There are certain industries Canada’s gov’t just shouldn’t sell off
With the Biden administration having now reached its goal of vaccinating 100 million of 328 million individuals as of March 17th, 2021, of its population. Canada however is still lagging with 4.1 million of its 37.59 individuals vaccinated. Despite population differences, it’s enough to be a stark difference. This has only been complicated by delays in scheduled deliveries from Europe, small cases of medical complications from those vaccinated, and several COVID-19 new variants. This issue concerning Canada however, goes back much earlier than January, since the 1980s.
Connaught Labs was a government-owned laboratory that manufactured vaccines for Canada, up until the 1980s when it was partially privatized then sold-off to a company that would become Sanofi S.A., a French multinational pharmaceutical company. This effectively ended any public oversight of the laboratory, giving Sanofi the final say on what it could do, especially what vaccines are made. This continued with a series of sales leading Montreal-based IAF BioChem being under the ownership of GlaxoSmithKline in 2000. (1)
Dr. David Naylor, a Dean of Medicine at the University of Toronto, recommended in his report Learning from SARS that the federal government develop a nation-wide vaccine strategy that priorities the security of our vaccine supply. This issue was also highlighted with delays in vaccine deliveries from a GSK plant in Ste-Foy during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. While the Government of Canada has cut deals and increased funding to boost our domestic capability to manufacture vaccines as early as May 2020, those deals have either fallen through or are behind schedule. (1)
Going forward, it would be dangerously detrimental to the Canadian general public to privatize and/or sell industries and services where the general welfare and public interest play a majority role in decision making. This also extends to services like the Bank of Canada, Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, Business Development Bank of Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Canada Post Corporation, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Services that uphold the interests of the general public, be it direct or indirect, especially in the realms of commerce, health, the environment, and safety, and security broadly speaking, are the most important. It is these services that hold private entities and institutions accountable to the public and make sure that they fulfill their responsibilities and act ethically in the public and private sphere.
As this pandemic continues, there is a discussion about returning our supply chains from overseas and boost our domestic manufacturing capabilities. I’m personally not for the use of tariffs, subsidization, and state-owned enterprises to build economic power. I believe such to be extremely detrimental to economic competitiveness globally. But regulations are extremely important to making sure for-profit entities stay accountable to the public, act ethically in all areas of the commercial and public sphere to ensure our public interests and well-being is upheld.
Going forward this hopefully will serve as a reminder to the federal government of Canada whom they are accountable to in both the long and short-term, and the importance the services they deliver play in such.
- Lexchin, Doel. (February 8, 2021). The roots of Canada’s COVID-19vaccine shortage go back decades. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/the-roots-of-canadas-covid-19-vaccine-shortage-go-back-decades-154792