National Research Council, the government-funded body of Canada which is overseeing the country’s effort on vaccine development and trials, has scrapped the deal with Chinese vaccine developer CanSino Biologics citing delays in shipment of drugs.
CanSino Biologics is among the Chinese frontrunners in vaccine development and the Canadian government body had signed a multimillion-dollar deal with the company. In May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself endorsed the deal.
However, the Chinese customs authorities stopped the shipment of drugs at the port as the Communist government wanted to negotiate the release of Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, who is under house arrest in Canada on America’s request, in return for the drug shipment. Followed by which, an angry Canada scrapped the deal altogether and the National Research Council has roped in two other vaccine developers for trial United States company VBI Vaccines.
“With the funding received from the Government of Canada on March 23 and April 23, much work is underway at NRC … to certify our facility … and expand production,” NRC stated. “These enhancements to the facility will support a broad range of partners and clients with research, scale-up support, and the manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics.”
The shipment of the drug is “caught in the bureaucracy,” CanSino Biologics Chairman and CEO Xuefeng Yu told the Globe and Mail. The pharmaceutical company earlier denied that the deal had fallen through but now the Canadian authorities themselves announced the end of the agreement as Chinese authorities were delaying the shipment.
It was wise of Trudeau to scrap the deal as if the Canadian government had started the trial with Chinese drugs then Chinese authorities might have used it as leverage to negotiate the release of Huawei’s CFO. In the last few months, Trudeau has taken many wise decisions as far as diplomacy and foreign relations are concerned.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Trudeau has been facing intense criticism for his weak line on China. The opposition- Conservative Party has made a big issue out of Trudeau’s failed China policy, which has led to Canada’s Prime Minister taking rare swipes at Beijing and mostly backing US President Trump on the China front.
A few months ago, a Canadian court dismissed Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s application for “double criminality” and now her extradition looks certain. This is an emotive issue in China with Huawei CFO being Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei’s daughter.
When China objected to the judicial ruling, Trudeau took a rare swipe at Beijing and said, “Canada has an independent judicial system that functions without interference or override by politicians.”
He added, “China doesn’t work quite the same way and (doesn’t) seem to understand that we do have an independent judiciary from political intervention.
Moreover, Canada has practically banned Chinese 5G players in its telecom market as its major players have already shut the door for Huawei and ZTE.
On the Khalistan issue, too, Trudeau changed his stance by 180 degrees. Recently, a spokesperson of the country’s Foreign Ministry told Hindustan Times, “Canada respects the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of India and the Government of Canada will not recognize the referendum.” The statement further said that the bilateral relationship between Canada and India is a priority for the Government of Canada.
The strong-worded statement came as a shock to everyone who has followed Trudeau’s political career. It was the same Trudeau government that had brought Jaspal Atwal during his 2015 trip to India. Atwal is a convicted assassin and former Sikh terrorist who tried to assassinate the visiting Punjabi cabinet minister, Malkiat Singh Sidhu, on Vancouver Island in 1987,
Trudeau seems to have come of age and it augurs well for him as countries like India, the United States, Brazil, Australia, and the United Kingdom will more likely be able to warmly reciprocate towards Canada if Trudeau keeps up with his newfound enlightenment path.