24 June 2010

"It’s not a technical issue. It’s the financing."

As I've mentioned in my previous posts, the development of the atomic bomb was a collaborative effort by three countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.  These three countries have a long history of working together and most recently are working together in Afghanistan.

These three countries also have something else in common; only a minority of the citizens support the war effort in Afghanistan. Not just people in Canada, or in Britain, but in the US, too.

According to a June Angus Reid Poll, only 33% of Canadians support Canada's efforts. With 59% of Canadians opposed to the government's war in Afghanistan, the Canadian government will spend, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, $18.1 billion by the end of 2011. That's $1500 per Canadian household.

In Britain, according to yet another June Angus Reid poll, only 38% of UK residents support the government's war in Afghanistan, with 55% of the population opposed. Still the government of the United Kingdom will spend £5 billion in 2010.

The USA, a country where 53% of people believe that the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting, will have spent a staggering $299 billion between 2001 and September 2010 .

Whether you agree or disagree with the war, it's a lot of money to spend when the majority of people living in the countries funding the war disagree.

I won't bother adding up the US/UK/Canadian spending for the war as you can do that yourselves, but you have to wonder why. Is it to protect the 100,000 plus foreign troops fighting in Afghanistan? Is it for the freedom of the 29 million people in Afghanistan? Is it to protect us from further terrorist attacks?

Now compare this to the list of the following diseases that stem cell research could potentially cure: Multiple Sclerosis,Parkinson’s, Alzheimer's, diabetes, spinal cord injuries, Lou Gherig’s disease, lung diseases, arthritis, sickle cell anemia, organ failure, cancer. I won't bother adding up the figures for the number of lives that this would save either. But for stem cell research, not only is it underfunded, we don't even get a clear figure from governments about how much they're spending. 

You might even think that the lack of funding comes from majority opposition to stem cell research, especially the more controversial embryonic stem cells. It would be reasonable to think so using basic logic...

...Most citizens of the Canada, the US, and the UK are against the war in Afghanistan...
...but these governments are spending billions and billions on that...
...Therefore we must not be spending billions and billions on stem cell funding because there must be massive opposition

Well, it makes sense, but you'd be wrong.

According to the most recent poll data, a majority in all three countries clearly favour further stem cell research. Canada 64% in favour. The United States, 52%, and a whopping 79% in the United Kingdom.

You might want to find out the answer to why we're not spending more on stem cell research by going to the source. If you're so motivated, try writing to Messrs. Obama, Harper, and Cameron.

Just cut and paste the text from my message and go to the link for one of the three leaders to send your message.

I am writing to you in regards to your government's commitment to stem cell research. Great strides are being made in research but due to a lack of funding we are still not able to transfer this research from the laboratory to the hospitals to treat human illness. 
Dr. Hans Keirstead, a leading stem cell researcher, made the following comments on 60 Minutes in 2007. "For me it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And there’s a pivotal point here; is it going to be in several years, or is going to be in a couple of years? The deciding factor there is not can we do it or not. It’s not a technical issue. It’s the financing."
In a light of this statement, I have two questions for you.
1. How much is your government spending on stem cell research?
2. When will your government make the same financial commitment to stem cell funding, which a majority of the public supports, as to your war in Afghanistan, which a majority of the public does not support?
Thank you.

Please also send me an email to let me know if you've sent an email and if you get a response. I just sent mine off.

1 comment: