Former Manitoba NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis has had a rough time since she vacated her Winnipeg North seat last spring.
She lost the mayor’s race to incumbent Sam Katz and it wasn’t even close.
Then her party lost her seat to Liberal Kevin Lamoureux.
But today there might be at least one reason for Wasylycia-Leis and her party not to entirely regret her departure. A bill she sponsored to make it easier to get generic versions of life-saving drugs to African countries was saved, despite her not being around to push it through.
The legislation intends to simplify the licensing-application process for drug companies seeking to produce patent-protected drugs for things such as HIV and malaria in order to send them to African countries where they are desperately needed.
Canada passed legislation more than six years ago now to allow generics to be sent to a specific list of poor countries. But very few shipments have actually been sent because the application process requires generic drug makers to apply for a licence to produce a patented formula every time they want to make it to ship to developing nations.
Bill C-393 would require a licence application only once per drug.
C-393 passed second reading in December 2009 with the support of the Bloc, most Liberals and a handful of Conservatives including Manitoban James Bezan.
It was discussed at the Industry Committee and amended in October.
But because Wasylycia-Leis is no longer around as the sponsor, the bill technically cannot proceed back into the House of Commons. Because she retired, all the private members’ bills she sponsored will die.
But the NDP today said they brokered a deal with the other three parties and got unanimous consent to put a new sponsor on C-393. Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar is now going to take over what Wasylycia-Leis started.
Dewar has an early number in the private members’ business queue so C-393 may come up for its next vote as early as March.