This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pension.

Topics

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, this is part of the big lie, that because we do not like the WTO or the NAFTA we are somehow against trade. Of course we are not against trade. We realize that Canada is a trading nation, and we are in favour of multilateral trade rules that set up regimes that make fair trade possible.

The minister who spoke talked about fair trade. The fact is we do not have fair trade agreements. We have free trade agreements. She said she was critical of certain agreements in the past that did not provide for fair trade. I wish she would have named them because had she done that they probably would have been agreements still in force that her own government signed, like the NAFTA. I notice when she listed particular regimes she did not list the NAFTA.

Someone can be for global trade without having to be for these agreements. It is an intellectually dishonest argument to constantly paint people who do not like the multilateral rules that we have now, which are designed by and for the multinational corporations, as people who do not like or are against trade. We are not against trade. We are for fair trade and not free trade.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, there have been numerous comments certainly from the member from the Conservatives and from across the way with regard to the agreements. I have a couple of comments.

My colleague from Winnipeg—Transcona will remember back to this time. He may not remember the exact words and my guess is he may not remember from which party the comments came. As we are seeing today, it is not a matter of a different position from the Conservatives or the Liberals, it is a matter of the same position given at different points depending on whether they are in opposition.

The present Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development said in 1992 when he was in opposition:

We are asking Canadian consumers to pay roughly $4 billion more in drug costs in the next 20 years in exchange for $150 million in research and development. Can you imagine, what kind of negotiator I would have been in my previous life if I came back to the membership that I used to represent and gave them those numbers.

The present Minister of Industry made this comment about the government when in opposition. I would like the member's thoughts on this because I know he was in the House the time. He said:

I want to ask the member and all those members who at some time, when they screw up their backbones and the courage to do it, have to go back and face their constituents: Are they really serious when they say that they expect the sick, the poor, the elderly, and those who live on fixed incomes have to subsidize R and D in Canada?

Could the member comment on that?

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, such was the Liberal's charade prior to 1993. Shame on the Liberals for all the lies they told the Canadian people about their views on these subjects.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Larry McCormick Liberal Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington, ON

That is too far, Mr. Speaker. The first time it was a lie. Now it just a big lie.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

There is nothing unparliamentary about referring to lies that are told by collectivity. It is only when individual members are accused of doing so.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was remiss. I could not count the time yesterday, so I did not have an opportunity to finish what I had said in the House.

I was going to ask the indulgence of the House to at least consider modernizing our thoughts on what the bill really means. I think we all agree that the bill is about ensuring it would comply with the WTO, but there is an opportunity to make it more than that.

Since I had an opportunity to intervene on this yesterday, a significant landmark ruling occurred in the United States with respect to the automatic injunction provision for Canada and the United States. I point out to members, Conservative, Bloc, Alliance and of course Liberals and New Democrats, that the automatic injunction gives a de facto extension of patent protection beyond 20 years.

I see the hon. member from the Conservative Party shaking his head saying no. Let me summarize what his senators said in the Senate just two months ago as they looked at Bill S-17. It states as follows:

In general, it is the Committee's view that courts are fully capable of determining appropriate procedures, which should not differ substantially from one industry to another. Regulatory interference carries a risk that an unfair advantage may inadvertently be provided to one side or the other.

My concern therefore is well-founded, not only on the wisdom of the Senate of the other place, but also in the landmark ruling of the U.S. federal court yesterday on the question of patent infringement, bearing in mind there are only two countries that have it.

Patent infringement claims were made by AstraZeneca PLC, Europe's largest drug maker, with respect to a product known as Prilosac, the largest selling drug item in the United States of America and in Canada. In Canada the drug is known as Losec. The same issue occurred here where the same individuals tried to stall this very important product beyond the patent protection period. It is very clear, with sales of $340 million a month, why the drug industry wants to maintain its stranglehold even beyond the agreed 20 years.

Members, especially in the Conservative Party, I think fail to understand that what they are giving licence to here in regulation is well beyond anything that was intended by this parliament. They can go back and talk about what happened 10 or 15 years ago, but I think the people are asking us to address the current problem for which there is no obligation for Canada to go beyond the 20th year. The effect of this is not only a means of destroying due process, but it is disrespectful of the courts of this country. It confers a privilege that is available nowhere else in this country.

The reality is we have a situation that we must knock out. It is called the automatic injunction. My belief is, and I think the belief of those who have looked at this, that there was an opportunity to deal with this. Unfortunately, I would ask the hon. members to consider the millions of dollars that it is costing the provincial drug plans of their Conservative, Liberal and New Democratic governments across the country.

More importantly, there are a few issues that have come up as a result of the comments made by the member for New Brunswick Southwest. I will not answer all of them, but it is important for us to also consider the flawed and false methodologies of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board of Canada. To suggest that $900 million in research and development should justify these extended patents is simply wrong. More than half that money is nothing more than advertising. There is a push today to make sure that people get even more advertising from these drug companies to create the kind of chaos we see in the United States.

I was trying to intervene the member for New Brunswick Southwest on the fundamental question he raised with respect to the price difference between Canada and the United States. It is very clear to me that the only difference between Canadian new drugs and drugs being brought in from the United States is the 40% exchange rate. We do not even have a brand name manufacturer giving us the courtesy of establishing a head office here in Canada to give us the kind of benefits we normally see. Instead, we see ourselves in a situation where we are paying the highest prices in the world without the privilege of having anything more than a few warehouses on the island in Montreal and in Mississauga.

I would like to point out to the hon. members, certainly in the Conservative Party, but others who lost the opportunity and did not see it, there is a chance to change this.

Finally, let us deal with the issue of AIDS in South Africa. There is an opportunity here for us to return to compulsory licensing. I ask the indulgence of members of parliament to consider that. There is a pandemic occurring in the world and it is very clear that the brand name manufacturers have egg on their faces because they are more willing to be concerned about what goes in their pockets as opposed to helping the people who are dying and suffering and where an entire civilization is breaking down.

Hon. members wake up on this one. I urge and implore all members to get together and protect the health care system in the country. We have three months to get it together.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I do not question the Liberal member's sincerity on this matter, but I have to say we are having a heck of a lot of difficulty stomaching this kind of policy from the Liberals of the House. A couple of members have suggested that the Liberal position is otherwise. We are dealing with a Liberal government decision to bypass its own promises made to the Canadian people. We are dealing with a government that has had ample opportunity to correct the situation and deal with such matters as the elimination of the automatic injunction that gives patent drug companies another two years of protection on top of the twenty years they now get. We are talking about a Liberal government that promised the Canadian people a national pharmacare plan and has done nothing since.

It is one thing for the member to stand up in the House and be a maverick but it is another to work steadfastly to try to convince his own colleagues to change the situation.

What did he do in 1998 to stop the Minister of Industry from bringing in notice of compliance regulations that actually made the situation with respect to the automatic injunction worse? What has the member done to convince his colleagues to implement their campaign promise of 1997 of a national drug plan, which would help today?

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member turned the clock back four years, she would remember that it was only I who put forward a motion before the scrutiny of regulations committee to basically strip the Patent Act, or Bill C-91 as it was then known, of all of its offensive notice of compliance regulations.

This was not lost on some members on this side of the House. It was certainly not lost on the then leader of the opposition, the hon. Lucien Bouchard, who lambasted and insulted our government by saying that it was a humiliation to Quebec that the cost of drugs would be so high but that instead it would be able to get a few investments from various companies.

When it comes to the hon. member's concern about my acting like a maverick, I can tell her that rather than simply talking about things, I have acted. These are perhaps some of the reasons why I quite willingly talk about issues when I see that consumers are being badly hurt.

Canada is not required to do anything more than what its international obligations are under the WTO. The battle between generic manufacturers and brand name manufacturers has divided members of parliament depending on whether they have brand name or generic companies in their riding. However, that battle is over. Incidentally, I have two brand name manufacturers in my riding so I am not speaking from the perspective of those who might think that it is because I favour generic manufacturers. People within my own party thought the reason I was concerned about this issue was that I had a generic manufacturer in my riding. I can assure the hon. member that is not the case.

I put a motion before the House of Commons with regard to the issue of automatic injunctions and I thank my colleague from Churchill for supporting me. Unfortunately, I could not convince members of other parties to join with me but I am still fighting as hard as I can. I have been alone before but I know I have a lot of company with thousands of Canadians who today cannot afford the decent medical care they deserve because the cost of drugs is so high.

With regard to the question of pharmacare, I believe if we cannot resolve this issue and we are not prepared to stand up to the multinational drug manufacturers in Canada, the Government of Canada will need to come down and put its money where its mouth is.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know the member wanted to express a greater view on what the net effect of some of the regulations might be in other areas of the world. I took particular interest in his discussion of the sub-Saharan AIDS epidemic and the impact that some of the companies here might be able to have on that were they given the tools to do it. I wonder if the member could comment on that.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, there have been ways in which we can neuter the offensive section on automatic injunctions. We can repeal section 55.2(4) of the Patent Act to achieve that.

With regard to the member's question dealing with the AIDS epidemic in Africa, Canadian drug manufacturers, particularly generic drug manufacturers, could provide a solution in terms of the cocktail of drugs that might be made available. However there are very few of these manufacturers because they are dying, seemingly by the day. Some are doing very well but most are either being purchased or are not increasing their viability. I have met with Médecins Sans Frontières and Oxfam on this issue. They believe they can do it in concert with the minister responsible for CIDA as well as with the co-operation of the government. I believe we are heading in that direction.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

Patent ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Accordingly the vote is deferred until later this day after the end of government orders.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-25, an act to amend the Farm Credit Corporation Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Farm Credit Corporation ActGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2001 / 12:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Before we begin debate there is a ruling that I must render. There are three motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-25, an act to amend the Farm Credit Corporation Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

Motions Nos. 1 to 3 will be grouped for debate and voted on separately.

Before putting the motions to the House I wonder if I might call upon the member for Crowfoot to seek consent to move the motions.

Farm Credit Corporation ActGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been consultations among all parties present and I think that you would find unanimous consent of the House to have the report stage motions in the name of the member for Cypress Hills-Grasslands transferred to the name of the hon. member for Crowfoot.