HIV/AIDS Drugs for Developing Countries

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. I might add that we are sending his answer to Bono, so I hope he thinks about his reply.

The Bill that is supposed to provide affordable drugs to Africa is fatally flawed. It contains the first right of refusal for big drug companies, something that the NGOs and the experts know fatally flaws and undermines the Bill. The Prime Minister has been in office for three months, yet this Bill is identical to the bad one that was introduced by Jean Chr├ętien.

If helping Africa is a priority, why has the Prime Minister done nothing to fix this Bill and ensure that the people who are suffering get the drugs that they need?

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this legislation, which is very important for getting pharmaceuticals to the least developed countries, is currently under consideration by the parliamentary committee.

Members from all parties have had an opportunity to listen to various stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry as well as our NGOs. We count on everyone’s cooperation in order to improve this Bill.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the question was, what has the government done to fix this Bill? The government seems to be happy with a flawed Bill.

However, it goes beyond that. As Bono also pointed out, Canada’s commitment to the global fund is one-third below our obligation. The global fund was completely missed in the throne speech. It was not mentioned in the budget.

Again, why was the global fund ignored? Are these commitments simply Liberal window dressing that mean nothing for the people that they are intended to help? Where is the Liberal commitment? Why does it not come through?

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government has made a very serious commitment to the poorest countries of the world and we will honour that commitment.