Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues from the Bloc for that amendment. We see it as a friendly and constructive amendment.
Bill C-393 has been debated at great length in this House. We have heard the reasons for it. I would remind members of the House that this is an urgent call to help and that we are talking about 2.3 million children under the age of 15 who are infected right now with HIV. We can help those who are in need of help right now.
One in two children with HIV in the developing world dies before reaching his or her second birthday. Let us think about that. Many of us in this House have children. Fifty per cent of those who contract the virus die, not because they cannot be helped, but because we are not able to help them right now.
That is what the bill is about. It is about life and death, and this House can decide to help save lives. It is that simple.
When we look at the numbers, there is despair, but there is hope. The despair is what the virus does. The hope is what we can do in the House today. What I just saw from my colleagues in the Bloc, what I have heard from my colleagues in the Conservative Party who support the bill and what I heard from my colleagues in the Liberal Party show that the will is there. It is goodwill. It is about people living up to their principles. It is about people putting aside their partisan differences. It is about people listening to the people who need our help. We have heard those voices loud and clear, some of us who have been to Africa.
When I went to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I saw a warehouse for medicines that could help save children and that warehouse was half empty. They want to see a supply of medicines and by passing this legislation, as amended, we can fill that warehouse to ensure those medicines get to the people who need it.
On another visit after I went to see that warehouse in the Congo a couple of years ago, was to some of the clinics where huge progress has been made to identify the HIV-AIDS virus.
However, if they do not have the medicines to help those who have been identified, then they will perish.
We are here today to look at the bill to ensure it can be amended and improve what the House passed previously.
I want to address, very directly, the amendments. If we are not able to get the one licence solution back in, as my colleagues know, then this bill is not worthy of going ahead. We cannot pretend. If the one licence solution is not put back in, the bill will not be worth the paper it is written on, and my colleagues know that.
To those who have concerns about compliance with WTO regulations, they will know it has been analyzed by experts and it is compliant. So, that argument does not hold weight. They know there are provisions and the amendments in the bill that would ensure standards are kept. We have ensured in the bill and the amendments that have been made that there are no concerns around leakage, in other words, that drugs would go to other countries. It is very precise. These drugs would go to the countries that have been put in the legislation.
We have an opportunity to put forward an innovative solution to help the millions of children who need it. We have an opportunity to improve something that this country has innovated. We have an opportunity, which excites me, to work together as parliamentarians to do something to help save lives.
I salute the people who have worked on this. I have been blessed with the opportunity to take the bill at this point. Many people have referenced my colleague from Winnipeg who started this, but it is because of every member in this House that I stand here today able to debate this bill.
Another thing happened in this place that was unusual and was welcomed. I put aside the bill I had and because of unanimity in the House, I was allowed to pick this bill up at the stage it was at. That means each party had to oblige.
I thank every member in the House for that. If members of the NDP did not get that support, we would have been unable to debate the bill. It does not matter whether members are in favour of the bill or not. I, the NDP members and the people who have worked on the bill thank each and every member of Parliament for that.
It is important to note that what we are talking about is, yes, saving lives. However, it also addresses what is happening in the world in terms of the disease itself. As we know, it is an HIV virus, which is mutating and changing, and we need medical regimes and medicines to change along with the virus. That is happening.
However, another thing is happening. As we know, countries like India have been trying since 2000 to become compliant with the WTO. They are unable to provide the same generic regimes they had in the past, so it requires innovation. We just do not have the drugs to support the people who need them now. The bill would help deal with that challenge.
For those who wonder what the bill can do, it can show the way forward to deal with not only the changes required in the regime of medicines needed, because of the change in the virus, but it will ensure that the progress made, with over five million lives saved in the last number of years, will continue. If we do not, make absolutely no mistake about it, we will potentially be going backward. Why? Because the drugs, which have worked so successfully, have to respond to the way in which the HIV virus and others are changing and mutating.
We cannot stand still. We have to continue to move ahead, and the bill is all about that. There are no concerns about WTO compliance. There are no concerns about quality controls. There are no concerns about leakage to other jurisdictions in terms of the drugs being sent somewhere else. They are in the bill and we would have oversight.
The only challenge is for the House to pass the bill, as amended. If we can do that, if we can put aside our differences, as we have before, and let our partisan shields down and ask what is the best for the people on the receiving end of these drugs, then we can show what Parliament is about. It is about working together from time to time. We have done that on a couple of occasions.
One of the proudest moments for all of us was witnessing, for instance, the apology to first nations. I will never forget that day and I hope we can do that again with this bill.
People are watching. I want to ask all of us to acknowledge the work that has been done by activists and civil society members. The grandmothers have been tireless and vigilant and have understood the importance of Canada working in solidarity with people in other countries. It is the finest example of what Canada and other activists, particularly from the coalition for HIV-AIDS, can do.
At the end of the day, it is very simple. I ask my colleagues to support the bill, as amended, so we can do what we can to help the people who need it. That is what I hope we will do. I hope next week all my colleagues will see fit to pass the bill. I look forward to them supporting it.