Feds reject public disclosure of Medicago vaccine contract

The Conservatives sponsored a failed motion to publicly disclose the 'unredacted copies of the vaccine supply contract' and all other agreements with Medicago. The $323 million piecemeal deal included $173 million for a factory that never went into production and $150 million for vaccines that never got distributed.

Feds reject public disclosure of Medicago vaccine contract
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The Medicago scandal deepens after the House of Commons health committee voted not to disclose the supplier’s vaccine contract.

In 2020, Medicago Incorporated received $150 million for COVID jabs under an Advance Purchase Agreement, and another $173 million in research subsidies under the Department of Industry’s Strategic Innovation Fund.

The Conservatives sponsored a motion to receive the "unredacted copies of the vaccine supply contract" and all other agreements with Medicago for public release. By a slim 6 to 5 vote, the committee rejected public disclosure, earning considerable push back from Opposition parties. 

"They misled a committee of Parliament," claimed Conservative MP Rick Perkins. MPs had "the responsibility to call them back and call them on their misrepresentation to Parliament," he said. 

The $323 million piecemeal deal included $173 million for a factory that never went into production and $150 million for vaccines that never got distributed.

Liberal MP Marcus Powlowski called the Medicago contract old news. "This is two years later," he said. 

"These are contracts which have already been made available to another committee," said Powlowski, "yet some Conservative in the middle of the night wakes up with this brain wave, 'Oh my God, what happened with those contracts we haven’t seen? Let’s call back the health committee to discuss this right now.'"

Last December 11, Toshifumi Tada, president and CEO of Medicago, testified their COVID jabs never entered production because newer variants of the disease made their vaccine "irrelevant."

Tada told MPs his company used the money to manufacture the "at risk" vaccine, purchasing raw materials and hiring some 400 staff to oversee their operations in Québec City. 

Ottawa and Medicago terminated the contract in June 2022 by mutual consent. Of that amount, the supplier returned $40 million to government coffers.

On January 19, Perkins accused the Trudeau Liberals of "lying to this committee," reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

In October 2020, the feds signed a "non-refundable" advance purchase agreement with Medicago despite no reassurances that Health Canada would approve the vaccine for consumption.

Contrary to those claims, Perkins said redacted versions of the contract tabled by the public accounts committee show payments would only be made upon delivery of the vaccines. “What was the payment for?” he asked, as none were shipped.

Health Minister Mark Holland justified the $150 million advance purchase agreement, claiming Canadians needed a quick vaccine supply. 

Including Medicago, the feds signed agreements with Moderna (up to 44 million doses), Pfizer-BioNTech (up to 51 million), Johnson and Johnson (up to 38 million), Novovax (up to 76 million), Sanofi-GlaxoSmithKline (up to 72 million), and AstraZeneca (20 million) at a cost of $8 billion.

However, Holland told the committee December 6 that the availability of other vaccines "meant the Medicago ... doses were not required." 

"It is voting for a cover-up," said Perkins. "It is voting to cover up Liberal incompetence on pissing away $323 million of taxpayer money when there is no contractual requirement."

The piecemeal contract ultimately prompted an inquiry into the defunct jab supplier Medicago, with Conservative, Bloc and NDP MPs on the health committee also grilling the public works department over its seven vaccine deals.

Bloc Québécois MP Julie Vignola voted for disclosure. "Yes, we need to get answers," she said.

"Having answers to questions about taxpayers' money that is entrusted to a government is the least we can do," continued Vignola. "It is important to me that people in our constituencies know what we did with their money, their taxes."

Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus added that Québec also subsidized vaccine production but appeared to negotiate better terms. "We have to shed light on what happened,” he told the health committee.

"Why was the money paid?" asked Paul-Hus. "Why didn’t the money come back? The Government of Québec also committed to subsidies, but they were reimbursed 100 percent."

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