Federal government under fire for stopping short of U.S. commitment on vaccine waiver

The US yesterday agreed to a WTO process to ease patent protection and help developing countries purchase vaccines. In Canada, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and anti-poverty activists ask why Prime Minister Trudeau won't do the same.

WASHINGTON — Ottawa has yet to follow the United States on easing patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines — and critics and allies alike are noticing.

The One Campaign, a progressive anti-poverty group that has praised Justin Trudeau in the past, calls Canada "oddly absent" from the discussion.

The U.S. agreed Wednesday to so-called text-based negotiations at the World Trade Organization on a possible waiver to the rules.

The idea is to make vaccine formulas and expertise more widely available so more countries could develop their own supply.

Canada expressed support for the U.S. decision, but has so far refused to say whether it would also support the waiver and take part in the talks.

New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh is accusing the prime minister of prioritizing drug-company profits over global public health.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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