Canada is home to some of the world’s best and brightest and this should be their time to shine.
A Made-In-Canada solution has the potential to open businesses, open our borders, our schools, and not only get our economy back on track, but to make it boom. We need to change the narrative and that conversation starts right here, right now.
As a member of the Standing Committee on Health, my focus has been to approve, secure and distribute rapid and home-based testing. This technology is being used in jurisdictions around the world and is used to reduce the need for lockdowns and keep long term care and health care facilities safe.
Unfortunately, Health Canada has been slow to approve rapid and home-based tests even those developed by Alberta companies like ClearMe technology. I met with representatives from the Calgary company last summer and their rapid test technology is 98% accurate and approved for use in the United States and United Kingdom, but it is still awaiting approval in Canada.
There have been similar delays on Canadian vaccines and antivirals. Although vaccines will not, and should not, be mandatory it is important to have access to vaccines for those who want them.
Providence Therapeutics, another Calgary company who is developing a vaccine, reached out to the Government on many occasions, but received radio silence.
Providence CEO Brad Sorenson, who appeared at committee in the House of Commons said, “We have a Canadian solution, we’ve sourced it… we’ve followed the rules, we’ve done what we’re supposed to do and we’re not getting engagement from the government.
“We would welcome the federal support, but … we now have the ability to go to the capital markets and to raise sufficient capital funds to carry forward our plans, regardless of whether or not we have support.”
The story is similar with Solstar Pharma, another Canadian company and the developer of an antiviral, which moved its development south and is being funded through the United States government.
Whether it is personal protective equipment, rapid tests or vaccines, we have heard too many of these stories from talented Canadian innovators who simply ran into a brick wall when trying to get the attention of the Canadian government.
It is unacceptable for the Liberals to partner with the Chinese Communist Party (CanSino) to develop and manufacture vaccines instead of investing in a made in Canada solution.
As a result of the failed CanSino agreement we are relying on an undependable global supply and dipped into a vaccine cache meant for poorer countries, which is an embarrassing stain on our reputation globally.
We should be proud of our Canadian companies, our Canadian innovators and strive for Canada to be a trailblazer for global solutions.
It is not too late for the Liberal government to act. I raised this issue in the emergency debate on vaccines in the House of Commons and I am continuing to press the Ministers to reach out these ground-breaking Canadian companies and provide them with the resources needed to accelerate the development and manufacturing of these vaccines and antivirals.
If we have learned anything during COVID it is Canada cannot rely on the global supply chain. Whether its processing cattle or manufacturing vaccines there must be additional capacity within Canada.
The Liberal government must partner with these Canadian companies to secure a Canadian solution because our economic future, and the lives of many Canadians, depends on it.
The world is watching, now is the time to be Canada proud.