As we learned a couple of weeks ago, an organization called Terre Sans Frontières (Earth Without Borders) was using $350,000 of grant money it received from Global Affairs Canada to send more than a dozen volunteer homeopaths to Honduras to help them deal with a tropical infection known as Chagas disease. The program began in 2015 and will last through 2020.
In short, Canada was using taxpayer money to fund fake doctors in order to treat a very real disease.
The good news is that the CBC’s investigation into the problem has led to a positive result: Despite initially defending the grant, Global Affairs Canada has now promised never to work with the pro-homeopathic group after the length of this contract is over.
Louis Belanger, spokesperson for International Development Minister Maryam Monsef, said the five-year funding package was signed by the previous Conservative government.
He said in an email to The Canadian Press that homeopathy “doesn’t fall under the priorities” of the Liberals’ international assistance policy, introduced in 2017.
“I am unclear why the Conservatives would [sign] off on this five-year program back in 2015. … We will not be funding these types of initiatives any longer,” Belanger said.
It’s the right response to a problem that could’ve been avoided if only government officials spoke to medical experts and other scientists before signing off on a giant waste of money. It shouldn’t have taken public shaming for officials to admit the debacle, but at least they’re intent on fixing it in the future.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Daniel for the link)