Friday, September 27, 2013

MP Maurice Vellacott speaks out

MP Maurice Vellacott sent this letter to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (the old CIDA) regarding the drug Jadelle which we Canadians are paying for. A drug that isn't good enough for Canadians, but apparently just fine for Tanzania.
I'm looking forward to hearing Mr. Rochon's response.
September 26, 2013

Paul Rochon
Deputy Minister of International Development
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
200 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0G4

Fax: 819-953-3352

Dear Mr. Rochon,

The accompanying report provides evidence that Canadian foreign affairs bureaucrats have approved the use of Canadian taxpayer dollars to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) for a project that administered the sterilization drug Jadelle (Norplant-2) to Tanzanian women. Jadelle (Norplant-2) was developed by the Population Council.

Norplant-2 is not available in Canada. It is also not marketed in the United States, where Pfizer spent millions of dollars to settle a lawsuit with thousands of women over alleged harm caused by the contraceptive implant.

Canadian foreign affairs officials have funded this drug to be distributed to Third World women, when it is viewed as harmful to North American women, and therefore not marketed in Canada or the US.

Besides the drug’s threat to women’s health, it is also highly unlikely that women in Tanzania were given adequate information about the drug to provide truly informed consent for the implant.

If the drug companies can't make Jadelle available in Canada and America, due to negative health repercussions for women here, why the double standard? Why is it good enough for women in Third World countries, especially when this is contrary to the goals and aims of our government’s maternal health commitment?

Our government made a strong commitment in 2010 to prioritize foreign aid funding to projects that contribute to maternal, newborn and child health. The information about sterilizing Tanzanian women with this troubling drug is found in an annual progress report on a 2013 project, and was uncovered by Canadian researcher Pat Maloney.

This report would indicate, then, that these foreign affairs bureaucrats are pursuing an agenda at odds with the Canadian public and with our government’s stated priorities. They are failing in the due diligence we expect from them when allocating Canadian funds to foreign aid projects.

There needs to be greater oversight of these foreign affairs employees, and their allocation of taxpayer dollars, to ensure that all their activities are consistent with our government’s priorities before we allocate further funding to them.

I am sending a copy of this letter to the Foreign Affairs Minister, and although it did not happen under his watch, I know he'll be rightly upset at this blatant undermining and sabotage of our Government's good international initiatives to improve maternal and child health in developing countries.
Yours sincerely,
Maurice Vellacott, MP

Cc. Hon. John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs

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