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june 2019

Area artist inspired by Warhol Frank PEEBLES Gateway staff

T Gateway Photo by James Doyle

Artist Robert Sebastian shows off some paintings in front of Two River Gallery in Prince George. The paintings are part of a new series of prints he is launching.

he paintings come from the same traditional roots as before, but internationally celebrated artist Robert Sebastian is working in new forms. One of the evolutions in this veteran art star’s work is producing paintings on print-canvas. His original images are still for sale, and fetch thousands of dollars each, but he is also allowing select images to go into print series. He chose the canvas medium “because it saves on framing, people can just hang them as they are, and you get just the image in its raw form,” he said as he released them to the world. The first places they are on public offer are WD West Studios and Two Rivers Gallery’s Art Shop, both located in his second home of Prince George. His original home, and the place where his art career his its primary base, is Hazelton in the midst of his Gitxsan Nation ancestry. There is a sect of artists, he said, and he was one of them, that pins their career hopes on selling originals one by one. The

price of a single original can be prohibitive, so the buyers become financially elite as an artist’s career develops. Sebastian wanted the average person to be able to afford his art, and have his work appreciated by the mainstream public. He has now embraced the print, where several copies can be sold at a more inclusive price. “What motivated me was Andy Warhol,” said Sebastian. “I found out he almost never sold an original. That made me think.” He has also been inspired lately by the younger generation of Aboriginal artist. He is now infusing modern images into his traditional depictions, like his recent painting of a leaping fish that has, small in the background as if looking down from high above, an airplane. Sebastian was part of the surge of west coast Indigenous art that broke out of the 1970s and ‘80s as the leading edge of First Nations cultural revival that is still building momentum today. As one of the recognized masters of this genre, Sebastian’s work is in collections all over the world, including British royalty and international governments. — ‘OUR CULTURE, page 4


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Missing women inquiry looked to Highway of Tears symposium Lori CULBERT Vancouver Sun

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B.C. Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Melanie Mark, B.C.’s first female First Nations MLA, and her daughter Makayla, 8, listen as Indigenous women and allies respond to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver on June 3.

hile some of the national report into missing and murdered Indigenous women stakes new ground, especially in relation to the federal justice system, many of the recommendations echo ideas from similar inquiries undertaken in B.C. over the past decade. Nearly 100 recommendations stemmed from the 2012 missing women inquiry led by former Justice Wally Oppal and the Highway of Tears symposium in Prince George in 2006, all of them aimed at improving safety and raising awareness of the terrible plight of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. “I think B.C. has set a precedent in what inquiries are about, and

how we’ve already had those recommendations on the go,” said Brenda Wilson, a 25-year advocate in the Highway of Tears issue. “But not a lot of them were implemented because of funding – no one took us seriously back then about why this (action) needed to happen. And now it is on a wider scale across the country.” Wilson’s sister, Ramona, was one of at least 18 women and girls who disappeared along several northern highways between 1969 and 2006, and she hopes the new recommendations will get more attention now that the entire country is listening. Commissioners released the national Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report after hearing from 1,500 relatives and survivors of violence and made more than 200 recommendations for change. — see CHANGE, page 5


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‘Our culture has been underground for a long time’ — from page 1 The Montreal Expos, for example, commissioned him and brother Ron Sebastian to carve a totem pole for Olympic Stadium. They presented it in 1980 at a home game ceremony with Maurice Richard, Donald and Keifer Sutherland and other Montreal dignitaries in attendance. That kind of exposure was hard-earned and came with immense responsibility, said Sebastian. The shapes, colours and subject matter of traditional Aboriginal art are not haphazard. Cultural guidelines from nation to nation and even clan to clan inform the rules around what can be represented in such art. Artists’ mastery of these genres partially includes perfecting the shapes, but necessarily includes perfecting the rules around their use. Sebastian shakes his head over the purists who claim no one from outside a First Nation should be allowed to work in the artistic aesthetic of that First Nation. He wholeheartedly agrees with non-Aborignal

artists taking up these artistic traditions, or a Cree or Inuit artist who might want to learn to paint in the style of the Gitxan. However, he said, a commitment must be made on the part of that outside artist before they take their work to the commercial level. “You have to check the history so you know what you are doing,” he explained. “Our culture has been underground for a long time, forced there, shamed there, and it’s only been coming out again since about 1970. It’s still hurting, the pain is still great, we still feel the repercussions today. It was made illegal for a long time to even talk about sacred things, but it was through art, important activists who were extremely good craftspeople, that it started to come back and become free. That has to be respected.” Sebastian names Walter Harris as a Gitxan art master he personally looked to as a leader, and he also saluted the Hunt family of Vancouver Island as being art

activists who helped Canada begin to think early thoughts about reconciliation with the oppressed First Nations. One of the important things the Hunt family did, Sebastian said, was welcome and mentor John Livingston into their traditions. Livingston, who passed away this spring, was non-Aboriginal but became a leading figure in that region’s Indigenous arts scene. He earned his adoption by committing to the study of the art’s cultural foundations, said Sebastian. “As long as they study the meaning, learn the full history of the symbols and designs, then I am OK with anyone who feels moved to make our art,” he said. “But you have to do your work, and that means person to person, learning directly from one artist to another, over a period of time. I strongly believe in new traditions – basing all new designs off of old traditional ones – but you have to know what you’re doing. It’s also important for older generations to be open to the designs of the new generations. You

have to allow youth to find their own way, express themselves authentically in their times. When you are trying to build a culture that stands for honesty, that stands for integrity, then that has to come out in the art. If you build good children, you will find some fine art come out of that. That’s so important. The art will tell you what kind of culture you have, what kind of community you have.” At age 65, Sebastian believes he has about 15 more years of vital art still ahead. Some artists, he said, don’t even start their careers until this point in life. He doesn’t want to waste the head start he has been given, especially since his life was, by his own admission, deeply troubled and painfully disrupted in his early adult years. He credits his two children as being the forces in his life that forced him to correct his path, and even that was slow and uneven in its execution. He stands now a gratefully changed man ready to take on new concepts in Canada’s oldest forms of art.


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Change needed — from page 3 They include new ideas such as establishing a national Indigenous and human rights ombudsperson and tribunal, prohibiting putting children into foster care on the basis of poverty or cultural bias, and creating a guaranteed annual livable income for all Canadians. Also included are suggestions to change the justice system, such as revising the Criminal Code to prevent offenders from minimizing their culpability, improving access to rehabilitation and reintegration programs in federal prisons, and increasing Indigenous representation in Canadian courts. The national report also recommended creating affordable transit to remote communities to reduce dependence on hitchhiking, something that both Oppal and the Highway of Tears report had already established as a priority. Funding for such transit service was a long time in coming, and Wilson said the bus service now connecting communities along Highway 16 is well-used by residents, but needs to be expanded to improve safety, in part because there is no cellphone service along many sections of the route. — see ‘I DON’T, page 6

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Chief Commissioner of the National Inquiry of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Marion Buller addresses a conference on the topic at UBC in Vancouver on June 10.


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‘I don’t know if much has changed’ — from page 5 “The bus service needs a lot of work,” Wilson said. Other recommendations from the national report that echo what have already been called for in B.C. include: • National: Developing a response to human-trafficking cases and sexual exploitation and violence, including in the sex industry. • B.C.: Oppal called on the province to consider better protection for exploited women by seeking input from sex workers, community organizations, Indigenous women’s groups, police and prosecutors. • National: Provide long-term funding for education programs and awareness campaigns related to violence prevention. • B.C.: Violence prevention was a main focus of the Highway of Tears report, which called for changes that would reduce risky behaviour such as hitchhiking, address poverty and other root causes, and create community crisis response teams. In

“First Nations Advocate” to bridge the comhis report, Oppal called for extra training munication gap between officers and the for police to make prevention of violence families of Indigenous victims. against Aboriginal women a top priority. • National: Ensure equi• National: Fund polictable access to employing in Indigenous comment, housing, education, munities so services are safety, and health care. equitable with those in • B.C.: The Highway of non-Indigenous commuTears report called for nities. more essential health and • B.C.: Oppal wrote that social services in remote his provincial inquiry First Nation communities. could not make recomOppal wrote that “grossly mendations directed at inadequate housing,” the RCMP, a national health inequities and police force, but he urged extreme poverty were the province to conduct major factors in women’s audits of all police forces Oppal vulnerability to violence, in B.C. “with a focus on but stopped short of making recommenthe police duty to protect marginalized and dations around these social issues. Seven Aboriginal women from violence.” years after the release of his report, Oppal The Highway of Tears report also called is proud of what it has accomplished, but is for more law-enforcement funding, to also disappointed that women are still at risk. increase police patrols along Highway 16 “It’s somewhat disappointing that some during hitchhiking season, and create a

of what we recommended, particularly when it comes to the treatment of Aboriginal victims of violence, are issues that we are still talking about,” he said Monday. While victims’ families have argued that B.C.’s response to Oppal’s recommendations has been slow and spotty, the province said earlier this year it had made “significant progress” since 2012 and would continue to take action to improve safety. Premier John Horgan said he was committed to ending violence against Indigenous women and promised to review the national report’s recommendations in the context of “the work currently underway in B.C.” A few of Oppal’s recommendations remain unfulfilled, such as a call for a regional police force across Metro Vancouver, as well as efforts to “clean up” the Downtown Eastside to better safeguard women. “I don’t know if much has changed down there. That’s still a breeding ground for violent offenders,” Oppal said.


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Area actor performs D-Day play in Normandy Frank PEEBLES Gateway staff

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here were soldiers from this area storming the Nazi machine guns and artillery at Juno Beach. Now, 75 years later after they broke through the hard lines of tyranny, it is their stories that continue to fight for freedom. One of the most compelling stories of them all, a modern classic, and eternal ode to the Second World War is the play Jake’s Gift. During this period of mourning and gratitude marking 75 years since D-Day, the writer-actor behind Jake’s Gift is herself at Juno Beach to perform this treasured Canadian theatre on the precise spot where Canadian soldiers broke over the rise of French land on their way to liberate the world from the Nazi terror.

Julia Mackey and her husband Dirk Van Stralen, the play’s director, have performed there before, but this time there is an added sense of importance, with the world’s observance of the anniversary. Mackey will stage the play six times (four in French, two in English) in the Normandy region, and she will also be the intermediary between children in the Juno Beach area and children in the Cariboo. She is delivering 75 hand-decorated cards addressed to soldiers who are buried in the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery where so many Canadian soldiers are interred after making the ultimate sacrifice while storming the beach in the D-Day counterassault, and in the following push to victory in Europe. There are 2,048 graves there. All but four are Canadian. — see ‘WE HAVE HAD, page 9

Handout photo by Dirk Van Stralen

Julia Mackey, still in costume from performing Jake’s Gift, meets with audience member David Leon Teacher, a decorated D-Day veteran and author of the memoir Beyond My Wildest Dreams. They met at Juno Beach ceremonies this week in Normandy where Mackey performed her play a number of times in both French and English.


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Class size worries northern parents

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ith the school year about to end, it is a good time to take a look at the education system. For years, British Columbians have been asked about their perceptions of schools, class sizes and negotiations between the provincial government and teachers. This time, Research Co. chose to review the feelings and perceptions of parents who have a child enrolled in kindergarten, elementary school (Grades 1 to 7) or high school (Grades 8 to 12) in B.C. The results outline a high level of satisfaction with certain aspects of the education system, as well as some worries that differ from region to region. Across the province, 83 per cent of parents who have children enrolled in a K-12 program say the experience of their child with the education system has been “very positive” or “moderately positive.” Only 14 per cent of parents describe the situation as “moderately negative” or “very negative.” In a noteworthy twist, parents who have a child in public school have a slightly higher level of satisfaction with the current state of affairs (85 per cent) than those whose children attend a private school (79 per cent). Still, this high level of satisfaction does not mean that everything is perfect. When parents are asked about the biggest problem facing the education system right now, the answer that heads the list is “large class sizes” at 21 per cent, followed by “shortage of teachers” at 16 per cent. The third spot is for “lack of safety in schools and bullying” at 15 per cent, followed by “outdated curriculum” at 12 per cent, “inadequate resources and facilities for children” at 11 per cent, “labour disputes between teachers and the government” also at 11 per cent and “bureaucracy and poor management” at nine per cent. The preoccupation with large class sizes reaches a peak in northern B.C. (30 per cent). Parents on Vancouver Island are more likely to express dismay at an outdated curriculum (24 per cent) than their counterparts in other regions.

By the numbers

Mario Canseco

The perception of a system that is bureaucratic and poorly managed is highest in southern B.C. (23 per cent). Parents in the Fraser Valley are decidedly more critical of the resources and facilities that their children are currently enjoying (17 per cent). Class sizes have long been mentioned as one of the significant issues that need to be addressed. In the survey, six in 10 parents of K-12 pupils in British Columbia (60 per cent) described their child’s current class size as “about right.” Three in 10 (31 per cent) say the class is “too big,” while six per cent claim it is “too small.” Northern B.C. has the largest proportion of parents of K-12 pupils who believe class sizes are too big (43 per cent) while Metro Vancouver has the lowest (28 per cent). Only 13 per cent of parents whose kids are enrolled in a private school think the class sizes are too big, compared with 34 per cent for parents of kids in public schools. When asked about what their children are learning, most parents are content. More than two-thirds say they are satisfied with the quality of instruction their child is getting in four key subjects: English (73 per cent), science (72 per cent), social studies (also 72 per cent) and math (68 per cent). In addition, the level of dissatisfaction from the parents whose children are receiving second-language instruction is 29 per cent for French and 28 per cent for other languages. The survey shows that, when it comes to the opinions of parents, the debate about education in the province is not dominated by labour disputes. Still, the fact that every region of British Columbia pointed to a different major difficulty with the education system suggests that the provincial government will be compelled to consider local needs when planning for the future.


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‘We have had a very moving experience so far’ — from page 7 This graveyard and others like it are cared for and deeply meaningful to the people of those French communities first liberated in that catastrophic invasion. The mayor of one such community – Jean Luc Guillourad of Colomby-Anguerny – spotted a card of thanks written by a student from Ontario and placed on one of the grave markers. It sparked an idea to have French and Canadian children do 75 cards of their own – one for each year since D-Day – and place them around the cemetery. “It was such a beautiful idea, so moving of him to think of this. It’ll be wonderful to meet the students in advance and then we will be doing a performance in Anguerny,” said Mackey. “They have 75 students in their school, and we reached out to Red Bluff and Wells elementary schools to do the 75 from here.” Each card had a message of thanks written personally from the student, and some artwork. The local teachers who facilitated were Danette Boucher, Linda Joyce and Teresa Beaven-McCart. Guillourad sought out Mackey for this exchange because he had seen Jake’s Gift performed in Normandy on a previous occasion, and he knew the title character, Jake, had a brother named Chester buried in Bény-sur-Mer. “We have had a very moving experience so far,” said Mackey, after attending the D-Day anniversary events and completing some of the performances on their Juno Beach sojourn. “We had an evening French show and an English matinee in the exact locale of the play – right across the street from (the child character) Isabelle’s house in the play. It was so incredible to perform there. That house (now known as the Queens Own Rifles House) will be 100 feet from where I’ll be performing, and I’ll be able to see it from the stage.” Mackey has experienced a wide range of emotions based on the response of audi-

ence members – in Prince George alone that has been a Lieutenant Governor, many veterans, school kids, Theatre Northwest crowds, and more – and sometimes it seems the play has a streak of providence to it. Mackey was bowled over when she discovered that the people with whom she had to make arrangements for the Juno Beach Centre (the Canadian organization dedicated to the D-Day memorial and museum in Normandy) were based in Burlington, Ontario. Burlington, by remarkable coincidence, plays a notable part in the play. “I am so thrilled to be going back there, and this new relationship with the students just makes it so special,” said Mackey. She and Van Stralen attended a ceremony on Friday in the Juno Beach area at which an elementary school there was renamed Louis Valmount Roy after a fallen D-Day soldier. They also have been to Rue Bill Ross, named for a Canadian soldier who fought valiantly to liberate Anguerny, so the municipality named the road after him. Mackey and Van Stralen were present to another impactful treat, the presence of so many surviving Canadian veterans of the DDay campaign who travelled to Normandy for these special ceremonies. “People ask me when are you not going to do this play anymore, and yes, I will definitely move on to other things, but I’m 51 and this character and this play have been a part of one third of my life,” said Mackey. “I hope it is always a part of my life as long as I’m physically able to do it. When you think about how you want experiences to come into your life, and how you want life to go – this is it.” The events of war are over in a flash, and they are so epic in scope and context that they cannot be reproduced in a dimensional way. The closest representations come in the form of art. The plaques, statues, poems, songs and plays like Jake’s Gift are how the heroics of D-Day are passed on to future generations.

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Children from Red Bluff and Wells elementary schools created 75 cards of thanks – one for each year since D-Day – to be placed at the Canadian war cemetery near Juno Beach.


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MLA still working on bill to ban glysophate from B.C. forests Mark NIELSEN Gateway staff

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rince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris’ quest to ban the use of a controversial chemical on provincial forests has hit some bumps but his private member’s bill on the issue remains in play. A plan to have the bill introduced in the most-recent sitting of the legislature was put on hold to make some modifications, but it should be ready for the fall session, Morris said. The changes were made to both cast the net wider in terms of the chemicals to be targeted while also making sure on the focus in terms of where they should be prohibited. “It needed to be broader than just glysophate, so I was trying to come up with some terms that would cover off any other

kind of derivative,” Morris said. “But I also had a lot of input, a lot of calls from various groups and organizations within the province, whether related to silviculture or farming or other groups that were concerned that this would morph into a province-wide prohibition for the use of glysophates or those kinds of compounds on right-of-ways, for agriculture and others. “And my sole purpose is just to concentrate on the loss of biodiversity and habitat related to killing off the broadleaf and deciduous growth in there. It took me a long time to find the right wording for that and as a result, I lost the window I had for the spring session but it will definitely be on the fall session agenda.” Morris is targeting herbicides forest companies use to kill aspen and other broadleaf plants in areas that have been logged and replanted with trees of commercial value.

Opponents of their use say it also eliminates food supplies for wildlife. On whether banning their use would affect companies’ bottom lines, Morris said it’s an argument he’s heard but noted that where First Nations have prohibited their use on traditional territories, “forest companies seem to get along quite well.” “It does impact the bottom line and our forest companies complain that they’re not competitive any longer in British Columbia but I don’t think they have ever been truly competitive when you look at the forest industry in the southern U.S. where they can grow a tree in 35 years that’s marketable and it takes 100 years for us to do it up here,” Morris added. Meanwhile, the group Stop the Spray has launched a letter-writing campaign urging both B.C.’s Chief Forester and Minister of Forests to ban their use.

The Citizen archives online: https://bit.ly/2RsjvA0

Morris


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Physiotherapy program to be launched at UNBC Gateway staff

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B.C. Minister of Advanced Education Melanie Mark announced the province is increasing occupational and physical therapy training seats in Northern B.C. at UNBC.

tarting in 15 months time, physiotherapy students will be able to learn their craft at the University of Northern British Columbia. With the help of $2.2 million from the provincial government, UNBC will welcome its first intake of 20 masters of physiotherapy students in September 2020. And by September 2022, a 16-student masters of occupational therapy program will be launched at UNBC. $1.1 million is being provided towards that goal. B.C. Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister Melanie Mark announced the long-awaited moves on Friday. University of British Columbia in Vancouver is currently home to both progams while a 20-student “northern cohort” of physiotherapy students spends four weeks working at clinics in the northern B.C. region midway through their 26-month program. No northern cohort exists for occupational therapy students, who also go

through a 26-month program. A further 20 physiotherapy seats are to be established in the Fraser Valley by September 2022 and eight seats will be added to the the occupational therapy program at UBC. Currently, there are 80 first-year physiotherapy seats at UBC and the number available across the province will rise to 120 by September 2022. On the occupational therapy side, there are 48 seats at UBC. This will increase to 72 first-year seats with the additions at UNBC and UBC. “Adding more occupational and physical therapy seats has been a call to action for years,” Mark said. “Our government listened and is investing in opportunities to bring education closer to home, because we know that when students live and train in the north, they are more likely to stay and work in the North.” Over the next decade, 1,920 job openings in physiotherapy and 1,160 job openings in occupational therapy are expected, according to the provincial government.


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Ideal Protein a typical fad diet

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hile January used to be the time of year when fad diets were at their peak, it doesn’t seem as if there’s a season for them anymore. Whether it’s the South Beach diet, the Zone diet, Atkins, Paleo or the raw food diet, some fad diets have come and gone, while others have spawned equally outlandish copycats. The ketogenic diet is a notable example, birthing the Ideal Protein diet. Although the ketogenic diet has legitimate roots as a treatment for epilepsy, the Ideal Protein diet was created for sig-

Food for thought

Kelsey Leckovic

nificantly less therapeutic reasons. The protocol, as it is referred to by its parent company, was founded by an entrepreneur named Olivier Benloulou and a general practitioner and self-described “nutritional expert” named Dr. Tran Tien Chanh. On the company’s website, Benloulou states: “our focus is not and will never be the mere sale of weight loss options and

products, but rather the global epidemic that our medically developed protocol addresses.” The Ideal Protein diet is advertised as a “four-phase ketogenic weight and lifestyle management protocol medically developed and based on validated science for safe weight loss.” Words and phrases like “medically developed,” “validated science” and “safe” can mislead the consumer into believing a diet is backed by strong evidence and it can be difficult to determine the validity of claims when broad descriptors are being used, but there are red flags to look out for in evaluating the legitimacy of this diet and others.

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Red flag No. 1: the diet emphasizes weight loss. While the Ideal Protein diet is advertised as being about “so much more than just losing weight,” the first phase of the diet needs to be followed until 100 per cent of your desired weight loss is achieved. If the diet is about more than just losing weight, why is “losing weight” a step in itself? The diet is also heavily promoted in many weight loss clinics. The promise of weight loss is usually the hook to get consumers to buy into a fad diet. — see CUTTING OUT, page 13


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Cutting out food groups is a warning sign — from page 12 Red flag No. 2: food categories are eliminated or vilified. Phase 1 of Ideal Protein allows the “dieter” (as they are referred to) to have eight ounces of protein at dinner, four cups of selected vegetables throughout the day and unlimited raw vegetables and lettuce, along with three Ideal Protein packaged foods. Phases 2 adds in one eight-ounce portion of protein and takes away an Ideal Protein food and phase 3 does the same once again. The “dieter” is limited to only these food categories and cannot consume dairy products in phases 1 and 2, unless of course they are in the form of prepackaged Ideal Protein products. When a diet advises against consuming a major food category or promotes a small number of foods as being the keys to success, those are red flags. No food is inherently good or bad and no single food category, whether grains, dairy or other, is crucial to weight loss. Red flag No. 3: your success depends

on a financial commitment. Every phase of the four-phase Ideal Protein protocol incorporates Ideal Protein foods, which are produced by the company and peddled by “authorized clinics” across North America. When a company forces you to buy their food or supplements rather that showing you how to make healthy choices, they’re not teaching you to be independent. In fact, the company refers to their meal replacement products as an “amazing way to help you sustain your weight loss results over your life course.” In other words, they’re pushing a lifelong connection to the diet and a never-ending financial commitment on the consumer. Red flag No. 4: the diet is rigid and unwavering. Ideal Protein describes the protocol as “an uncompromised personal transformation Protocol” stating that “deviating will only inhibit your results.” The company’s website then refers the participant to a “Value of health” video on YouTube. — see TESTIMONIALS, page 14

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A woman walks past the bread section in a grocery store in Toronto. Diets that suggest not eating entire major food categories – such as carbohydrates – is a major red flag, nutritionist Kelsey Leckovic says.


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Testimonials are not proof — from page 13 If a diet advises the participant to override feelings of hunger and fullness and signifies deviation from the diet as a sign of failure or a signal that you’ve “lost your way,” that’s a red flag. Ideal Protein will only continue to make money off a participant if people continue to remain connected to their diet. Shaming the “dieter” into coming back to that rigid regime does not allow them to be empowered and independent in making decisions for themselves. Red flag No. 5: advice is based on testimonials. While the Ideal Protein program is very good at claiming to be “medically developed” and based on “validated science” and using words and claims to give an air of validity to their products, they don’t appear to be as good at providing actual evidence and instead rely on personal testimonials. This is a big red flag for a fad diet. The consumer can look at these testimonials and relate to the stories being told, while

idealizing the results being promised. Red flag No. 6: salespersons are disguised as “counsellors” or “coaches.” Representatives for a fad diet often refer to themselves as counsellors or coaches to give the consumer the feeling of being cared for and advised by an individual who is qualified to give advice. Anyone providing diet advice should not be making a commission based on your purchases. Unfortunately, in addition to recruiting “passionate partners,” Ideal Protein recruits pharmacists, doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists, among other healthcare professionals, giving their program legitimacy. Although these people may be experts in their fields, that does not mean they’re experts in diet and nutrition. When fad diets use healthcare professionals to push a product, it can be very difficult for the consumer to know whose advice to trust. Red flag No. 7: The diet is not supported by registered dietitians. — see DIETITIANS, page 15


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Dietitians held to code of ethics

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Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, right, and nutritionist Jessica Cole look over samples of some of the food groups at the unveiling of Canada’s new Food Guide on Jan. 22.

— from page 14 While the Ideal Protein diet touts the expertise of certain healthcare practitioners, you’d be hardpressed to find a dietitian selling these products or promoting the diet in general. This is because in British Columbia registered dietitians are subject to marketing bylaws, standards of practice and a code of ethics. These standards are in place to protect the public from misleading information and product promotion. When promoting services and products, dietitians are expected to ensure the marketing is truthful, accurate, verifiable and evidence-informed, meaning that claims are based on objective and scientifically sound evidence. A dietitian cannot create unjustified expectations about the results that can be achieved with a product or diet and we cannot take actions that result in personal gain, such as accepting fees or other benefits from product or service sponsors based on a client’s purchases. In other words, it would be unethical for a dietitian to promote the Ideal Protein diet. One of the biggest reasons fad diets increase in popularity is because they feed off what people

want. When family, friends and even your doctor are recommending a diet it can be extremely difficult to buck the trend and choose your own path. It might even seem as if there is no harm in trying a popularized diet but there is the potential for negative effects, which is a very frustrating aspect of these diets. Not only could you be wasting money and time committing to what’s required for “success” but your metabolism could be affected, you could have nutrient deficiencies, you could lose muscle mass, have decreased immunity, decreased bone density, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, weight loss programs are not regulated in Canada, so it’s important for a consumer to be able to spot sensationalized claims and other hallmarks of a fad diet. While I’ve only listed a small proportion of the questionable claims and statements made by Ideal Protein, the red flags listed here can help you to identify even more in this and other diets-of-the-moment and allow you to make informed decisions. — Kelsey Leckovic is a registered dietitian with Northern Health working in chronic disease management.


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Gateway to the North - June 2019  

Gateway to the North - June 2019  

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