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Marketplace exposed him in the ʼ90s. Now he’s back

A hidden camera shot of a young Darrell Wolfe in his Toronto office. There's multiple  unidentifiable bottles lining the windowsill behind him.
Wolfe’s business shut down shortly after he was exposed by Marketplace selling a fake HIV cure in 1994. (CBC)

A self-described health practitioner exposed nearly 30 years ago for selling fake HIV cures in Toronto is now peddling unproven and harmful treatments for everything from chronic pain to cancer, according to a Marketplace investigation.

The Doc of Detox — as Darrell Wolfe calls himself — has built a burgeoning alternative health operation at a resort in Ixtapa, Mexico, where he and his staff use questionable procedures and devices that are not only costly and ineffective, but can often cause egregious physical suffering. 

His claims include using an energy device to “shut cancer down in one treatment,” getting rid of his father’s leukemia within six weeks by having him drink his own urine, and using a belly button massager to “kill cancer cells.” 

Experts have debunked each of these claims.

Marketplace went undercover to document Wolfe’s teachings first hand, and spoke with 21 people who described their experiences with Wolfe and his program. They said that it was akin to joining a cult; that the physical treatments bordered on “torture”; and the promises that he’d be able to cure diseases, including advanced cancer, left them feeling “foolish” and “deceived.”

Wolfe didn’t agree to an on-camera interview with Marketplace, but did say he never claimed he could cure cancer. When asked about his credentials, he said he had a “doctorate of natural medicine”.

No recognized university in Canada offers a doctorate of natural medicine. Read more.

You can watch the full hidden camera investigation Friday at 8 p.m. (8:30 in Newfoundland) on CBC TV and CBC Gem. 

Experts say the sun may set on Sunwing

An airplane with an orange tail with the word "Sunwing" painted on it sits on an airport runway.
A Sunwing aircraft is parked at Montreal Trudeau airport in Montreal on March 2, 2022. Sunwing travellers from Saskatchewan are now running out of direct flight options to sunny destinations, as the airline is pulling many of its remaining winter flights. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

You’ll remember those 7,000 complaints that Sunwing received following the chaotic holiday travel season.

Now, it appears the airline is struggling to keep its operations afloat, as the company cuts half of its winter flights from Saskatoon, and all winter flights from Regina.

John Gradek, an aviation expert and a lecturer in the aviation management program at McGill University, said it was a failure on Sunwing to “understand that their schedule was a little too aggressive or optimistic.”

Gradek said the company pulling out of Saskatchewan would give them a “half-decent chance” at keeping other destination flights running. 

If you were one of the 7,000 who filed a complaint with Sunwing, the company has about two weeks left to address the complaint before you’re able to go to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA).

But expect to be patient. There’s still that 33,000 complaint backlog the CTA is dealing with.  Read more.

Here’s how Canadians are getting creative to deal with high grocery prices

A woman is pushing a shopping cart in a grocery store.
Erin Schulte, of Delta, B.C., says she can save thousands of dollars a year by using an app that shows her the cheapest products at local stores. (Justine Boulin/CBC)

As of December 2022, the cost of food has risen to 11 per cent compared to one year earlier, according to Statistics Canada.

CBC News spoke with several people in B.C. who have tips for shoppers across the country on how to cut grocery costs.

Delta’s Erin Schulte uses an app called Flipp, which collects deals and flyers from local stores. Schulte uses it to find the best prices for products she wants, and shops at stores that price match.

Schulte says she saves hundreds monthly.

One organization, Little Mountain Neighbourhood House in Vancouver, launched the Yard Garden Harvest Project, where homeowners can donate their lawns as space for a volunteer-run garden. 

Last season, five homeowners offered up a total of six plots that grew around 550 kilograms of fresh produce, all of which was donated.

Arianna Voth of Burnaby says she’s swapped out fresh produce for canned products. Her family has also found it necessary to turn to food banks.  Read more.

What else is going on?

Zellers is coming back to Canada
Oh, the nostalgia! Zellers stores will be opening up in 25 The Bay locations across Canada, plus an online store.

Public transit is struggling to lure back riders
Systems across Canada are grappling with revenue shortflls due to the pandemic, so some are increasing prices, cutting services, or both. 

School meal programs are struggling to serve the growing number of students in need
Climbing food prices means operators can’t get the “same value and same amount of food” they need.

Marketplace needs your help

In a busy airport, someone sits on a luggage wrack on the phone. Text on the image says "Travel Woes?"
(CBC)

Did you plan your dream holiday vacation only to have an airline totally ruin it? Maybe you were trapped in paradise, or maybe your trip was cancelled altogether. We want to hear your story. Write to us at marketplace@cbc.ca.

A hand is holding a pile of dirt with a plant growing out of it. Text on image reads "Greenwashing"
(CBC)

We’re on the hunt for greenwashing claims! Have you seen a product or service that makes environmentally friendly claims, only to find out they were too good to be true? Maybe that carton wasn’t actually compostable, or perhaps that “low emissions” claim didn’t hold true. We want to hear about it. Reach us at marketplace@cbc.ca.

Catch up on past episodes of Marketplace on CBC Gem.



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