There is a medication shortage in Canada, specifically for drugs for children. Canada’s copyright laws do not make licensing economically desirable. Isn’t that ridiculous? Pharmaceutical companies won’t develop or produce here in Canada because it is too expensive.

Instead of the government mandating companies to remain domestically and penalizing them for exiting, Canada let it happen. Spineless Canada said, “Duh, ok, we’ll rely on other countries to produce the drugs for us.” And, when a pandemic happened, and vaccinations were developed, Canada was at the bottom of the delivery list. Sure, Canada doesn’t have the population as most countries, and we might have more than 80% vaccinated, but that doesn’t solve the problem when we have to rely on other countries to produce, package, and deliver consumables we can make ourselves. We have the brain power, the labour force, the bodies, and the space.

I noticed how Germany exported their world-class products after the cold war ended, the automotive, technology, and pharmaceutical industries. I noticed that Germany was strong and economically independent, which was validated after the housing bubble in 2008.

In the early 90s, Canadian companies moved 80% of their manufacturing abroad. This choice devastated Quebec’s economy. I lived in Montreal then, and you could see, smell, and taste the depression.

After the referendum, I returned to Ottawa and worked for Club Monaco (CM). A Canadian company out of Toronto, designed and made in Canada. In the late 90s, I noticed most of their clothing had “Made in UAE” or “Made in Pakistan” labels. CM expanded into the US and opened Caban in specific Loblaws locations. Then in ‘99, I heard CM was selling to Ralph Lauren. That’s when I decided it was time to get out. I didn’t want to work for a super-sized company that wasn’t Canadian. I got a bad feeling when I discovered my country wasn’t supporting the industry I wanted to be a part of.

Twenty years later, it is common to drive to Costco or Walmart for supersized quantities and ignore the small businesses that make the neighbourhood vibrant and desirable real estate values.

Attitudes have a trickle-down effect. The masses follow suit when the chosen leader behaves in a certain way.

The government chooses to invest abroad and develop its economic blah-blah. Domestic manufacturing competes with questionable labour and human rights practices because the significant population condones questionable labour and human rights practices out of unawareness, ignorance, cluelessness, or unconsciousness, choose one. After all, the lowest price wins.

When we vote for a government that continues to trade and support manufacturing abroad, the most vulnerable suffer. 

My mother would say, “Write to your Member of Parliament.” Sadly, she is right. The only futile way to express that we need domestic manufacturing to return to Canada is to reach out to our MP and let them know.

I would love for Canada to implement a domestically-made incentive for Canadian consumers. 

Suppose a producer demonstrates a minimum percentage of an item made in Canada (including tools, materials, notions, etc., is required to produce said piece); the consumer has an incentive and is motivated to buy the Made In Canada piece. (The Federal Trade Commission in the USA does this. Mainly to protect consumers-- patriotism helps.) The domestic maker can compete with big box store prices, labour and human rights practices are regulated and monitored in Canada, and small businesses are visited and stimulated by this incentive. This kind of incentive could reinvigorate Canadian industry, and makers can sustain their practice. 

However, this doesn’t solve the medicine shortage. Copyright law is an area I don’t follow. What will it take for a pharmaceutical company to produce for Canadians? 

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