November 13th, 2020
NDP demands answers for Canadians on COVID-19 vaccine deals
OTTAWA– Today, New Democratic MPs released a vaccine contract disclosed by Brazil with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca that raises troubling questions about the Liberal government's approach to vaccine negotiations in Canada.
"The Trudeau government fought tooth and nail to avoid disclosing any vaccine contracts to Parliament, saying it threatened commercial interests," said Matthew Green, NDP critic for National Revenue, Public Services and Procurement. "Yet, the Brazilian government had no problem disclosing virtually the entire vaccine contract they signed with AstraZeneca."
“Radio-Canada has reported that Canada may received a Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine months after the US and the UK. People want to know what’s going on with the vaccine. Why isn’t the government sharing this important information with Canadians?" asked Green.
Don Davies, NDP critic for Health, pointed out that Brazil successfully negotiated the right to domestically produce any vaccine that AstraZenica may develop - something that the federal government failed to do in its negotiation with the same company.
"Having the right to produce a vaccine is a great way for a country to ensure all of its citizens get timely access to a vaccine," said Davies. "We see that Brazil now joins Australia, Japan, India and China as countries who have secured that right from AstraZeneca."
"Why didn't the federal government get the same option for Canadians?" asked Davies.
Both NDP critics said they would continue to press for transparency for Canadians and timely access to the best COVID-19 vaccines possible.