National Health Freedom Coalition

Peter Helgason

Peter has worked on the frontlines and on the sidelines of the health freedom movement for the past two decades. His introduction to the cause was through a (successful) anti-fluoridation campaign in his home town of Kamloops, British Columbia in the late 90’s. As a one-time journalist, he used the anti-fluoride campaign experience to launch a career as “special projects” manager for a small herbal company in his community.

A natural “networker”, Peter used his position to reach out to like minded folks in Canada and the U.S. to actively seek to stop the onslaught of anti-health freedom legislation and regulation in both jurisdictions. Working with others in Canada, he was a vocal advocate for federal legislation (Bill C-420) to amend the Food and Drug Act to treat dietary supplements more like food and less like drugs. Ultimately those efforts led to naught, as industry generally, and trade organizations specifically, lobbied with bigger guns and more dollars for other ends. While the effort failed to yield the results hoped for, it did allow testimony to Federal agencies to be on the permanent record through the minutes and transcripts of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health.

Like many others, he says he is blessed to “stand on the shoulders of giants”, being deeply influenced by the doggedly determined and legally elegant efforts of men like the late Trueman Tuck in Canada as well as Clinton Ray Miller and Wendell Whitman in the U.S.

In 2004 he reached out to Diane Miller and the NHFC and attended the Health Freedom Congress at the Carandolet Center in Minneapolis. Many powerful connections were made, and that experience led to attendance at the Codex Committee hearings in Bonn, Germany in the fall of 2004 and Rome, Italy in 2005. At the Rome event he negotiated a private breakfast with the heads of the Canadian and US delegations and was able to begin to understand how the process really worked and how our efforts were both expensive and counter-productive.

He says his most important realization through the process has been the counter-intuitive understanding that one needs to be respectful and polite when confronting power and vested interests. Rash language and condemnation may inspire the choir but does little to grow the congregation…and we need a bigger congregation!

Upon realizing this political truth, he set out to find a “Goldilocks” organization that ran neither too hot nor too cold, and thus was born the Natural Health Products Protection Association (NHPPA). Although he says they were able to organize meetings at the top of the political food chain (The Prime Minister’s Office, PMO, similar to The West Wing), errors in choosing his Board ultimately led to his being voted out of the organization he founded.

For the past several years he has been a member of a weekly conference call with a Marshall McLuhan expert, who has encyclopedic knowledge of all things McLuhan, and lifetime justice fighter Jim Turner. This project remains a work in progress and all involved still hope that insight will be found to square the communication circle and be a foundation for more effective health freedom communication going forward.

Peter resides in Kamloops, with his long-suffering wife, two teenage boys, a daughter who just completed her first year of law school, a Burnese mountain dog cross, an adopted English Mastiff and a cat (who rules the roost).