Thursday, January 10, 2008

What is Going On?

That ugly Con ideology seems to be guiding policy once again. It goes without saying that I would expect conservative ideology to inform their actions and legislation, but I'm speaking specifically to the archaic and xenophobic reaction to specific subjects.

In this case, it's homosexuality. I read this story the other day and thought I'd misread it. Sexually active gay men no longer allowed to donate organs. Huh? It's 2008 isn't it? This must be a mistake.

I checked the Health Canada web-site and can find no information on this, but the site is unwieldy and obviously it's not going to be on page one. In fact, aside from the few press articles I found, this seems to be under the radar for the most part.

How exactly is this government able to implement such sweeping new rules without even the stakeholders not being aware of it? It's one thing for the public to not be informed, but the stakeholders?

The donor will be excluded if the donor is a man who had sex with another man in the previous five years.

Again, huh?

Transplant programs have been screening potential donors, but in some cases use organs from people in high-risk groups if they've tested negative for diseases. The new legislation means that practice must stop.

Where is the logic in that statement?

Obviously rules and regulations must be included in a program as important as organ transplants, but why on earth single out one group? What about heterosexual men and women who have multiple partners? How will they be screened?

I was angry about the lack of participation of this government at the Aids conference. At that time I thought they had taken an issue that had outgrown the myopia of being a gay issue and inserted their own homophobic view back into the debate. Organ donation is obviously main stream yet here they are again and this time there agenda is much more obvious.

To sideline one group in our society after all the progress we've made as a nation in trying to eliminate that behaviour is appalling to me.

This government is all about dividing people. Pitting groups against each other seems to be a preoccupation.

I speak often about how much I dislike this government, but the truth is I see great danger in how they operate. They fuel fires that long ago were put out. They give voice to groups who were rightly shut down because they were irrelevant in terms of how the majority of this country thinks.

We now have regular commentary from idiot oil lobbyists who call themselves scientists telling us that climate change is not happening. We have REAL women voicing all manner of inanity. Conservative radio hosts, columnists and of course the BT's who think nothing of bashing entire communities, specifically Muslims whenever they feel the need. I won't even repeat the terms they use on this blog.

All of these reactions have of course been prompted by the PM himself, Harper. His comments about Kyoto for instance. Early comments that suggested a socialist scheme and recent mistake remarks, gives the loons licence. REAL women are fueled by his frowning on social programs. They now have a voice to frown on those who live in the real world versus Leave it to Beaver land. And of course, calling anyone who questions Afghanistan a Taliban Supporter is beyond the pale but his followers reacted to that as an open gate in a pig enclosure. They came rushing out, slipping and sliding in their own muck all too happy to oink at nothing. Now we have homophobia front and centre. Can you say going back in time? Good grief, what is next?

It will be difficult and perhaps ill advised for the Liberals to emphasize the danger of this government during the next election. Those points aren't crisply articulated but there has to be a way to get that message through.

In truth it's about fighting civil liberties again. I know we've already done this, but here we are again. Maybe that is the message. How many times do we need to fight this fight? It's a fight fought, no? Winners and losers.

Just because you get up again does not negate the fact that you lost. A lost fight cannot have a do-over clause as it relates to running this country. If you do it in secret, use your own manufactured do-over, well that is beneath contempt.

I'll leave it to others to present how we do this but unless someone shows this truth, we'll truly be walking with dinosaurs as Stockwell Day believes we did.


ottlib said...

This one just has me scratching my head.

There is a chronic shortage of organs for people who need it because not enough people, or more accurately their families, are agreeing to donate their organs after an unexpected death.

I recall a campaign last year where organ donor advocates were encouraging people to consider donating their organs.

Now the government is proposing to eliminate a whole group of people by legislation. There is a shortage and the government is proposal action which will make the shortage more acute?

What are they thinking?

Maybe this cave dwelling, stone age government is frightened that someone who receives a transplant from a gay man will "turn gay".

knb said...

Maybe you are right ottlib. That may be their fear, though if true, that is beyond scarey.

Organ donation in this country is a subject that is not spoken of enough. What they are you said legislation, that involves parliament, no?

I don't recall any suggestion of this coming to the House. This seems to have been passed some how, in December, with no scrutiny.

Cowards that they are, they appear to have by-passed democracy.

Fancy that?

Dame said...

Well here is some medical background for the dilemma. /it is still a dilemma/

FDA says gay men still can’t donate blood
FDA wants to prevent HIV spread; Red Cross, others say it’s ‘unwarranted’
The Associated Press
Updated: 1:38 p.m. MT May 23, 2007
WASHINGTON - Gay men remain banned for life from donating blood, the government said Wednesday, leaving in place — for now — a 1983 prohibition meant to prevent the spread of HIV through transfusions.

The Food and Drug Administration reiterated its long-standing policy on its Web site Wednesday, more than a year after the Red Cross and two other blood groups criticized the policy as “medically and scientifically unwarranted.”

“I am disappointed, I must confess,” said Dr. Celso Bianco, executive vice president of America’s Blood Centers, whose members provide nearly half the nation’s blood supply.

Before giving blood, all men are asked if they have had sex, even once, with another man since 1977. Those who say they have are permanently banned from donating. The FDA said those men are at increased risk of infection by HIV that can be transmitted to others by blood transfusion.

New, improved HIV tests
In March 2006, the Red Cross, the international blood association AABB and America’s Blood Centers proposed replacing the lifetime ban with a one-year deferral following male-to-male sexual contact. New and improved tests, which can detect HIV-positive donors within just 10 to 21 days of infection, make the lifetime ban unnecessary, the blood groups told the FDA.

In a document posted Wednesday, the FDA said it would change its policy if given data that show doing so wouldn’t pose a “significant and preventable” risk to blood recipients.

“It is a way of saying, ‘Whatever was presented to us was not sufficient to make us change our minds,”’ Bianco said.

The FDA said HIV tests currently in use are highly accurate, but still cannot detect the virus 100 percent of the time. The estimated HIV risk from a unit of blood is currently about one per 2 million in the United States, according to the agency.

Critics of the exclusionary policy said it bars potential healthy donors, despite the increasing need for donated blood, and discriminates against gays. The FDA recognized the policy defers many healthy donors but rejected the suggestion it’s discriminatory.

Anyone who’s used intravenous drugs or been paid for sex also is permanently barred from donating blood.

Ryan said...

I'm surprised there wasn't simply a quote from the book of Leviticus released from the Prime Minister's office as a response.

Anyway, this reminds me of an episode of "All in the Family" I saw back in the day. Archie Bunker had some sort of operation, then found out his donor was a black man. He was upset and met with like-minded people who were similarly irked by the prospect. Bunker claimed he wasn't a racist, but he heard there was a higher likelihood of disease, and that he "didn't feel right." Eventually, he found out that the like minded people were actually klansmen.

The point, I guess, is that attitudes like this, whether or not statistics bear them out, foster fear and bigotry. In turn, it unites slight, socially conditioned prejudice with all-out ideological bigotry. It's sad when a 70's sitcom can teach lessons to those who hold all the power.

Jay said...

Its a gift to his so-con base because he failed to ruin the marriages of gay men. He had to get one for "the team".

How do they intend to track if someone slept with someone in the last five years? How are they to know a closeted gay man is gay and promiscuous?

Pink triangle tattoos on all those the suspect?

This is bull shit. At least put in a provision so I can donate specifically to members in the gay community unless of course they want them to die specifically.

ottlib said...


You are right knb. This is a change in regulations as opposed to a proposed change in legislation.

My mistake.

wilson said...

Seems that the CPC is just finishing the job,
Allan Rock started in 2001

New organ donation rules don't exclude gay men

Globe and Mail

January 10, 2008

'New Health Canada regulations won't prohibit sexually active gay men from donating their organs, but will merely formalize standard industry practice to prevent transmission of disease, according to several Canadian transplant associations...'

knb said...

marta, yes indeed it's complicated, but this move seems to target. I have a problem with that. If there is factual information that could be attributed to any group, fine, bring it forward.

That so much is controversial, tends to bring it to the anectdotal and that I have a problem with.

Think Africa and our stupidity there.

knb said...

Ryan, I vaguely remember that episode and you're right. Who would have imagined that we'd still hold that kind of bias, but we do.

Look at the Muslim bashing that is oh so au courant.

Hmmm, It's sad when a 70's sitcom can teach lessons to those who hold all the power.

It's sadder when you realise it hasn't.

knb said...

Jay: Its a gift to his so-con base because he failed to ruin the marriages of gay men. He had to get one for "the team".

I suspect there is an element of truth there. I'd say it's almost subliminal which is not what his followers would pick up on, but you may be right.

I'm offended by the concept and I'm offended by how they brought this to bear.

To be honest, I think your idea about community dealing with community is a good one...that is until the world can catch up with reality.

Dame said...

I Totally agree with all of you to put the whole question in a very political skewed way focusing on the gay men is outrageous and absurd distortion of the tiny uncertainty in the whole organ Transpart business.. the way they wording the problems is reflection on their vastly biasd thinking.It is unacceptable,

If you have time read this webpage about "slow viruses " prions
A Lot of these things are recognised just not very long ago..and naturally it creates some uncertainty about all what we try to do with living organs.
Personally I think there always will be a small risk no matter how rigorously screened the actual organs for KNOWN Infections..

knb said...

wilson, I don't see any reference to gays on the government website, even when Rock was there.

As I recall, McLellan was opposed.

Guess what? She was wrong. I have no trouble disagreeing with my party when they are wrong.

Of course we have to make this safe and go to best practices, but this new tack seems to eliminate, evade is probably a better word, the will of the people.

I do not care what Party is in power. Do this in front of us, not behind our backs.

(btw, your 2nd link doesn't work)