Hélène Laverdière

Member of Parliament

Hélène Laverdière challenges Conservative lies on Bill C-398

(English video)

Hansard, Tuesday April 16th, 2013



Ms. Hélène Laverdière (Laurier-Sainte-Marie, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, I am here today to speak about Bill C-398, which would have reformed Canada's
access to medicines regime in order to provide lower-cost medicines to thousands
of people around the world with life-threatening illnesses and diseases such as
HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.

I spent 18 months consulting all the concerned parties. I spoke with
brand name drug manufacturers who were against the previous bill, but were in
favour of this new bill being referred to committee. I met with a generic drug
maker who has already used Canada's access to medicines regime. He explained to
me why the current regime was not working. I also met with representatives of a
large network of civil society organizations that supported the bill.

My colleague opposite did not make as much of an effort.


Open Letter from Hélène Laverdière on the Defeat of Bill C-398

Open Letter from Hélène Laverdière on the Defeat of Bill C-398

November 30, 2012

Dear friends,

This past Wednesday night, Bill C-398, the Medicines for All bill, was voted down in the House of Commons by seven votes, 148 – 141. It was a very disappointing result after the many years of effort we have all undertaken to reform Canada's Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR). As you know, one child dies every three seconds in the world for want of quality medicines.

Friends, I want to give you insight into what happened during our campaign, especially in the last few weeks, and what led to Wednesday's result.

As you know, Bill C-398's previous version was sponsored by Paul Dewar and passed in the House of Commons with a healthy majority in March 2011 before dying on the Order Paper in the Senate when the election was called.

After the election, Jack Layton asked me to take over the fight for Medicines for All. I did so with great excitement and hope. We knew that with a Conservative majority, getting this bill through Parliament would be more difficult than the last time, but we also believed that this life-saving legislation was too important not to fight for.




November 28, 2012


Today, the Conservative Party refused to listen to a majority of Canadians who support
Bill C-398 which seeks to save lives by facilitating the export of medications
to the developing world.

We thank the organizations that have driven the campaign for Bill C-398 over the last year,
especially the Grandmothers Advocacy Network and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal

Bill C-398 is supported by over 80 international NGOs and over 250 civil society
organizations in Canada, by faith leaders, and by 80% of Canadians.

We thank colleagues on both sides of the House who voted with New Democrats to fix
Canada's Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR). Tonight, the Conservatives missed
an opportunity to honour Canada's 2004 promise to developing countries and to
listen to the will of Canadians.

The NDP is always ready to work in good faith. Yet in the last few weeks we witnessed a
backroom campaign of misinformation coming from the Conservative leadership –
misinformation that ultimately led to tonight's result.

By voting against this bill, the Conservatives refused to put partisanship aside for the
sake of saving lives. New Democrats will continue to fight until Canada's Access
to Medicines Regime is reformed and Canada will finally be able to fulfill its
promises to the developing world.

– 30 –

Drug makers don't oppose generic drug legislation - Globe and Mail

Gloria Galloway published a great article in the Globe and Mail this week on Bill C-398, highlighting a letter sent by Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies to NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.

Drug Makers Don't Oppose Generic Drug Legislation

By Gloria Galloway

Globe and Mail

November 26, 2012

Canada's brand-name drug companies say they do not object to an NDP private-member's bill aimed at unblocking efforts to make cheap generic versions of lifesaving drugs available to the world's poor.

In a letter sent last week to all parties in the House of Commons, Russell Williams, the president of Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (R&D), said his organization "will not oppose the amendments proposed in Bill C-398," provided that any reforms to Canada's Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) comply with World Trade Organization rules.

That is good news to Hélène Laverdière, the New Democratic sponsor of the bill, who says international legal experts agree that there is nothing in her proposed legislation that would contravene WTO agreements.

For the rest of the article, please click here.

Watch Hélène Laverdière's Final Speech on Bill C-398!

November 21, 2012 - Hélène Laverdière closed the debate at Second Reading on Bill C-398. The vote at Second Reading is scheduled for November 28, 2012.

Watch here:


Ms. Hélène Laverdière (Laurier-Sainte-Marie, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, in the last few months I have heard from many stakeholders about Bill C-398. I have met with brand name and generic pharmaceutical companies. I have met with NGOs. I have met with so many Canadians who want to see this bill passed. In the last week, alone, I have received over 2,800 emails of support in my office. The grandmothers have collected over 23,000 signatures in support of this bill through their cross-Canada petitions.

Bill C-398 has the support of more than 80 international NGOs, including Médecins sans Frontières, Apostolic Faith Mission in Lesotho, the Church of Scotland, and the U.K.'s Stop AIDS Campaign. Within Canada, there are over 250 NGOs and community groups in support of this, including World Vision, Results Canada, AQOCI, Care Canada, UNICEF, Oxfam, and organizations, such as the City of Prince Albert and the HIV Network of Edmonton. We have the support of faith leaders across the country.


Sign our petition!

Please sign our petition in support of Bill C-398!

And don't forget to sign the Medicines for All petition too!

You are here: Bill C-398