Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the concern raised by the member for Newton—North Delta.
Many Canadians are concerned. Recent statistics tell us about 71% of Canadians are taking some form of vitamins and minerals regularly. I suppose that is because they believe it makes a difference, and it is good advice. In my opinion, we should be taking something.
The problem seems to come from Health Canada's long-standing approach that people should not be allowed to what it calls self-diagnose or self-treat for what it wants to define as serious disease.
That attitude itself may be the root of the problem. It seems the attitude may be a bias that is as old as the Food and Drugs Act itself. It may be an entrenched bias. I use the word “bias” to simply mean it is our world view. I suppose we all have a bias. I suppose the only people who do not have a bias are the ones who have not thought about something long enough to form an opinion.
My point is there seems to be a problem with the way the thinking has been in the past in Health Canada. I hope we can see this change, that a different vision could be accomplished. It may be that our minister will become the champion the transition team has looked for, someone who would like to see natural products take their rightful place.
However, it is an attitude. Some people think we should be unable to get help without medical supervision, such as somebody takes Empowerplus for mental health, which is a serious illness, and the fact that vitamins and minerals, which by and large are in the public domain, would help them with that problem.
The challenge is this approach has left us with a problem that is still getting worse. Here we see something that is offering great promise from the public domain, vitamins and minerals helping to sort out a biochemical problem. Maybe we need to freshen our outlook and ensure we have people in charge of the regulations and a perspective that protects the interests of the public to ensure we investigate, analyze and study the things that are most hopeful.
A tremendous number of articles have come out about vitamin D. Just yesterday there was another article in the newspapers about vitamin D and calcium reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
For chocolate lovers in the room today, there was an article in the same paper yesterday, which said that chocolate had Tryptophan in it. This is an amino acid that Health Canada took off the market for a while. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in turkey and chicken soup, but it is important in producing Serotonin, which is important in regulating mood and reducing anxiety. All the anti-depressant drugs, or many of them, are selected Serotonin reuptake inhibitors, SSUI, so we do not break down the Serotonin and it makes us feel better.
A simple thing like chocolate, or Tryptophan, an amino acid, if we have enough of it in our system, helps to calm people down. Maybe we should try to ensure those are more available rather than less available.