Saturday, 2 April 2011

Harper uses Senate to kill generic-drug bill

Gerald Caplan: How can Conservative Senators look themselves in the mirror?
Stephen Harper ended Parliament in typical style. He had the trained seals he’s appointed to the unelected Senate (a body he doesn’t believe in) sabotage the clear will of the democratically elected House of Commons with consequences that will cost the lives of “thousands, maybe millions, of poor people” in Africa and elsewhere.

The words are those of an outraged James Orbinski, a renowned doctor and Canadian expert in international health. The issue is Bill C-393, passed by a large majority in the House to provide inexpensive Canadian-made generic drugs for people in poor countries dying of easily treatable diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

The role of the Conservative majority in the Senate was to deliberately stall passage of the bill ensuring it died once the election was called. The instructions came from the Supreme Puppetmaster, Stephen Harper, speaking through one of his most reliable dummies, Industry Minister Tony Clement. The message from Mr. Clement cemented the reputation he warmly earned during the long-form census fiasco. As Dr. Orbinski noted, Mr. Clement’s case to the Senate’s Conservative majority for not supporting C-393 was based on “distortions, deceptions, lies and scare-mongering.” Par for the course, in other words.

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