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B.C. politician springs to defence

Title: B.C. politician springs to defence
Date: Friday, 9 August 1991
Publisher: Winnipeg Sun
Main source: link (120 KiB)

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The Church of Scientology is a "church like any other church," a Vancouver politician said yesterday.

Social Credit MLA John Reynolds said he doesn't understand why there is so much fuss over Narconon's links to Scientology.

"They (Narconon) have operated here in B.C for many years, and I think they have a reputation of doing a good job," Reynolds said.

Reynolds recently wrote a letter to Narconon praising the program on its silver anniversary.

The letter was included in a package of materials a Winnipeg company — Mr. Pepperette — handed out to teenagers who have been hired to fund-raise for Narconon under a Say No to Drugs campaign.

When pressed for details about the drug-rehabilitation program, Reynolds said he doesn't know anyone who has gone through Narconon.

Reynolds also responded angrily to the comments of a Vancouver substance abuse counsellor who said Narconon has been "virtually blacklisted" by people in the field.

"Any time people try to do anything that cuts into doctors' fees, doctors are going to complain," the West Vancouver MLA said.

Although Reynolds said he isn't a member of the church, he said there's no question Scientologists have gotten a bad rap.

"I know people who are in the church, and I don't think they are after anybody's money."

The church, which has been called a cult, offers expensive self-improvement courses to its members.

While the church has denied its affiliation to Narconon, both follow the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The church also promotes Narconon in its literature.

Although the controversy surrounding Narconon surfaced in Winnipeg this week, the Say No to Drugs campaign is nothing new to the city.

More than a year ago, the Scientologists sponsored an anti-drug campaign which was endorsed in a news release by Coun. Donovan Timmers and Winnipeg Police Chief Herb Stephen.

Timmers said yesterday he remembers the campaign, but never knew it was sponsored by the church.

"Regardless of all the things that have been said about the Church of Scientology, just the fact that I wasn't told of the connection makes me annoyed."

Timmers, who said he knows little about the church, said he hooked up to the anti-drug program after signing a petition brought to him by a constituent.