election candidates in Kingston & the Islands who answered our survey. It is a very busy time for candidates and we acknowledge that there are many important issues to discuss this election, so we are grateful to those who took time on the issue of 5G – an important topic for our community and of growing concern to Canadians. Read the full questionnaire here.
The questions asked were:
- How will your government ensure citizens are informed of negative health consequences and privacy implications of wireless technologies and ensure that 5G does not get implemented before it is proven safe for health or privacy?
- If elected, would your government ensure that a review of Safety Code 6 is done in an open and transparent way and all the science on health effects from RF-EMFs is considered? What safeguards should be put in place so the review is open and transparent and not influenced by industry?
- What will you do to ensure that the Canadian government applies the precautionary principle as required by international law, and ensures appropriate independent science is conducted to determine the safety of 5G?
Here are the responses, listed alphabetically by last name:
- Mark Gerretsen – Liberal Party – NO REPLY
- Barrington Walker – New Democrat Party – NO REPLY
- Ruslan Yakoviychuk – Conservative Party – NO REPLY
Andy Brooke – Peoples Party
Question #1 Response (Andy Brooke):
We are faced with a new situation. 5G is an emerging technology, and at this juncture, in my view, it hasn’t been really defined yet. We cannot afford to have community dialogue absent. To proceed blindly (or worse, with willful ignorance) cannot be allowed to take place.
Firstly, as Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, I will commit to holding public forums (i.e. community town halls), as soon as practicable, in order to begin to assess the level of public awareness and gauge community sentiment. This is the starting point and first steps.
Constituents are already asking legitimate questions and raising valid concerns. There are a growing number who are expressing worries that should 5G technology be proven hazardous, the health of their families could be at serious risk, and broader implications of privacy rights and property values may come under jeopardy.
If I may, I would like to share some of my personal involvement with this issue. I first attended an introductory and informative presentation at Mulbery Waldorf School, hosted by Kingstonians For Safe Technology. I have attended two (2) screenings of the documentary, “Generation Zapped”, at the Kingston Frontenac Library and also at the Isabel Turner Branch. I was present for a lecture at Queen’s University organized by a number of faculties with Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The “STOP 5G” Rally followed by an Expert Panel Discussion at City Hall proved eye-opening. I have personally heard presentations by Dr. Anthony Miller, a world renowned epidemiologist and former consultant to United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr. Martin Pall, a distinguished researcher in the area of EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields) and health among other subject matter experts.
One expert from Kingston added another dimension: “There is a serious lack of transparency [with the technological process, human rights and ethics.]”
People are beginning to ask, ‘How do we ask the right questions?’ They do not see this as some “invisible inconvenience”, but as something potentially more serious and deserving closer public scrutiny. This underscores the importance of beginning the needed community dialogue. Some communities are trying to stop 5G rollout (i.e. San Francisco Bay area; Brussels, Belgium). Admittedly, this issue is complex – but, that is not an excuse for inaction or lack of attention.
The People’s Party of Canada (PPC) does not have an official position on the health and privacy implications of wireless technologies, as a PPC Member of Parliament, I am fully empowered to address local issues (in this instance, with broader national implications) without the encumbrances or entrenched baggage associated with the older established parties.
Question #2 Response (Andy Brooke):
Health Canada is the federal agency responsible for setting limits on the human exposure to radiofrequency (RF) energy. This is done through, ‘Safety Code 6’ (SC6). This issue falls within the federal jurisdiction.
In the preface to Safety Code 6 (2009): “In a field where technology is advancing rapidly and where unexpected and unique problems may occur, this code cannot cover all possible situations.”
Public concern is not abating over possible health impacts of RF exposure.
Both Dr. Anthony Miller and Dr. Martin Pall at the September lecture held at Queen’s University, presented compelling evidence from recent epidemiological studies outlining the pathophysiological effects associated with non-thermal microwaves and other frequency EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields). For example, recent studies have established that Pulsed EMFs are biologically more active than the non-pulsed continuous wave EMF of the same average intensity.
Their respective presentations pointed out a number of deemed inadequacies related to the thresholds and the safety margins in Canada’s Safety Code 6 (i.e. outdated SAR/ Specific Absorption Rates). They referred to 197 bodies of evidence showing serious health-related effects caused by EMF intensities well below current safety guidelines. And as a result, SC6 comes into question.
In conclusion, they expressed their individually-held opinions that 5G rollout should not proceed and further, that a moratorium should be put in place.
They underscored that they are not against progress and technology, they just want to see it done safely. Fiber optic is far preferable, as it doesn’t involve exposure to EMFs.
Before closing, how do we go about insuring that academic entrepreneurship and engagement with industry does not influence any review. Perhaps by convening an Expert Panel similar to that constituted with The Royal Society of Canada (2014) to serve not only as its own autonomous mechanism for review, but also as a comparison to check for peer effects and the impact on scientific behaviour of industry collaboration.
A People’s Party government is committed to protecting not only the health and safety of Canadians from environmental risks, such as exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields, but also to the broader potential implications of safeguarding non-health related individual rights (i.e. data surveillance and digital privacy, property rights).
Question #3 Response (Andy Brooke):
Wikipedia defines the precautionary principle (or precautionary approach): “as generally defines actions on issues considered to be uncertain, for instance applied in assessing risk management. The principle is used by policy makers to justify discretionary decisions in situations where there is the possibility of harm from making a certain decision (e.g. taking a particular course of action) when extensive scientific knowledge on the matter is lacking. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. These protections can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result.”
The “Cut ‘n Paste” definition is provided for the convenience of the reader.
There are also ethical considerations – like those related the ‘Nuremberg Code’, which states: “The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.”
It dovetails with the ‘precautionary principle’ in that the 5G rollout is being viewed as fraught with significant questions and serious uncertainties. People view the rollout as akin to a massive medical experiment, without adequate controls or accepted ethical safeguards.
In other words, people are asking, and simultaneously asserting: “If this were an experiment, we would have consent.” The broader implication of individual rights arises. The natural follow up question is understandable: “What gives the telecommunications industry the right to [you as the reader fill-in-the-blank] …?”
It is this intersectionality of precaution and consent that becomes particularly relevant and troublesome for this issue of the emerging technology of 5G.
In an Expert Panel Report by The Royal Society of Canada (April 2014): “the Panel has identified a number of gaps in our current knowledge about the impact of exposure to RF energy on human health, as well as the effectiveness of the proposed guidelines.” It continues: “To address these gaps, as well as concerns raised by the public, the Panel offers the following non-binding recommendations to Health Canada.” [emphasis added] Ten (10) recommendations followed. What is the current status of the ten recommendations that followed? For me, as Member of Parliament, this is my starting point in relation to Ottawa, and as a complement to local efforts. (i.e. Town Hall meetings, working with the Mayor and City Councillors, etc.)
In closing, the said Report clearly called for: “Health Canada should aggressively pursue scientific research aimed at clarifying the RF-cancer issue, which would allow the government to develop protective measures if the risk was substantiated.” [emphasis added] We cannot afford to live indefinitely or blindly with the word “if” hanging over our heads, either as a community or a nation.
Candice Christmas – Green Party
Question #1 Response (Candice Christmas):
The conclusion according to The House of Commons, Standing Committee on Health #58 (HESA Report, 2015) is “that the potential risks of exposure to RF fields are a serious public health issue that needs to be brought to the attention of Canadians so that they have the knowledge to use wireless devices responsibly and are able to make decisions about the use of wireless devices in a manner that protects their health and the health of their families.”
As the Green Party Candidate for Kingston & The Islands, I see KFLA Public Health and the City of Kingston as the two key players that need to be engaged to halt the installation of 5G antennas until the public has been made aware of the dangers. Based on the Precautionary Principle, we cannot wait for research to catch up. Given current evidence, and the limitations of Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 in relation to this new technology, we need to pause and ask ‘should we?’.
I’ve already had a meeting with a Board Member of KFLA Public health and plan to discuss the matter with City Staff and Councilors as to what he process of approval of these installations has been, and whether there was any meaningful public consultation. There certainly hasn’t been an official awareness campaign, other than the very hard work of citizens supporting Kingstonians for Safe Technology. Party Leader Elizabeth May will call for a Parliamentary Commission to assess the long term effects of 5G technology on humans, avian life, and the insects (bees and other pollinators) we absolutely need to shelter from the worse impulses of human greed. We are also concerned about national security with technology giants like Huawei, a Chinese-based company, able to gain quicker access to our data before being found out to be spying.
Question #2 Response (Candice Christmas):
There are avenues to address the dangers of 5G technology already in place, however they need to be exercised. The Canadian Telecommunications Act states in its objectives (section 1, provision 7(i)):
“It is hereby affirmed that telecommunications performs an essential role in the maintenance of Canada’s identity and sovereignty and that the Canadian telecommunications policy has as its objectives: (i) to contribute to the protection of the privacy of persons.”
The ninth (and last) objective is looking out for people. Thus it is an onus of government to protect its citizens from harm from misunderstood technology, we have these rules in place for a reason, irresponsible management is a large factor in understanding how we got to this state.
Question #3 Response (Candice Christmas):
The evidence on the harmful effects of 5G networks to human health is growing. Research strongly indicates that there is a negative impact on pollinator insects, and by extension food production and insect biodiversity, that over time, will impact larger animal life and human food security.
100 crops provide 90% of the worlds food supply. 71 of those 100 crops are produced through pollination. We urgently need to recognize the harms we are introducing to the biosphere, including the impact that new technology and existing technology have on the environment. The sharp decline in the bee population, particularly in urban areas, coincides with the proliferation of cellular technology.
There is research now that indicates that colony collapse disorder is linked to RF radiation. That is a significant threat to life and society.
Coupled with climate change these two factors constitute a national threat. Human conflict has often started over food scarcity. From an economic perspective, In Ontario around 3,000 registered beekeepers operate about 100,000 honey bee colonies. Ontario’s managed honey bees and bumble bees generate about $897 million of the roughly $6.7 billion in sales for agricultural crops grown in the province each year. This is equivalent to about 13 % of the province’s total annual crop value.
Based on the Precautionary Principle, it would be prudent to halt any and all 5G roll out throughout the country in order to definitively study the impact the technology has on the essentials for life, from the developmental health of children and youth and their exposure to 5G radiation, to the very drastic effect it may be having on our pollinators. The stakes are too high to watch and wait.