FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Poll Shows All-Party Support for Measures to Tackle Forced Organ Harvesting in China
Toronto, October 8, 2015 — The upcoming Canadian federal election of October 19, 2015, provides an opportunity for candidates to explain their views on critical topics to voters. Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) surveyed 1,223 election candidates with a brief questionnaire addressing an important issue that had yet to be discussed in the campaign. That is, the practice of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, in particular Falun Gong adherents, in China.
In 2013, one and a half million people signed a petition to the United Nations to take action against unethical organ harvesting practices in China. Around 130,000 of these petitioners were Canadians, indicating that this topic is important to Canadian voters and should be discussed in the election phase.
As of September 30, 2015, we received 149 responses from candidates of not only the three major parties, but also the Green Party, the Bloc Quebecois and the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party.
Out of the 149 responses we received, 92 were supportive, while the rest were noncommittal. There were no negative responses. Of note, the party with the highest number of candidates responding was the Green Party, and almost all the Green Party candidates’ responses were supportive. A significant number of Liberal Party candidates also responded, with most candidates submitting identical responses restating broadly their party’s commitment to human rights. Finally, we received responses from approximately 10 candidates from each of the Conservative Party, the NDP and the Bloc. Most of these responses were positive, while a few of them were noncommittal.
This polling exercise suggests that candidates from all political parties support steps to tackle forced organ harvesting, including the reintroduction of legislation in the next Parliament to make it a crime for Canadian citizens to obtain an organ transplant abroad without ascertaining the donor’s consent. This press release summarizes the responses that DAFOH received to its questionnaire.
Excerpt of supportive statements:
“I would recommend to put sanctions against all trade of medical supplies to and from China until this practice is stopped. I would recommend that we pass legislation to make it illegal for Canadians to accept organs, which have been forcibly harvested. Finally, I would recommend that the UN put sanctions against any country that practices forced organ harvesting.”
David Cordero, MD
Email: [email protected]
Purpose of the Questionnaire
This questionnaire was intended to present a polling of the views of the candidates on the issue of forced organ harvesting. In order to avoid any possibility of harm, we chose not to identify individual respondents by name. Yet, we encourage the candidates who responded to our questionnaire to take the initiative to share their views in public discussions. We also wish to state that our questionnaire was not intended to oblige any candidate to act in a certain way if elected.
Analysis Details and Methodology
DAFOH has chosen to submit a questionnaire listing the five following questions to all election candidates by email:
Do you oppose the forced organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience in China? — Y/N?
Do you think Canada should take legislative actions to stop such transplant abuse? — Y/N?
Do you support legislation, like that proposed by Mr. Cotler, to make illegal the purchase abroad of organs from non-consenting donors? — Y/N?
If elected, would you be prepared to support a private member’s bill to this effect?— Y/N?
What steps would you take to urge your party to protest the forced harvesting of organs for transplant in China?
A supportive or positive response: a response that would support the debate on forced organ harvesting in the Canadian Parliament and that would support actions to stop such practice.
A non-supportive or negative response: a response that would not seek a debate on forced organ harvesting.
A noncommittal or general response: a response that would neither be supportive nor non-supportive.
Analysis of the Results
A total of 149 candidates responded. None of the responses were non-supportive.
Responses by Party
Overall, responses were either supportive or noncommittal. We did not receive any non-supportive or negative responses. In total, we received 95 supportive responses and 54 general responses.
7 candidates from the Conservative Party responded, with some candidates indicating their willingness to meet after the election to discuss appropriate courses of action, and others reaffirming their support to advocate for victims of forced organ harvesting and victims of similar human rights violations. 5 were supportive, 2 were noncommittal.
New Democratic Party
10 candidates from the NDP responded, with some candidates pointing approvingly to a previous all-party motion that was adopted by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights that condemned forced organ harvesting in China. 6 were supportive, 4 were noncommittal.
A significant number of candidates from the Liberal Party responded: they were 54. 42 responses, while supportive in tone—reminding us of their party’s commitment to universal human rights—were worded broadly and did not address specifically forced organ harvesting or the questions listed in the questionnaire. As a result, while it is to be understood that the party is concerned with such practices in China, for the purposes of this poll we tabulated these answers as noncommittal. Nonetheless, 9 responses were supportive, some of them highlighting the candidates’ wish to continue raising this issue with fellow MPs in the House of Commons, with the Canadian government and with Chinese authorities.
The most supportive responses came from the Green Party. There were 63 responses, 58 of which were supportive. In particular, we received a response directly from Ms. May’s office, reiterating the party’s consistent appeals in the House of Commons and in rallies supporting the plight of Falun Gong adherents in China and supporting legislative initiatives prohibiting organ transplants abroad from non-consenting donors.
Candidates from the Bloc responded in a ratio similar to that of the Green Party. Out of a possible 78 responses—since the Bloc only runs in Quebec—, we heard back from 13 candidates. 12 were supportive, 1 was noncommittal. Some of the responses highlighted supportive positions the Bloc took throughout the years, including statements that were made in 2006 when the news of forced organ harvesting in China first broke out. We also note that the party itself submitted a statement in response to our poll, expressing the party’s desire that discussions be held with Chinese authorities on this issue.
Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party
Two candidates from the AAEV responded; both were supportive.
This polling exercise accomplished the following results:
Bringing increased awareness of the need for debates and actions against unethical, forced organ harvesting to all candidates for Parliament;
Engaging some of Canada’s most influential and dedicated individuals in reading and researching this issue;
Indicating an overwhelming support for steps to fight forced organ harvesting, including the introduction of legislation in the next Parliament to make it a crime for a Canadian citizen to travel abroad to receive an organ transplant from a non-consenting donor;
Identifying candidates who, if elected, would be prepared to sponsor such legislation.
Many responses were very supportive, with candidates indicating their willingness to sponsor legislation, if elected, or suggesting further steps, as exemplified by the following comments:
“The dignity of human life is inviolable. To safeguard and protect it from abuse is an obligation of ALL state power. I would take steps to urge all members representing the Green Party of Canada to unanimously adopt the recommendations outlined by DAFOH and advocate solidarity across all party lines to raise awareness of this crime in order to eliminate organ harvesting wherever it arises. The Green Party platform is grounded on social justice.”
“Personally this is tantamount to assault and in the case of death of the donor, murder. I would ask that any Canadian who receives such an operation abroad be able to prove they have informed consent, verified by an independent 3rd party, before being allowed to depart Canada. If it should be proven such was not the case the recipient of the organ would be charged with assault causing bodily harm or murder as the case may be. Further I would deny them medical coverage for any condition resulting from this procedure and have them pay the full cost or return to the country of practice, China as mentioned, for any medical treatment. This practice is heinous and in keeping with the genocidal practices of the 3rd Reich!”
“I would urge Canada to re-evaluate its trade relations with such a state and bring condemnation through the media and the United Nations as well as support prosecution through the International Criminal Court.”