NDP Caucus demands Harper and Clement act on AIDS

Surely this will be the week for a government announcement on HIV/AIDS.

Perhaps the Conservatives will wait until World AIDS Day which, this year, falls on Friday. Fridays on Parliament Hill are a bit like Fridays in a university dorm. Anyone who hasn’t gone home for the weekend already is either itching to get going or despondent that they will be left alone for a couple of days.

Not the best day for a positive government announcement – unless it is one the Conservatives would rather not make proudly with those ever-present backdrops plastered with the government phrase of the day in both official languages. HIV/AIDS, even on December 1, is not a Conservative Party strong suit. At least it hasn’t been.

Urging the Harper government on, in advance of Friday, are a number of members of the NDP caucus.

The party’s Health Critic, Penny Priddy, put it this way today:

“This Conservative government has dragged its feet too long on AIDS funding. World AIDS Day on December 1 is a unique opportunity for action and it is time that they start to deliver.”

The Surrey North MP urged Health Minister Tony Clement to keep the promise he made at the International AIDS Conference, last August in Toronto, and make a funding announcement for the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Parkdale-High Park MP Peggy Nash will introduce a motion tomorrow urging the government to announce new money and to make changes to the House of Commons bill that, if the red tape would get untangled, would allow cheaper generic drugs to be produced for use in Canada and in developing and least-developed countries. Since the bill’s passage in May, 2004 not a single pill has been exported as intended. As a result HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria continue their rampage.“The world looks to Canada to provide leadership — and this Conservative government is failing the world,” said NDP International Development Critic Alexa McDonough. “It is outrageous that the federal government remains silent in the face of such a preventable crisis, when it has the capacity to do what’s so desperately needed of Canada.”

And, rounding out the full-frontal slam of the Conservatives, NDP Industry Critic Brian Masse said, “Today Conservatives would rather follow the three year delay of the Liberals in getting AIDS medication to sick people rather than fix a flawed bill.”

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