Friday, September 25, 2009

It’s mine! All mine!

In yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen, Amir Attaran, Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health and Global Development Policy called out the Harper Government on it’s mean and churlish attitude towards helping poorer nations fight the coming swine flu pandemic.

Here are a few excerpts from that piece. You can find the complete article here.

Last week, as Stephen Harper was tooling around Washington and talking up Canada's virtues, across town a more substantially moral leader, Barack Obama, announced a global plan to donate life-saving influenza vaccines to poor countries in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.

Those donations are likely to be, for many countries, the only vaccine that they get. Heeding the World Health Organization's call, Australia, Britain, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland also went along with the donation plan.

Canada, however, declined.

With 50.4 million doses of vaccine in Canada's entitlement, and 32 million Canadians, perhaps only half of whom want to be vaccinated, PHAC officials are certainly correct that we have "more than enough for any Canadian that wants to receive it."

The Harper government must do better than continue its mean streak. In this, and much else to do with international aid, poorer foreigners notice Canada's new beggar-thy-neighbour attitude, and wonder how a country once known for its generosity has fallen so far. The usual preening about Canadian internationalism is nonsense, where WHO has justly called on Canada to share a life-saving resource, and we refuse.

Well said sir, well said.

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