Canada Sobeys drops support of wellness expo after father convicted in son's death scheduled to speak

01:51  12 february  2018
01:51  12 february  2018 Source:   Calgary Herald

Stephan scrubbed from "wellness" expo website

  Stephan scrubbed from A national grocery chain said Sunday that it's no longer a sponsor of a series of "wellness" expositions where a man convicted in the death of his toddler was listed as a featured speaker. Sobeys had been sponsoring the Health and Wellness Expos of Canada, which on Sunday morning listed David Stephan as a speaker at events this month and next in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman said the company couldn't Sobeys had been sponsoring the Health and Wellness Expos of Canada, which on Sunday morning listed David Stephan as a speaker at events this month and next in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton.

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Stephan_s11Apr02: David Stephan© David Rossiter David Stephan

He’s on a speaking tour preaching the benefits of natural health, and he’s coming back to Calgary.

David Stephan — convicted two years ago in connection with the death of his 19-month-old son, Ezekiel, in southeastern Alberta — is scheduled to speak at next month’s Calgary Wellness Expo, set for the Big Four building at Stampede Park March 9 to 11.

Titled “Achieving Brain & Thyroid Health — Rising to your Potential,” Stephan’s seminar promises information on how to improve mental health and promote hormone balance through nutrient supplementation.

It’s the same talk Stephan is giving this weekend at the Wellness Expo in Saskatoon.

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He’ s on a speaking tour preaching the benefits of natural health, and he’ s coming back to Calgary. David Stephan — convicted two years ago in connection with the death of his 19-month-old son , Ezekiel, in southeastern Alberta — is scheduled to speak at next month’ s Calgary Wellness Expo

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The seminars are sponsored by Truehope Nutritional Support Inc., a nutritional supplement company founded by Stephan’s father.

Sobeys announced Sunday morning it was withdrawing its sponsorship of the Health and Wellness Expos of Canada.

In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman said the company couldn’t support the organizers’ decision to host Stephan as a speaker.

Some people took to Twitter to call on Sobeys to pull its support of the expo, given Stephan’s involvement.

Sobeys spokeswoman Cynthia Thompson says the company won’t be associated with any future Health and Wellness Expo events.

Sunday afternoon, expo sponsor Flaman Fitness followed suit in yanking their support.

Two years ago, Stephan and wife Collet were convicted in a Lethbridge court for failing to provide the necessaries of life for Ezekiel. He died of bacterial meningitis on March 13, 2012, after being rushed to Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary when the tot stopped breathing.

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For weeks, Ezekiel’s condition was treated by his parents with natural remedies including hot peppers, garlic, ginger root, onions and horseradish.

The parents suspected Ezekiel had croup or the flu, despite warnings from a nurse and friend of the family that the child showed signs of suffering from meningitis, according to testimony heard at trial.

Too stiff for his car seat, the child was driven by his mother to a Lethbridge naturopathic clinic to pick up an echinacea treatment.

David was sentenced to four months in jail, while Collet was handed three months house arrest.

In November, Alberta’s top court upheld the convictions in a 2-1 split decision, entitling the couple to have their case heard by the Supreme Court of Canada — a date set tentatively for this May.

Requests to Stephan and Wellness Expo organizers for comment went unanswered Saturday.

Stephan’s talk this March isn’t the first time he’s been hired to speak at health fairs.

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Earlier this month, he also talked about brain and thyroid health at the Calgary Health Show at the BMO Centre on Feb. 3.

Dr. Juliet Guichon, a University of Calgary assistant professor in the faculty of medicine who specializes in law and medical ethics, called the decision by health expos to book Stephan to speak at seminars irresponsible.

“David Stephan has been criminally convicted by a jury of his peers — he lost his trial and he lost his appeal,” she said.

“His child died because the father and mother gave alternative health remedies rather than taking his child to the doctor.

“Why would anyone want to listen to what he has to say about health and wellness, given the outcome?”

She said organizers of such events, at the very least, should ensure attendees are aware of all aspects of Stephan’s past — including his previous conviction.

“People who attend these shows ought to know,” she said.

“It would be appropriate to the organizers to include that publicly available information about him when they invite him to speak.”

bpassifiume@postmedia.com
On Twitter: @bryanpassifiume

– With files from The Canadian Press

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