Saturday, November 22, 2008

Canada's New Minister of State (Science and Technology) Is a Chiropractor

It's true. Checkout the Stephen Harper website, which incidentally, is supposed to be the Prime Minister's website.
The Honourable Gary Goodyear
Minister of State (Science and Technology)

Cambridge (Ontario)

Gary Goodyear was first elected to the House of Commons in 2004 and re-elected in 2006 and 2008.

Prior to entering federal politics, Dr. Goodyear practised chiropractic medicine and worked as an advisor to investment firms in the biomedical industry.

Dr. Goodyear was a co-designer of a three-year post-graduate sports fellowship program. He also co-authored “Practice Guidelines” and was Public Relations Director and Past President for the College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences in Toronto. Dr. Goodyear has taught at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and the University of Waterloo. He has worked with many athletes, both amateur and professional, including serving as medical services chair for the Ontario Special Olympics.

Dr. Goodyear is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.
It's bad enough that we have a chiropractor advising the government about science but this particular one seem especially unqualified. He also practiced acupuncture when he was actively seeing patients. Dr. (sic) Goodyear is strongly supported by evangelical christians (e.g. Christian Conservatives). That may not have anything to do with his ability to understand modern science. Gary Goodyear was endorsed by Vote Marriage Canada, a group that opposes gay marriage.

The website of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College has a lengthy article praising the 4 MPs who are chiropractors (3 Conservatives, 1 Liberal) [Chiros on the Hill].
“The single biggest criticism of politicians,” explains Dr. Colin Carrie, Class of ’89 and Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Oshawa, Ontario, “is that they don’t listen.” Chiropractors, he says, are educated to be exceptional listeners. “Regardless of our political stripes, we want to do what’s right for our patients and our constituents.”
It’s people skills, agrees his colleague and fellow Conservative Dr. Gary Goodyear (MP for Cambridge, Ontario). “Every chiropractor has to be a people person, that’s what we were taught at CMCC.”

Goodyear, Class of ’83, and Chair of the Committee of Procedure and House Affairs, adds with a laugh that his advisors have had occasion to remind him not to be quite so hands-on when dealing with his constituents. “My election team has actually told me to stop touching people so much, but I can’t help it. It’s just natural to me. As a chiropractor, you automatically love people. Chiropractic is a touchy-feely profession—that transfers.”

Interestingly, all four chiropractic MPs tell similar stories about how—for each in his or her own way—they have come to view their constituents in much the same light as chiropractors perceive their patients: “You can’t be a successful chiropractor without good interpersonal skills,” explains Dr. James Lunney, (Class of ’83, Nanaimo-Alberni, BC). “Our job as chiropractors is taking complicated issues, and finding ways of explaining them—interpreting X-rays, for example—you have to be able to communicate to your patient what needs to be communicated.” The job requirements are strikingly similar, he says, on Parliament Hill. “Any chiropractor who deals with patient issues successfully has the skills to make the transition into politics. If you can manage a practice, you have an aptitude for politics.”
I'm beginning to see the parallels between being a politician and a chiropractor. This is not complimentary to politicians.


  1. HA HA, you all have your very own Brownie!

  2. I thought we in the USA were the only ones with the problem of fundagelicals trying to take over the government.

  3. A Science portfolio to a born again, boy that makes sense.

  4. Sad, sad, sad. Way to go Mr. Prime Minister! Not too surprising though given that he discontinued the position of top science adviser last year, thus showing his contempt for for this branch of study.

  5. What does being a chiropractor have anything to do with not being to understood the issues of science and scientific policy? I would think that clinical experience would give one a better understanding of the impacts that social policy has upon the health of the individual and community.

  6. Damn...considering moving to Canada just became harder for Americans

  7. Re DB

    By Mr. DBs' rather dubious logic, he would'nt have a problem with an astrologer in that position.

  8. The better question would be: What does being a chiropractor have to do with understanding science and science policy?

    I don't have anything against chiropractors, but it isn't science or technology.

    That being said, ministers are often put in areas where they don't have much official background, and they turn out to be good ministers. This is often necessary; many occupations and backgrounds are underrepresented in the House of Commons.

    The important thing is that ministers take advice from people that have the relevant background.

  9. Chiropractors are not scientists, but good ones are artists. Bad ones are scam artists. I used to have one that made me feel like a lost 30 lbs when I left. I tried to crack my own back like he did, but only made it worse.

  10. Re DB

    Re Jason

    I agree that this particular minister probably doesn't represent my values or interests, but I do take issue with the implication that chiropractice and acupuncture are necessarily anti-science.

    Obviously there is a long history of contention between chiropractic "theory" and science/medicine, and currently, among some practitioners, there is tension between "alternative" medicine and western medicine.

    But many chiropractic and acupuncture practitioners are not only agreeable to western science/medicine, they are well trained in it. I speak from personal experience---and I'm obviously very sciency.

  11. ABP says,

    But many chiropractic and acupuncture practitioners are not only agreeable to western science/medicine, they are well trained in it.

    Science is a way of knowing that relies on evidence. It is characterized by healthy skepticism and a reluctance to accept anything as true unless it has been well documented.

    To the best to my knowledge, there has been no scientific demonstration that acupuncture is any better than a placebo. People who believe in acupuncture and who charge patients for acupuncture procedures, do not meet the minimum qualifications of science.

    The same can be said for many chiropractors. The field is full of people who are practicing non-evidence based procedures. The leading chiropractic organizations have not spoken out against these practices by their members and very few chiropractors have lost their licenses in spite of the fact that they are anti-science.

    It is almost certainly true that there are some individual chiropractors who understand science and keep to scientific practices. The appear to be a small minority. It is up to them to take the necessary steps to clean up their profession.

    Meanwhile, it is misleading to the point of deception to imply that most chiropractors are pro-science using any reasonable definition of science.

  12. Back problems are probably the #1 medical complaint, and chiropractors make lots of money from it. The spine is complex and evolution is still working out the kinks of standing upright.

    I've had back problems all my life, and spent way too much money on chiropractors. My experience has been that about 75% of them are money-making scams, but the other 25% were respectable. There is a definite skill or an art to it, and some guys just have those movements down pat. They are not scientists or even doctors IMO, but something more akin to a physical therapist or a masseuse. I don't know what the scientific explanation is, but I assume what they are doing is relieving some pressure on nerves coming out of the spine, which of course go everywhere. The problem is, it's only a temporary fix. They may slightly change the geometry of your spine, but after a few days your existing musculature will pull it back into it's old shape. The only long-term solutions are exercise to change your back's muscle structure, and maybe losing weight. However, if you're suffering, a good chiropractor can really help, even if it's only temporary.

  13. I certainly have no problem with Dr Goodyear being a Chiropractor, in fact I have great respect for the one I've been seeing for many years. I do have a problem of him being picked probably because he is an Evangelical christian - How much concern can you have for
    science or the Environment if you are waiting around for the rapture?

  14. Great post, Larry. I think you are correct in saying that MOST chiropractors practice often in non-science based areas.

    Most people don't realize that the areas that Chiropractic is based on science are generally available from other care providers (physiotherapists). It is where they venture outside of that that becomes "chiropractic care" :)

    It is hard to imagine that someone who "understands" science (a person who is going to be directing the Prime Minister in that area!) would, honestly, choose to become a chiropractor.

    I spoke with a science educator from Australia about Canada being more secular than the US, etc., but he thinks that we, like Australians, are too complacent. We're likely wrong in assuming that religion doesn't affect policy and education as much as in the US. Fortunately, for the US, they have a lot of publicity around it so people are speaking out.

    Us, as good old Canadians, don't want to question too much or stir things up so we just assume that our country's policies are based on logic and science.

    It, obviously, isn't the case when you see religious groups pushing an individual to the top.

    (Oddly enough, on the Christian Conservative blog, someone suggested that "Being a chiropractor, he might have been better suited for something like Parl. Sec. for the Min. O' Health". For either of those positions, he hardly has a resume that supports appointing him.)

  15. I wondered when more people would blog about this. It shocked me the day it happened.

    This is Stephen Harper rewarding Mr. Goodyear for his work on the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. He ran it so it would avoid investigating the government's campaign financing scandal, in which it is alleged that conservatives MPs' local offices were illegally asked to fund national campaign activities (the in-and-out scandal).

    This is also payback for when non-federal scientists complained on behalf of their colleagues during the last election about Harper's incompetence in handling climate change, and the still ongoing muzzling of federal scientists. Harper is saying "You think you have it bad now? Just watch, I'll have this pseudo-doctor as point-man for the government on science, and you'll just have to suck it up."

  16. What is all this negativity about chiropractic and chiropractors. We have 7 years of extensive education, 4 of those are post graduate level. Dr Goodyear also has practical practice experience and has not just been in the world of academia. These comments are rather xenophobic.

  17. Dr. Jamie Phillips says,

    What is all this negativity about chiropractic and chiropractors. We have 7 years of extensive education, 4 of those are post graduate level.

    Shocking isn't it? You'd think that with all that exposure chiropractors would be, you know, "educated"?

  18. It's pretty myopic and sad to continue to view chiropractors and chiropractic as unscientific. The world isn't flat, the earth rotates around the sun, and the principles behind the removal of interference from the nervous system (chiropractic) have been proven in several landmark studies. Please do yourself a favor and review them.

  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  20. Dr. Ross Carter says (on Sunday , March 21, 2010),

    Chiropractic treatment is one of the best methods for treating numerous health problems naturally. After years of experience being a chiropractor, I have found that it is a powerful way to solve many pain conditions, like headaches, neck pain and back pain, as well as many non-pain condition as well, such as fatigue, sleep problems, and sinus problems.

    I had to delete his original post because it contained an advertisement for his practice and I don't allow that in comments.

  21. Treatment/Therapy for Chiropractor really work well for musculoskeletal problems and nerve related problems. Though this method working well your chiropractor should be an experienced and registered also with govt. approved association. Chiropractors are available locally you can found one of them nearby you.
    Chiropractor Smyrna ga

  22. Though this method working well your chiropractor should be an experienced and registered also with govt. approved association.

    I know of some government approved association as referred to as "weddings" I think. Cabbage trps.*


    Chiropractors are available locally you can found one of them nearby you.

    I probably could found one and I have no significant education whatsoever!!

    Thanks for stopping by. Keep us informed of the developments.

  23. A qualified chiropractor can quickly provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan, or can point you in the direction of a medical professional who can help you.

    utah chiropractor

  24. Utah Chiropractor says,

    A qualified chiropractor can quickly provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan, or can point you in the direction of a medical professional who can help you.

    A witch doctor can also quickly provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan. What's your point?

    I'm pleased that you recognize the importance of sending your customers to real medical professionals. However, they could save money by skipping the irrelevant middle man.