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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Tues AM. Whistleblower Hearings

Health Canada scientist and whistleblower Dr. Shiv Chopra was suspended for
5 days without pay last year.

Dr. Shiv Chopra has filed a grievance against the suspension. The grievance
hearings will begin Tuesday Nov 28 at 9:30 am at the CD Howe Building in
Ottawa, 240 Sparks Street, West Tower, 7th floor. (The hearings are being
conducted by the Public Service Staff Relations Board (PSSRB)  The hearings
will likely continue Wednesday, and perhaps Thursday)

Come to the hearings and support Health Canada scientists/whistleblowers
who put their career on the line to protect the Canadian public.


Health Canada says Dr. Chopra was suspended because he spoke without
approval at a Heritage Canada meeting. Dr. Chopra spoke about racism at
Health Canada and was critical of Health Canada.

Dr. Chopra said he did not need approval from Health Canada because he did
not represent Health Canada at the Heritage Canada meeting; he spoke as the
past president of the National Capital Alliance on Race Relations.

Dr. Chopra and others say the suspension was a retaliation against Dr.
Chopra for his testimony at the Senate Agriculture Committee about the
problems at Health Canada. (Retaliation against a parliamentary witness is
a very serious offence.)

Dr. Chopra testified to the Senate Agriculture Committee that products of
questionable safety were being approved by Health Canada, against the
advice of Health Canada scientists. These products included antibiotics and
hormones injected into food producing animals, such as rBGH (genetically
engineered bovine growth hormone). Dr. Chopra said that the health of
Canadians was being put at risk because Health Canada, in response to
industry pressure, was fast-tracking products to market.

Health Canada also imposed a gag order on Dr. Chopra, preventing him from
speaking in public about his concerns that public safety was being risks.
However, last fall the Federal Courts removed the gag order and decided
that Dr. Chopra did the right thing in voicing his concerns publicly after
he had presented his concerns to his department and was ignored. The Courts
ruled the gag order violated Dr. Chopra's freedom of speech.

The hearings on Tuesday are the next step in stopping the harrassment of
Health Canada scientists whose efforts to protect the public have put them
at odds with industry pressure at Health Canada to quickly get their
products approved.

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