World News

Liberals and NDP MPs Vote Against Releasing Medicago COVID Vaccine Contracts to Public

Liberal and NDP MPs voted against a Conservative motion calling for the release of unredacted copies of the Medicago COVID-19 vaccine contracts to the public.

Tory MPs on the Standing Committee on Health (HESA) called an emergency meeting Jan. 19 to vote on a motion ordering the production of unredacted copies of the vaccine contracts between the federal government and the now-defunct COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Medicago.

“Here we are now having the taxpayers of Canada on the hook for over $300 million,” said Conservative MP Stephen Ellis, who introduced the motion to the committee. “What we’re asking for here, on behalf of the taxpayers of Canada, is for clarity.”

The motion also called for a study of the issue, which would include at least six meetings to examine the contracts with several federal ministers, officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the president of Medicago invited to testify.

However, an amendment to the motion was added that would only allow members of the committee to view the vaccine contracts. The committee voted 6–5 in favour of the amendment being added to the motion, with the Liberals and NDP supporting it and the Tories and Bloc Quebecois voting against it.

The committee has been studying the Liberal government’s payment of $150 million in subsidies to Medicago Inc. in 2020 to build a COVID-19 plant in Québec City. It also shelled out $173 million for an advanced purchase agreement to deliver 76 million vaccines before a product had been developed.

Related Stories

The agreement was voided in February 2022 after Medicago announced it was shutting down the factory without delivering any vaccines. The ownership of taxpayer-funded research reverted to Medicago’s Japanese parent company, Mitsubishi Chemical Group.

Medicago’s COVID-19 vaccine was not accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO) because of its ties to tobacco companies. Canada is a signatory to the 2005 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which calls on members to protect public health policies “from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.”

Economic Development Minister François-Philippe announced in December 2023 that Mitsubishi agreed to return $40 million to the Canadian government. The company also agreed to transfer key Medicago research assets, intellectual property, and equipment from Medicago to Aramis Biotechnologies, a new Quebec-based company led by former Medicago employees.

Liberal MP Calls Meeting ‘Abuse of Process’

Conservative MP Rick Perkins told MPs on HESA that Canadians deserved to know why the government spent hundreds of millions of dollars on vaccines that were never delivered. He said if members on the committee voted against the motion to review the unredacted contracts, they would be “voting to cover up the Liberal incompetence on [wasting] $300 million of taxpayer money when there is no contractual requirement to do so.”

NDP MP Don Davies said while his party believed there needed to be transparency around how the federal government handled COVID-19, he also understood there are “certain commercial sensitivities” around companies’ internal pricing structures.

Mr. Davies also pointed out that HESA was set to study other issues such as women’s health and Canada’s opioid overdose crisis, and questioned whether it would be more appropriate for the Standing Committee on Public Accounts or the Industry, Innovation, and Science Committee to study the Medicago contract.

“Nothing I’ve heard today would warrant devoting six meetings—a month in parliamentary calendar terms—to this when we don’t even really know if the unredacted versions are going to really indicate anything particularly profound,” Mr. Davies said. “What I’d like to do is move in a measured fashion, read the contract, see the unredacted version, and then we can decide as a committee if we want to or individually whether we think there’s anything that is worth putting back before the committee to study.”

Liberal MP Marcus Powlowski said the Tory motion was an “abuse of process” because the issue is more than two years old and is already being reviewed by a different committee. He said HESA had other issues to debate that were impacting more Canadians.

“How about the things that we studied like recommendations on breast cancer screening? Thousands of women die every year in Canada because of breast cancer. You would think that maybe that would be something we would urgently talk about,” Mr. Powlowski said. “You guys should be embarrassed for making this motion.”

Bloc Quebecois MP Julie Vignola said when it came to the Medicago contracts, it was important for people in her riding to know “what we did with their money, their taxes.”

Source link


I'm TruthUSA, the author behind TruthUSA News Hub located at With our One Story at a Time," my aim is to provide you with unbiased and comprehensive news coverage. I dive deep into the latest happenings in the US and global events, and bring you objective stories sourced from reputable sources. My goal is to keep you informed and enlightened, ensuring you have access to the truth. Stay tuned to TruthUSA News Hub to discover the reality behind the headlines and gain a well-rounded perspective on the world.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.