ALANDA CARVER: ‘Protecting Muir Creek satisfies wishes of community’


The provincial government faces a dilemma with respect to the release of Western Forest Products’ lands from tree farm licences because it has brought to light the lack of protection afforded to the western side of Vancouver Island.  About 95 percent of the land on the wild coast of Vancouver Island is private land.

The area is in dire need of protection, as less than three per cent of the land between Sooke and Port Renfrew is parkland or available for public use.  

With the sale of Western Forest Product’s property along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, no area along the trail is now large enough or remote enough to provide suitable habitat for wildlife and biodiversity.

The provincial government needs to address this lack of protection and any solution must include satisfying the communities’ longstanding wish to have a park created at Muir Creek.

For the past 20 years the planning documents for the Capital Regional District lands on the west side of Vancouver Island have included a desire to protect the Muir Creek area.  The Muir Creek Protection Society has been petitioning all levels of government as well.

Protecting Muir Creek protects old growth forest; it protects one of only three west coast steelhead spawning streams,; it protects three salmon spawning runs and other salmon species; it protects the second biggest yew tree in the province; it protects biodiversity and animal habitat.  Protecting Muir Creek satisfies the wishes of the community.

The community uses Muir Creek.  It has been asking for the protection of Muir Creek.  In order to satisfy the community, protection of Muir Creek must be included in any solution.

Alanda Carver, President

Muir Creek Protection Society


CCC reprint: Victoria Times Colonist, May 31, 2009, page D3

[For a link to the Muir Creek Protection Society website,

please refer to the CCC BLOGROLL to the right]






Amid billowing Israeli and Vatican flags, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed his friendship with both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples, acknowledging the Palestinians’ right to an independent state as well as Israel’s right to exist in “peace and security.”

“Let there be lasting peace based on justice, let there be genuine reconciliation and healing,” the Pope said May 15 before boarding his chartered jet at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.  “Let the two-state solution become a reality, not remain a dream.

“Let peace spread outward from these lands; let them serve as a ‘light to the nations,’ bringing hope to the many other regions that are affected by conflict.”

At the end of an eight-day pilgrimage that received a lukewarm reaction in the Israeli mdeia and praise in the Palestinian press, Pope Benedict attempted to assure the Israelis of his friendship.

“No friend of the Israelis and the Palestinians can fail to be saddened by the continuing tension between your two peoples.  No friend can fail to weep at the suffering and loss of life that both peoples have endured over the last six decades,” he said.

Israeli President Shimon Peres told the Pope his visit was a “profound demonstration of the enduring dialogue” between Jews and Christians around the world.  He said the Pope’s statements during his visit “carried a substantive weight.”

The visit, Peres added, contributed significantly to new relations between the Vatican and Israel.

The Pope, who had been criticized in the Israeli press and by some Jewish leaders after his visit to the Yad VAshem Holocaust memorial May 11 for the language he used to describe Nazi atrocities, recalled his visit to the site as “one of the most solemn” moments in Israel.  He called his time with Holocaust survivors “deeply moving encounters” that reminded him of his visit to Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland three years ago.

“So many Jews: mothers, father, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, friends, were brutally exterminated under a godless regime that propagated an ideology of anti-Semitism and hatred,” Pope Benedict said.

The German-born Pope told his Israeli hosts that the saddest sight during his visit was the Isreali-built separation wall at the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, West Bank.

“As I passed alongside it I prayed for a future in which the peoples of the Holy Land can live together in peace and harmony without the need for such instruments of security and separation, but rather in respecting and trusting one another and renouncing all forms of violence and aggression,” he said.

Peace will not be an easy goal to achieve, the Pope told Peres, but he offered his prayers and the prayers of Catholics around the world for all efforts to ‘build a just and lasting peace in this region.”

Flying back to Roma, Pope Benedict offered an instant analysis of his eight-day trip, saying he had been left with three major impressions.

The first, he said, was that he found among Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders a strong desire for co-operation and dialogue, not for political reasons but arising from a common faith in God.  The second was a very encouraging ecumenical climate, and the third was a yearning for peace.

He said while problems were visible, “the common desire for peace and fraternity is not as visible, and I think we need to talk about this and encourage the effort to find solutions.”


CCC reprint: The B. C. Catholic, May 25, 2009, page 16 



The Vatican’s chief representative to the United Nations has set forth a series of steps that will move the world toward the goal of eventual nuclear disarmament.

Speaking at the U. N. May 5, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, papal nuncio to the world body, reaffirmed the Vatican’s support for the nuclear nonproliferation treaty in offering five “concrete, transparent, and convincing” steps that could be achieved in “a short period of time” to demonstrate the world’s willingness to end the threat that nuclear weapons pose.

Archbishop Migliore called for:

* Adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which outlaws nuclear weapons testing.

* The immediate opening of negociations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty that would prohibit the further production of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.

* An end to reliance on nuclear weapons as a part of military policy among nuclear states.

* Giving oversight of the peaceful use of nuclear energy to the International Atomic Energy Agency and expanding the agency’s role to include the non-proliferation side of the treaty.

* Developing an agreement on the production of nuclear fuel to meet growing energy needs, with the International Atomic Energy Agency taking a leading role to ensure safety, security and fair access for countries.

“The Holy See thus calls upon all the nuclear weapons states,” the archbishop said, to create “a climate of trust, transparency, and true co-operation, with a view to the concrete realization of a culture of life and peace.”  The treaty is to be reviewed in 2010.


CCC reprint: The B. C. Catholic, May 25, 2009, page 18




Elimination ‘the only lasting solution’ to the world’s danger


Representatives of three organizations have called upon the [Canadian] government to endorse U. S. President Barack Obama’s commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

“The complete elimination of nuclear weapons is the only lasting solution to the grave dangers that threaten our world,” said Bruce Blair, president of the Washington-based World Security Institute and co-ordinator of the Global Zero Project.

The Global Zero Project involves leaders who want to use binding, verifiable agreements to eliminate all nuclear weapons within the next 20- 25 years, he said.  Project leaders include Canada’s former Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy, former U. S. President Jimmy Carter, and former U. S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger.

At a May 12 [Ottawa] news conference, Blair was joined, in the call to eliminate the world’s stockpiles, by Michael Dworkind, president of Physicians for Global Survival Canada, who described nuclear war as the “ultimate common epidemic” that can never be treated or cured, “but only prevented.”

Citing Obama’s April 5 speech in Prague, Czech Republic, in which he called for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons, Dworkind said the “moment is ripe” to empty the arsenals of the world’s nuclear powers.

Douglas Roche, a Catholic and a former ambassador for disarmament to the United Nations, said he had joined 170 Order of Canada recipients in writing to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, asking that Canada “resume its traditional forthright stance to work toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.”


[CCC reprint: The B. C. Catholic, May 25, 2009, page 13]

For links to the websites of the World Security Institute, Physicians for Global Survival Canada and the Order of Canada, please refer to the CCC BLOGROLL to the right. 


TWO DAVIDS (JOHNSTON + SHEBIB) GET ANOTHER LATE OCTOBER COURT DATE: City of Victoria’s appeal to be heard June 10 – 11


Two men arrested for camping outside [Victoria] City Hall have won a new day in Court.  Katie Josephson, spokeswoman for the City of Victoria, said yesterday a new trial is set for late October so a judge can hear evidence about the lack of shelter during daylight hours.

However, she said the case might end up being made moot by the outcome of a separate appeal to be heard June 10 -11.  That hearing is for the City’s appeal of the B. C. Supreme Court decision last October that ruled the City couldn’t stop homeless people from putting up shelters to protect themselves if shelter beds aren’t available.

That ruling prompted activists to erect protest camps in parks, and in early February, the City brought in a new bylaw that prohibited camping in parks during daylight hours, 7 a. m. to 7 p. m.

Two of the protestors, David [Arthur] Johnston and David Shebib, were charged with violating the bylaw after they erected shelters next to City Hall.  Johnston was ordered to perform 40 hours of community service and Shebib was fined $340.

CCC reprint: Victoria Times Colonist, May 29, 2009, page A5

HOFFER, ABRAM, R. I. P. [Obituary]

Died in Victoria on May 27, 2009 after a brief illness.  

Born November 11, 1917 on a farm in Hoffer, Saskatchewan.  Abram Hoffer attended a one-room schoolhouse and studied on horseback, eventually graduating from the University of Saskatchewan (BSA, MSA), the University of Minnesota (PhD) and the University of Toronto (MD).

He specialized in psychiatry and was, for many years, director of psychiatric research for the Saskatchewan Department of Public Health and associate professor of medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.

In these capacities he carried out groundbreaking research in several areas, ultimately authoring more than 5oo peer-reviewed and popular articles and more than 30 academic monographs and popular books.  

He challenged the then-dominant view of schizophrenia as a psychological disorder caused by poor mothering, and contributed importantly to the formation of the field of neuropsychopharmacology.

He co-authored research on the genetics of schizophrenia with the renowoned geneticist, Ernst Mayer. 

He co-discovered the first effective lipid-lowering agent, the B vitamin niacin.

He developed a controversial treatment for acute schizophrenia based on the principles of respect, shelter, sound nutrition, appropriate medication and the administration of large doses of certain water-soluble vitamins, in the process carrying out among the first controlled clinical trials in psychiatry.

He advanced a plausible biochemical hypothesis to explain the cause of schizophrenia and how niacin and vitamin C could eliminate its symptoms and prevent relapses.  

Intrigued by the concept of metabolic “methods of madness,’ he and his research colleagues, notably his close collaborator Humprhy Osmond, studied the properties of the hallucinogens and pioneered the use of LSD, which in conjunction with skilled compassionate psychotherapy, was found to be an effective treatment for alcoholism.

His work with alcoholism led to a close friendship with Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

He organized a self-help organization for people with schizophrenia, Schizophrenics Anonymous.

Participants at SA meetings occasionally exchanged the friendly greeting, “Salutations and hallucinations!”

His colleague and friend, the American chemist Linus Pauling, championed the biochemical model for treating schizophrenia that was developed in Saskatchewan and provided a conceptual underpinning for the notion that large doses of certain naturally occurring substances can favourably alter disordered brain biochemistry, coining the term “orthomolecular psychiatry.”

Abram Hoffer moved to Victoria in 1976 where he practiced psychiatry for many years, becoming a founding member and president of the Senior Physicians’ Association of British Columbia.

Sometimes criticized from afar for his controversial views, he was beloved by his many patients and close colleagues.  He devoted his life to the goal of curing – not palliating – schizophrenia.

His son Bill died in 1998 and his wife Rose died in 2001.  

He is survived by his daughter, Miriam (and her husband Guy Ewing), by his son John (and his wife Yehudit Silverman), and by four grandchilren: Adam, Megan, Joshua and Rebecca.

At his request, the funeral will be private.

We are immensely grateful to the nurses and physicians on West 2 of the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

We are indebted to Dr. James Spence for his thoughtful and compassionate attention.  

Donations can be sent to the International Schizophrenic Foundation, founded by Abram Hoffer.


CCC reprint: Victoria Times Colonist, May 29, 2009, page D1



They showed up on his doorstep in Saskatoon from time to time, schizophrenic patients who had fled the university hospital a few houses away.  They clutched their belongings in their hands and knocked on the door in search of the one man they believed could help them: Dr. Abram Hoffer.

“He represented hope in a way that standard traditional psychiatry didn’t,” his son, Dr. L. John Hoffer, said yesterday, recalling that time half a century ago.

Hoffer, who died in Victoria this week at the age of 91, was a controversial figure in psychiatry and medicine throughout his life.  He pioneered the use of LSD for treating alcoholism, discovered the ability of niacin to lower cholesterol levels, and developed a megavitamin therapy for treating schizophrenia – a therapy largely rejected by the psychiatric profession.

But patients and their families were always at the centre of his work, and they remain among his staunchest defenders.

“When patients came to him with schizophrenia, they quite often had failed other treatments and other psychiatrists and were often left with diagnoses such as, ‘You will never recover,'” Hoffer’s son recalled.  “They would come to him, and he would say to them … ‘You have a disease like diabetes.  It’s a disease of the chemicals in your brain.  We have a treatment for it, and I will do everything in my power to make you better.’

“Many people had said – and he’s told me this story – that for the first time in a long time they felt hope after they’d seen him.”

Steve Carter, executive director of the International Schizophrenia Foundation, said yesterday that Hoffer improved the lives of “tens of thousands” of people with mental illness.  “I’ve been getting floods of emails from people who say it was Hoffer’s work that saved their son or daughter or husband or wife,” he said.  “Really, there’s no area of the world that’s been untouched by his work.”

Born in a farmhouse in Saskatchewan in 1917, Hoffer received his early education in one-room schoolhouses.  He initially studied agriculture at university, earning his first degree in agricultural chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan before becoming interested in human nutrition and medicine.  He went on to become director of psychiatric research for Saskatchewan in 1950 and teamed with fellow psychedelic pioneer Dr. Humphrey Osmond to explore the causes of schizophrenia.  The team eventually developed the method of treating schizophrenia with large doses of niacin and Vitamin C.

Two years ago, Hoffer shared the $250,000 Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine for what the judges said was “his stubborn pursuit of non-toxic orthomolecular approaches to mental and physical disorders [that] helped thousands of patients with conditions ranging from schizophrenia to cancer.”

Hoffer, who authored more than 500 peer-reviewed articles and more than 30 academic monographs and books, remained frustrated to the end that his work was never embraced by the mainstream psychiatric community, his son said.  “He was disappointed that the treatment wasn’t adopted widely, that it continued to be rejected, and he was upset and angry that, in fact, it was never even investigated as it should have been.”

But Hoffer never lost his commitment to helping people, just as he did those patients who would show up on his doorstep in Saskatoon all those years ago.

Time Colonist reporter Sarah Petrescu wrote in a tribute yesterday that she met Hoffer – “a tiny spitfire of a man” – about a year ago while trying to get help for her mentally ill brother.

“The first thing he did was tell [my brother] that his condition was a gift as much as a challenge,” she said.  “He said: ‘People like you are very creative, have genius talent and beautiful eyes and skin – I’m actually quite envious.’  We all welled up in tears.  These things are true about my bro, but most doctors have always treated him like an imbecile leper only offering fistfuls of drugs.”

CCC reprint: Victoria Time Colonist, May 30, 2009, page A15