Will Canada stay away from a for-profit COVID-19 vaccine?

Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
2020-05-12 13:30

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, colleagues. It’s lovely to see all of you.

My first question is directed to the Prime Minister. It’s a higher-level abstraction.

As we all know, we’re being told we need a vaccine, and the quest for a vaccine is all-consuming globally. However, people who think about this issue and the question of the power structure and profit motive, particularly Dr. Matthew Herder of the Health Law Institute at Dalhousie University, are questioning this model.

We know that Jonas Salk never sought a patent on his polio vaccine. Can we ensure that public dollars for finding a vaccine will result in a product that is shared globally, openly, and is not for profit?

Hon. Navdeep Bains (Mississauga—Malton)
2020-05-12 13:31

Mr. Chair, I want to thank the member for her question.

Our approach has been very clear when it comes to science. We have an open science model, and we’re working with different partners and different jurisdictions to help develop vaccines and look at countermeasures and other therapeutics. Our goal is to make sure that we do so in a collaborative fashion, because this is a global pandemic, but make no mistake: If it’s Canadian ingenuity and Canadian IP that’s driving it, we want to support them as well.