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NEWS: Conservatives vote down C-398 on life-saving drugs for developing countries

Global News reports, “The New Democrats’ efforts to help Canada send desperately needed medication overseas to people suffering with HIV/AIDS was defeated in the House of Commons Wednesday – an action some are calling a ‘travesty’ and a ‘betrayal’. …Only seven Conservative MPs supported the private member’s bill (C-398), which went down in a close vote of 141 for and 148 against. …New Democrat MP Helene Laverdiere, who has a long history in foreign services, sponsored the bill she said would unquestionably save lives. …(But) Industry Minister Christian Paradis had argued the proposed legislation wouldn’t accomplish what it set out to, and could even breach Canada’s World Trade Organization commitments.”

Council of Canadians trade campaigner Stuart Trew wrote this blog about C-398 which also helped to promote a petition in support of the legislation, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17646. And we highlighted the issue again in this blog, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17939.

Global News adds, “This was the second time the NDP tried to amend the regime. Laverdiere’s bill built on another (C-393) from the last Parliament which passed the House of Commons in March 2011 with support from the entire NDP caucus, a majority of the Bloc Quebecois, and some Liberals and Conservatives. To the dismay of its proponents, however, the bill died in the Senate a few weeks later when the government was defeated and the country was thrust into an election.”

The Council of Canadians also supported this earlier legislation with an action alert that called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Senator Marjory LeBreton (the Leader of the Government in the Senate) to ensure the passage of the legislation, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6025.

To read Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow’s plea from May 2003 for the fair and equitable access to critically needed medications around the world, please go to http://canadians.org/publications/CP/2003/summer/patenting.html.