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Canada is Not the 51st State

It is not uncommon for some Canadians to become annoyed at Americans who tend to view Canada as the 51st State.  What is actually more annoying, is when Canadian journalists also do so, and in such a manner as to make it appear as though certain deficiencies in a US regulatory system are actually deficiencies in Canada. This recurring theme has again been niggling away at me since I read an article in the Globe and Mail on August 15, 2017, For cosmetics, let the buyer beware.  Under the title came the words “Thanks to a lack of regulations in the United States, disasters can and sometimes do result from the use of personal-care products.”  In this article, which extends for 2/3rds of a page, a Canadian reader is then led to believe that perceived deficiencies arising from “lack of regulations in the United States” is therefore an issue in Canada.  Not until we get to the end of the article do we see that this alarming story in the Health section of The Globe is not even an original Canadian column but is a reproduction from the New York Times News Service.

What is the purpose of reproducing an article like that in a Canadian newspaper without pointing out that it is dealing with the situation in a foreign country and without clearly distinguishing it from the activities of Health Canada in overseeing the health of Canadian citizens.  No mention is made of the provisions of the Food and Drugs Act relating to cosmetics, the individual governmental regulations governing cosmetics, the requirement to file Cosmetic Notification Forms, the restrictions and prohibitions that are contained in the Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist, the active role played by Environment Canada under the Chemicals Management Plan and so on.

Not only does Canada have an extensive and effective regime in place for the regulation of cosmetics and their ingredients, but it is currently undergoing consultations with a view to modernizing that system.  Why is this US article featured so predominantly in the Health section of one of Canada’s national newspapers without any reference to how the US system differs from the Canadian one?  Is the conclusion from the article and its banner “For cosmetics, let the buyer beware” to be that it is mere sensationalism or is it a filler for empty space in the newspaper?  Perhaps it was chosen since it was much simpler for someone to reprint a US article than to take the time to examine what the regulations are in Canada and compare them to those of the US.  In context, it would appear as though the latter may be true and a Canadian journalist would rather pull an article from an American news wire service and publish it, relying on the research of the US journalist, than to undertake the research themselves and publish an article which may actually be relevant to their Canadian readership.

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