Libby in the News

Links to news articles written by or about Libby Davies.

  • Health Canada's medical marijuana privacy breach slammed

    The dad was just one of 40,000 people across Canada who received letters from Health Canada that identified they were part of the medical marijuana program. Deputy Health Minister George Da Pont has apologized for the privacy breach, writing that the department deeply regrets the administrative error...A spokesperson for the privacy commissioner said Thursday an investigation was underway. As of Friday morning the privacy commissioner had received 40 formal complaints about the letters. NDP health critic Libby Davies said it was shocking the envelopes went out in the general mail with the program identified. “It is a terrible breach of people’s privacy. I’m shocked,” Davies said. Davies said she doesn’t blame people for being skeptical about the government’s explanation it was an administrative error. “I am certainly going to pursue it. I want to find out how it happened. This is sensitive information for a lot of people,” she said.

  • NDP MPs Libby Davies and Charlie Angus introduce bill to improve end-of-life care

    The NDP Thursday called for a national framework to improve the quality of end-of-life care in Canada. Libby Davies, the NDP’s health critic and MP for Vancouver East, introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons calling for a co-ordinated, national response to continuing care. The bill was seconded by Charlie Angus, ethics critic and MP for Timmins-James Bay, who added a motion to establish a national strategy on palliative care specifically. “We know that many, many Canadians are falling through the cracks, we know that there’s not enough home care, long-term care or palliative care to meet the current demand in Canada,” Davies said.

  • Libby calls for Marc Emery's transfer to a Canadian prison

    NDP deputy leader Libby Davies, Liberal public safety critic Wayne Easter and Green MP Elizabeth May all spoke out at the morning press conference, held to encourage federal safety minister Steven Blaney to sign the required paperwork for Emery’s transfer home...Davies, who has been involved in the case since the beginning, said she was also disturbed by the very “political” comments that reportedly came from the minister’s office. “This press conference is not about the war on drugs, it is about a Canadian, who has been cleared by U.S. to return home,” said Davies. “I think it is better for Mr. Emery and his family to be here.”

  • Aboriginal people hardest hit by HIV in B.C.

    Aboriginal people are more likely to contract HIV, become infected younger, receive treatment later and die sooner than other British Columbians, says the B.C. Ministry of Health. Aboriginal communities often struggle with problems that make both prevention of HIV infections and accessing treatment difficult, said Dr. Dee Hoyano, Vancouver Island Health Authority medical health officer. “We know aboriginal people are disproportionately more affected by HIV,” she said. First Nations members on Vancouver Island make up 5.8 per cent of the population, but account for 11 per cent of HIV cases...First Nations are Canada’s most vulnerable citizens and their HIV plight is complicated by the fact that responsibility for their health care is shared by federal and provincial governments, said Libby Davies, an NDP MP from Vancouver, who is federal Opposition health critic. “HIV/AIDS in the aboriginal community is a very serious issue, but this is something the federal government has direct responsibility for in terms of aboriginal people on reserves,” she said.

  • B.C. a leader in offering free tests, treatment to reduce HIV cases

    B.C. leads the country in tackling HIV, but experts worry the lack of a nationwide strategy puts all Canadians at a higher risk of contracting the infection. If HIV were avian flu, Ottawa would mandate a national strategy to fight it, said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Instead, he said, “the federal government has continuously refused to get involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS. They feel that this is somebody else’s problem.” Experts credit that success to the province’s efforts to make early diagnosis and treatment a key part of its strategy to decrease transmission, illness and death...The B.C. approach to circumventing HIV and AIDS is “a tremendous success story,” and B.C. is unquestionably the national leader in fighting the infection, said Libby Davies, an NDP MP from Vancouver and the federal Opposition health critic. But Davies called the federal government both short-sighted and “incredibly irresponsible” in failing to create a national HIV policy based on Montaner’s progress. The all-party Standing Committee on Health’s recent study on health innovations failed to even mention HIV, said Davies, vice-chairwoman of the Conservative-dominated committee. That was despite Montaner testifying to the commitee about the need for federal leadership.

  • Ottawa should regulate some drug prep firms in wake of chemo scare: report

    TORONTO -- Health Canada should regulate all entities that mix drugs outside a licensed pharmacy, said an expert who investigated why more than 1,200 cancer patients in two provinces received diluted chemotherapy drugs. Ottawa should step in because it's a "cross-border issue," Dr. Jake Thiessen said Wednesday after releasing his report commissioned by the Ontario government. "I believe in the safe and best interests of the nation of Canada, we need an agency that has national authority to actually regulate all of this," he said... "The federal government has to step up to the plate, they have to be proactive, they have to fill this loophole," said NDP health critic Libby Davies. "The issue of drug safety and Canadians' health is at risk here, as it has been."

  • Premiers vow to fight Ottawa's controversial jobs-training plan

    NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. -- Canada's provincial and territorial leaders vowed Thursday to fight Ottawa's controversial plan to fund jobs training for workers, saying the new scheme would require them to come up with more than half a billion dollars in extra cash..."It's clear the Harper government, who spent a great deal of money on ads extolling the virtues of a program that doesn't yet exist, is trying to pit some provinces against the others, said NDP critic Libby Davies. "One can only surmise that this is a calculated decision to divide the provinces, and to play one off against the other, and to give some information, and others no information," she said. "That creates a very unstable situation, makes it more difficult for the provinces themselves to work together."

  • Conservatives decision to shake off salt bill leaves bad taste

    I can’t say I was surprised when the Conservative government used its majority in the House of Commons in May to defeat a private member’s bill that would have required food manufacturers to lower sodium levels in their products or to alert consumers if they have not done so. After all, following their creed, they would see this as an unwarranted intrusion on business. And in regard to regulating the amount of sodium that can go into a food product, they believe in a voluntary approach. That would be nice if it would actually happen, but pardon me for being dubious.I believe that left on their own food manufacturers will provide the government and the food-buying public with nothing more than lip service. The bill, C-460, was sponsored by Libby Davies, MP Vancouver East, who is the NDP Spokesperson for Health. Beyond seeking a limit on sodium content, it also wanted to ensure that consumers had access to objective, clearly understandable and non-misleading information to facilitate healthy food choices. I found it hard to quarrel with the bill’s intent, as did all the opposition parties, many health organizations and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.

  • Proposed federal rules erect new hurdles for supervised drug-injection sites

    OTTAWA – The federal government has introduced tough new rules for supervised drug injection sites in a move some see as an effort to stamp out such facilities. The government says it’s a response to a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that ordered the Conservatives to keep a Vancouver clinic open against their will. But NDP health critic Libby Davies said the government is effectively blocking any chance of setting up a new clinic. The proposed legislation would require advocates of new clinics to meet two dozen specific criteria before they can apply. Among other things, they’d have to canvass community opinion and gain the support of provincial and municipal authorities.

  • Injection sites dealt a severe blow

    Supporters of Canada's only supervised injection site said Thursday they're confident Vancouver's Insite facility will survive a new legislative and political campaign launched by the Harper government against drug "harm reduction" programs. But they also said Ottawa's latest volley appears destined to succeed in preventing the opening of new centres offering clean needles and nursing supervision to addicts elsewhere in B.C. and Canada...Libby Davies, the New Democratic Party deputy leader and MP for the Vancouver East riding where Insite is located, slammed the Harper government's political approach to the bill..."The Conservatives shouldn't play political games with such an important issue of public health. The courts have been clear that the Conservatives need to base decisions on evidence and public health, not on their own rhetoric and ideology."

  • Feds to toughen rules for drug-injection sites

    OTTAWA - The government will roll out legislation Thursday which would significantly raise the bar for groups wanting to set up injection sites where illegal drugs can be used with medical oversight, clean equipment and without legal consequence. NDP health critic Libby Davies said Wednesday Insite is an "important program" that "has saved people's' lives." "It's much better for people to be in a medically supervised facility when they're injecting and not dying from needless and preventable overdoses," she said.

  • Libby & the NDP speak to your concerns in Parliament!

    A charitable organization that studies Canada's democracy wants to get tongues wagging on the Hill by talking about, well, talking. In honour of the summer reading season, Samara studied how much MPs and parties spoke in the House of Commons in 2012 and matched some members up with notable works of Canadian literature...The NDP, with 33 per cent of the MPs, spoke the most of any party at 44 per cent. Five of the top ten spots of most talkative members were New Democrats...Top ten most-talkative MPs: 1. Peter Julian, Burnaby—New Westminster (NDP) = 226,027 words 5. Jack Harris, St. John's East (NDP) = 113,819 words 8. Libby Davies, Vancouver East (NDP) = 85,689 words 9. Don Davies, Vancouver Kingsway (NDP) = 85,360 words 10. Jinny Sims, Newton—North Delta (NDP) = 82,770 words

  • Canadian premiers urged to call on the PM to back sodium-reduction bill

    Canadian premiers are being reminded that if a sodium-reduction bill dies in the House of Commons next month, the provinces will suffer the consequences of a salty food supply with higher health care costs. The Ottawa-based Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is calling on provincial leaders to urge the prime minister and federal health minister to back Bill C-460, which is scheduled to be voted on May 8. If passed, the bill would require the federal government to introduce regulations concerning nutrition labeling on prepackaged foods, menu labeling at chain restaurants and advertising to children.

  • Experts blast Health Canada’s approach to sodium reduction

    Health experts are lambasting Health Canada’s efforts to lower the amount of sodium Canadians consume and the lack of transparency surrounding the process. The average Canadian consumes far too much sodium and nearly 80 per cent of it comes from salt added to packaged and processed foods. For that reason, Health Canada created a set of voluntary guidelines for food manufacturers that set reduction targets for everything from flavoured tortillas to canned corn. The goal is to reduce the daily sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams a day by 2016. (Current daily consumption is 3,400 milligrams.)..“We don’t have that data available in a transparent way that we can monitor that these changes are actually occurring,” said Kevin Willis, director of partnerships with the Canadian Stroke Network. “Government could require companies to make that information available so it can be verified. It’s all part of the transparent monitoring process.”

  • Most eat nearly double the recommended amount of salt: Study

    Three-quarters of the world’s population eats almost twice the daily recommended amount of salt, the American Heart Association said Thursday. Sodium intake worldwide averages at nearly 4,000 mg a day, according to 2010 figures. “We hope our findings will influence national governments to develop public health interventions to lower sodium,” said lead study author Dr. Saman Fahimi, a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

  • Harper government mum on why Vancouver immigration raid was filmed by TV crew

    OTTAWA — The federal government is hoping to “educate” Canadians about the efforts of its border guard agents by taking part in a B.C.-based reality TV program, the Canada Border Services Agency said Friday. The CBSA was responding to critics who say the show, which films agents arresting drug smugglers and “phoney immigrants,” is a taxpayer-funded attempt to promote the Conservatives’ law-and-order agenda. Opposition MPs and a B.C. criminologist also said Border Security: Canada’s Front Line violates the privacy and dignity of individuals being filmed...“I think it’s appalling,” said New Democratic Party deputy leader Libby Davies. “People are presumed innocent until they’ve gone through due process. Having your face blasted on a reality TV show and having to sign a waiver, often under pressure, is I think a loss of a person’s rights and dignity and respect.”

  • Canadians ‘overwhelmingly’ support salt reduction initiatives

    TORONTO — Force the food industry to lower salt levels in products. Slap warning labels on foods that exceed healthy salt intake. And develop policies that ban too much salt in meals served in daycares, schools and nursing homes. Those are just a handful of salt reduction strategies Canadians say they “overwhelmingly” support, according to a new study. University of Toronto and University of Guelph researchers polled more than 2,600 Canadians across the country to get a pulse on where residents stand on salt reduction policies. Turns out, more than 80 per cent are throwing their support behind government intervention to reduce salt intake. Sixty-seven per cent of Canadians also have salt on their radar — especially older people and those with high blood pressure.

  • A Salt shocker

    Consuming less than 1,300 mg of sodium per day meant I had to be much more careful about my food choices. And it wasn't simply a matter of making my own lunch and avoiding fast-food joints. I was already -- generally -- doing that. Canadians, on average, consume about 3,400 mg of sodium per day. But the average adult requires only 1,500 mg or less, and the Canadian and American governments advise that we consume no more than 2,300 mg per day. It's incredibly easy to exceed that...Federal NDP Health Critic Libby Davies has introduced a private member's bill (C-460) in the House of Commons that would implement much of the Sodium Working Group's recommendations. It is to be debated in the next few weeks and should come to a vote in April. Davies (Vancouver East) isn't impressed with Ottawa's concern that now is not the time -- when the economy is fragile -- to make progress on an important health issue. "If not now, then when?" she said. "What is the cost of people's health?"

  • How much salt do you consume in a day? You may be surprised

    Too much sodium can have serious long-term health effects. But many Canadians don’t realize they regularly consume dangerous levels of salt on a daily basis. That’s because most of the sodium we consume is added to food products, such as sauces, canned vegetables, and salad dressings, before we take them home. About 80 per cent of our sodium intake comes from packaged or processed foods. Now, a group of researchers has created a tool to help Canadians understand how much salt they’re getting and the biggest sources. Researchers from the University of Toronto, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences have developed an online salt calculator at It asks users a series of questions, such as how often they eat out, how many times a week they consume frozen or canned dishes and how often they use condiments in their meals, to estimate total sodium consumption...The concern is that a diet high in sodium is a major risk factor for high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack, stroke and other serious health problems. High sodium intake has also been linked to osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney problems. Sodium is a controllable risk factor for these problems, which is why so many health professionals are urging governments to take action on the issue.

  • Sodium in Canadian restaurant foods 'alarmingly high'

    Sodium levels in many foods served at Canadian restaurant chains exceed the amount an adult should take in during a day, a new study finds. Researchers examined the salt levels in more than 9,000 foods sold at 65 fast-food restaurants and 20 sit-down restaurant chains with at least 20 locations across the country. Considering how common it is to dine out, along with the pervasiveness of hypertension and its health risks, the study authors said it was important to take a systematic look at sodium levels to assess progress towards the federal, provincial and territorial target of lowering sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per person per day by 2016.