reported receiving an official response from the Canadian Diabetes Association indicating the registered charity is in complete support of using human embryos in destructive research. The Canadian Diabetes Association states that its mission is to “promote the health of Canadians through diabetes research, education, service and advocacy.” The CDA distributes government funding to researchers.

A reply to a query elicited an e-mailed response from someone identified only as “Susan” from the Canadian Diabetes Association Contact Centre.

She said the association “does not currently fund embryonic stem cell research,” as of 2004-2005. She specified the promise shown by transplant research using pancreatic islet cells as an example of adult stem cell research in diabetes. This is not stem cell research, because the treatment involves replacing a patient’s islet cells with differentiated donor cells, not stem cells.

Susan went on to write that while the association “recognizes the need to be respectful of the varying perspectives held by the Canadian public on this sensitive issue,” it supports the “Canadian government’s direction” on the use of embryos in research. Canadian legislation, passed in 2004, was vigorously opposed by pro-life groups, ethics experts and numerous researchers, because it allowed the use of live human beings at the embryonic stage for experimental research. Such research kills the embryonic human being.

Susan wrote that the Diabetes Association will follow the guidelines laid out by the legislation. “Any future embryonic or stem cell related research applications to the association will be required to meet the requirements of the Act Respecting Assisted Human Reproduction and Related Research.”
How the Disabetes Association deals with the issue is similar to the approach taken by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. The HSFC states it does not currently fund embryonic stem cell research, but certainly is open to it.

In 2003, the HSFC issued a “Human Stem Cell Research Policy Statement” admitting to being open to funding destructive research on human embryos as well as research on aborted baby body parts. “In sum, the foundation will fund research that derives stem cells from i) existing human embryos or ii) human fetal material resulting from elective abortions.”

Last year, an Ontario branch manager for HSFC contacted both The Interimand demanding a retraction of a story that stated the HFSC supports funding embryonic stem cell research. The manager stated the organization does not fund such research. When presented with the policy guidelines and an explanation that we stated they support the idea of ESCR, even if they do not currently directly fund such research, the complainant relented. This year, the HSFC reiterated its support for ESCR, as 2007-2008 guidelines clearly state that it remains open to funding “research involving human pluripotent (embryonic) stem cells.”