Wireless Radiation Safety Council demands Federal Leaders and candidates promise New Laws and Action on Wi Fi in Schools

Parents, Teachers and Groups across Canada urge accountability and transparency

TORONTO, April 18 /CNW/ - Parents, grandparents and concerned voters across Canada represented by the Wireless Radiation Safety Council (WRSC) are demanding all federal party leaders and riding candidates state their position on protecting children from escalating levels of microwave radiation generated by wireless internet (Wi Fi) equipment in the school environment and by cell towers.

An Ontario mother from Peterborough, Kathy McDermid, will outline the main concerns of her local group.  McDermid says that the Peterborough school board is committing grave ethical transgressions in implementing its plan to install Wi Fi, in its schools.

"The leaders are only talking about getting elected. Our children need protection from the unregulated installation of these devices. It's scientifically accepted that children are vulnerable to this radiation,"  said  Dr. Magda Havas, an internationally-recognized expert on the health effects of Wi Fi and microwave radiation and a professor at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.

Headaches, nausea, and heart palpitations are reported in schools where Wi Fi equipment is installed. Similar symptoms occur when cell towers are erected in densely populated neighbourhoods.  Currently residents and parents of school children have no say in how much radiation their children receive.

www.wirelessradiationsafety.com

Wireless Radiation Safety Council  

April 18, 2011 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Conservative Party Leader 

Michael Ignatieff
Liberal Party Leader

Gilles Duceppe
Bloc Quebecois Leader

Jack Layton 
NDP Party Leader Liberal Candidate

Elizabeth May
Green Party of Canada Leader

Dear Prime Minister, Mr. Ignatieff, Mr. Duceppe, Mr. Layton and Ms. May,

RE: Federal Party Survey on Wireless Technology in Schools and Other Key Issues 

The Wireless Radiation Safety Council serves as an advocacy hub to represent the concerns of affiliate groups and member organizations at a national level.  We are made up of more than 25 groups in every region of Canada.  (A full list of member groups is attached to this letter.)

We are writing to clarify the position of your parties on wireless technology in schools and other key issues (Wi Fi).  Concerns about the staggering expansion of Wi Fi technologies in schools are exploding across Canada and reaching a fever pitch in dozens of communities.

For example, in the past few weeks

  • new evidence has become available on the correlations between Wi Fi technologies (such as Wi Fi equipment, cordless phones, and cell phones) and  increased health risks including cancer and heart problems.  Top medical and health experts are advocating that a precautionary approach be adopted on an urgent basis.  For further information see the websites listed below and the following YouTube videos:

  • Bill Fraser, a father in Edmonton, Alberta, was forced to apply to the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench for an injunction to halt the installation of Wi Fi equipment in the school attended by his children.  Dozens of groups are studying legal action which promises to be a windfall for lawyers and experts but will not necessarily advance the interests of Canadians, the wireless technology industry, nor protect health and safety.

  • teachers, daycare workers, administrators, and custodial workers in public and private schools across Canada are extremely concerned about Wi Fi installations, especially those men and women who hope to have children or expand their families and are worried their fertility may be affected.  However, they are afraid to speak out and participate in our local member groups because they are being threatened by school board management and senior administrators if they speak out.

  • Peterborough City Council decided to refuse to approve a proposed cell tower on the basis of health concerns forcefully expressed by its citizens. The Peterborough Council subsequently has earned public accolades for its responsive representation of residents on this matter.

  • smart meters are being installed in communities across Canada without any environmental or health impact studies.  Indeed, these installation processes have been endorsed and uncritically supported by large regulatory organizations such as the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and environmental auditors such as the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario,

  • school boards across Canada say they defer to Health Canada guidelines and local Health Units on standards.  However, as the attached letter from Dr. Magda Havas demonstrates, these guidelines clearly are not protective of human health and safety and definitely not protective of the health of children (who are extremely vulnerable to Wi Fi), electro-sensitive people, the elderly, and other immuno-comprised individuals.

  • the Town of Saanich in BC approved an official IT plan that states: (pg. 10) 1) there will be no Wi Fi installations in elementary schools, and 2) managed Wi Fi environments may be installed in adult workplaces including staff rooms and offices as necessary in middle and secondary schools.

  • on Tuesday, April 12th, parents and grandparents outside a school in Peterborough were threatened by the Principal of the school for distributing literature about the risks of Wi Fi technology in schools.  The local school board also has indicated to one of our member groups that they will not be allowed to present at the next meeting of the board on April 28th, 2011.

In this period of scarce public resources, we are shocked and appalled that our senior levels of government are silently endorsing or perhaps even encouraging school boards and municipalities to fight parents and residents who wish to protect the health and safety of their families.  We also are incredulous that institutions funded by taxpayers, such as school boards, are threatening to call the police on "alleged trespassers", and attempting to stifle democratic debate about the legitimate and heartfelt views of parents and grandparents. This decidedly undemocratic method of dealing with parents and their concerns for their children is simply unacceptable.

The growing frustration of parents and concerned citizens is palpable, and this is not a productive use of anyone's time or resources.  We need to devote our scarce resources to improving our education system and working cooperatively with Canada's public and private schools leaders in providing a healthy and safe environment for excellent education of our children.

Leadership from the federal parties is needed to achieve this goal.  Leadership also is needed from Health Canada, Industry Canada, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Environment Canada, the Federal Commissioner on Environment and Sustainable Development, and other federal regulatory agencies.  Instead we are witnessing the development of Industry Canada policies that seem intended to promote the idea that every child in Canada between the ages of 3 and 18 years old is destined to grow up carrying a laptop and cell phone around all day and even sleep with their "new wireless toys." 

Voters are looking for political leaders in whom they can place trust.  The current regulatory situation on Wi Fi technology is an amorphous mess (outlined in the attached report prepared by the Standing Committee on Health in December 2010).

Further to the report, we are asking you the following: 

  1. What is your position on the report of the Standing Committee on Health in December 2010?  Do you and your party support the application of the precautionary principle in making decisions about wireless technologies? 

  2. If elected, will you push for more stringent federal and provincial standards for all wireless technologies?  What specific measures will you push for and according to what timeline?

  3. Will you support working with the provinces to enact mirror legislation such as the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act (TDGA) and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System to address current gaps and overlaps in the current Wi Fi regulatory regime?  If so, how soon will you ensure that a legislative regime is put in place, keeping in mind that Canada signed the International Treaty on TDGA in 1974 but the provinces and the federal government didn't enact federal-provincial mirror legislation until 1984 and only after the Mississauga train derailment disaster in 1979. 

  4. What specific actions will you support to ensure that local and district school boards meaningfully resolve the concerns of local parents, grandparents, citizens, and residents and that citizens, residents, and landed immigrants are allowed to present their critical views on Wi Fi to school boards?

  5. Do you think that Industry Canada and Health Canada are exercising their approval authorities for new cell towers and wireless technologies in an appropriate manner?  Do you support enhanced public participation and appeal mechanisms for these approvals similar to those available under Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993?

  6. Do you support whistleblower protection for teachers and other staff who work in schools? 

  7. Will you support a properly funded public inquiry to examine all the major issues related to Wi Fi technologies in Canada?

We would like to be able to share your responses with the Canadian media on Monday, April 25th.  Thus we would appreciate a timely response to this letter.

Please note that a similar survey will also be administered to candidates in most local ridings across Canada.

If you have questions, please contact the following WRSC representatives:

Una St. Clair, Vancouver, una@citizensforsafetechnology.org; (604) 532-1863

Sharon Noble, Victoria, dsnoble@shaw.ca; (250) 478-7892

Francois Therrien, Montreal, ftherrien@aei.ca; (450) 471-8371

David McRobert, Legal Advisor to the WRSC, at the following numbers: W. 416 487 4677; C. 647 234 4677; mcrobert@sympatico.ca

All of these representatives will make themselves available to your staff by Skype on request.

Thanks for your consideration.

Sincerely 

Members groups of the Wireless Radiation Safety Council 

Attachments:

Letter by Dr. Stephen Sinatra

Letter by Dr. Magda Havas

RADIOFREQUENCY ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION:
An examination of the potential health impacts. Report of the Standing Committee on
Health, DECEMBER 2010 - 40th PARLIAMENT, 3rd SESSION 

For further information:

Note: no media calls to Western Canada or BC locations on Monday, April 18 or Tuesday prior to 10 am EST.

Sharon Noble, Chair, Citizens Against UnSafe Emissions, Victoria, BC, Chair of the City of Colwood's EMR Task Force.  (250) 478-7892, skype id sharonnoble2

Una St.Clair, Executive Director, Citizens for Safe Technology, BC, (604) 532-1863

F Therrien, Sauvons nos Enfants des Micro-Ondes
(Save our Children from Microwaves)
Montreal, Quebec, www.dangersemo.com
contact : Ftherrien@aei.ca

David McRobert, Legal Advisor, Wireless Radiation Safety Council,  (647) 234-4677, mcrobert@sympatico.ca