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K’naan backs NDP’s drugs-for-Africa bill ahead of C-393 vote

K’naan backs NDP’s drugs-for-Africa bill ahead of C-393 vote - image

OTTAWA – If six years of political wrangling can’t do it, maybe a couple of Canadian stars can.

The NDP brought in big-name rapper K’naan and his political equivalent – former UN ambassador Stephen Lewis – Wednesday to help win support for a bill to make low-cost drugs available in Africa.

After six years of re-writing and bargaining, the private member’s bill barely passed second reading and is poised for a final vote in the House of Commons tonight.

The NDP believes it will have the support to get the bill passed, but it brought in some famous reinforcements to do a final round of lobbying.

The bill would allow generic drug manufacturers to produce patent-protected medicines for certain poor countries, and ship them without having to obtain a permit every time.

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Supporters say the bill will help save millions of children’s lives in Africa, but critics say the legislation won’t do much of anything at all.

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