Last Wednesday, Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod voted against Bill C-398, legislation that sought to amend the Patent Act in order to provide drugs for international humanitarian purposes.
In doing so, she helped to stop the legislation from moving forward and eventually enacted.
Taking her lead not from AIDS activists, scientists and humanitarians but directly from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, McLeod has helped prevent Canada’s generic drug manufacturers from providing inexpensive lifesaving medicines to Africans suffering from AIDS and other curable diseases who can’t afford brand-name medicines.
International health experts say that our country’s failure to pass this bill has condemned thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, to die needlessly.
Why would a government refuse to act on an easy and affordable solution to human misery?
Stephen Lewis, Canada’s well-known humanitarian and AIDS advocate, summed things up this way.
“So in the great choice in life, the Harper government has chosen patent protection over the lives of children. And that’s about as perfidious as you can get as a government.”
Canadians from all walks of life supported this bill. McLeod and Prime Minister Harper sided with Big Pharma.