MP Dean Allison, left, with MPP Sam Oosterhoff at a 2017 Conservative Party meet-and-greet. VOICE FILE

Conservative incumbent “exempt” from vaccination, encourages public to get jabbed

Incumbent Niagara West Member of Parliament Dean Allison has come under fire for seeming to promote the use of a livestock dewormer as a Covid-19 remedy.

The Conservative MP, who was first elected to Parliament in 2004 and has successfully retained the seat since, tabled a petition to Parliament in June calling on the federal government to examine the alleged effectiveness of Ivermectin, a drug widely used to treat parasite infections in livestock. There is no credible evidence suggesting that the medication is effective against Covid-19. Canadian and US health authorities have repeatedly warned the public not to to self-medicate with Ivermectin due to its potential toxicity. Nonetheless, there has been a run on the drug at feed and farm stores in both countries as social media posts have continued to tout the fringe theory that multinational drug companies have sought to sideline Ivermectin in favour of more expensive therapies.

Ivermectin is also used to treat certain human parasitic worm infections, primarily in the developing world. It has never been authorized for use in viral infections, including coronaviruses.

In an interview with the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, said that the drug is a neurotoxin that acts on the nervous system, eliminating parasites by killing their nerve and muscle cells.

“As Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic, it will not work against viruses,” Hirji told the Standard. “Viruses do not have nerves.”

Allison again pushed Ivermectin in an August 12 Facebook post, in which he wrote, “Wondering why our federal government is not spending more time and energy looking into therapeutics,” and included a photo of a box of Ivermectin.

An August 12 Facebook post from MP Dean Allison. FACEBOOK/INSAUGA.COM

The post has since been deleted. Asked why the post was taken down, campaign manager Gordon Bate told the Voice that it was “causing confusion because of the Standard article. As you can readily see, Dean does not mention endorsing Ivermectin or any specific treatment. He simply posted an article from a reputable source that states that other countries are looking at different therapeutics and wondered why Canada was not doing the same. Simple question. Nothing else.”

Also at issue is Allison’s Covid-19 vaccination status. Bate said that Allison had a “medical exemption” from being vaccinated, though he encouraged his constituents to get the jab, saying through Bate: “Vaccines are the most important tool in the fight against Covid-19. I encourage every Canadian, who is able to, to get vaccinated. Covid-19 can result in serious illness, or even death, which is why I respect and defer to the advice of health experts on how best to treat Covid-19. I have never stated nor endorsed that any therapeutic drug(s) would replace vaccines or be a cure. My comments regarding the use of therapeutics has been at the request of my constituents who want to know why the government and Health Canada is not looking at all therapeutics that may be able to assist in the treatment of Covid-19.”

In a statement to the Voice, Niagara West Liberal candidate Ian Bingham condemned Allison’s “support of Ivermectin” as irresponsible.

“He is completely offside with science and is failing in his responsibility to encourage safe, effective vaccinations that actually protect our community,” said Bingham. “Mr. Allison continues to be more focused on pushing his own fringe, unproven beliefs, which are putting the health and safety of our community members at risk. I call on Mr. Allison to retract his statements immediately and do the right thing for the people of Niagara West.”

Updated to include comment from Allison campaign manager Gordon Bate.

Updated to note that Ivermectin has limited human human applications in parasitic, but not viral, infections.