Parliamentary week in review: Oct 29-Nov2

I will be trying to do a weekly review of mentions in the Canadian parliament of issues that are (or should be) of interest to our community. If one of the MPs in the related discussions is your MP, please write them a letter about the issue.

The House stands adjourned until Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at 10 a.m.

October 30, 2007

In Question Period, in discussing a recently released competition bureau study on the costs of drugs, Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP) mentioned that Canada should "stop extended patents on brand name drugs".

This is great to see a recognition that extending the term of exclusive rights is not desirable as a general point of public policy.

In introducing a motion, "That, in the opinion of the House, the government should amend Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to extend property rights to Canadians", Mr. Dean Allison (Niagara West—Glanbrook, CPC), stated that, "The conception of property rights has material and intellectual connotations."

This should concern Canadians as equating tangible property rights and intangible exclusive rights (which special interests like to call "Intellectual Property") is very dangerous, especially since exclusive rights continue to be extended in ways that infringe upon tangible property rights. I would not be concerned with this motion if it were clear to only apply to tangible property rights, and in fact would become a tool to protect property rights owners against infringement of their rights in the alleged name of protecting the special interests of intangible exclusive rights holders.

October 31, 2007

In discussing Bill C-7 (Aeronautics Act), Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP) referenced the controversial study that Industry Committee tabled. He discussed what seemed to be the "counterfeiting" part when discussing "the tool and die mould making industry, for example, we have seen parts from that industry replicated, ripped off and fraudulently put in automotive and aerospace products. That is important because what has ended up happening is some of those materials that are used are not validated or safe products."

As we saw from the report and the reply from the government, there is little to no differentiation between counterfeiting issues which have public safety concerns and WIPO treaty ratification issues which are primarily about turning back the clock and protecting outdated business models from new economy competition.

November 2, 2007

Mr. Mervin Tweed (Brandon—Souris, CPC) tabled a petition, "The petitioners ask that the House of Commons amend the law to authorize any pharmaceutical firm to produce generic versions of any drug patented in Canada for export to any eligible developing country listed in the law; to allow any pharmaceutical product to be eligible for compulsory licensing; to simplify the exportation of a drug to any eligible country in any quantity; to eliminate the expiry date on a compulsory licence; and to make it easier for developing countries to benefit from that program."

I would like to find out more about this petition. I assume it relates to the "Jean Chrétien Pledge to Africa Act", Bill C-9 from 37th Parliament, 3rd Session.

A discussion of Bill C-378, An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and the Food and Drug Regulations (drug export restrictions) made many references to patented and "Counterfeit" drugs, but not much in the way of relevant reforms. There was no differentiation between issues with public safety and the controversial inclusion of WIPO treaty ratification in relevant reports. Discussion was between Hon. Carolyn Bennett (St. Paul's, Lib.), Mr. Steven Fletcher (Parliamentary Secretary for Health, CPC), Mr. Marcel Lussier (Brossard—La Prairie, BQ), Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park, NDP), Hon. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.), and Mrs. Nina Grewal (Fleetwood—Port Kells, CPC).