Canada Dips Into Vaccine Fund For Developing Nations
Jeremy (@JeremyAppel1025) here with your daily dose of news from an unabashedly left perspective. Today we’ve got: more vaccine hoarding from Canada; a United States company with an RCMP contract violating Canadians’ privacy; the former chief of defence staff being under investigation for his interactions with female subordinates; how the pandemic has affected sex workers.
Let’s get to it!
Canada Buying Vaccines From Fund Intended For Developing Nations
Remember COVAX, the fund to help developing countries access COVID-19 vaccines that Canada made a big show of contributing to? Well, now we’re dipping into it. We’re the only G7 nation to do so, although New Zealand and Singapore are also using the fund.
Pending approval, we’re slated to receive 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through COVAX by the end of June, pending regulatory approval. This is on top of the millions of doses we’ve received through seven contracts.
Canada is already, as Passage readers likely know, the biggest hoarder of vaccines in the world.
Meanwhile, countries such as Sudan, Rwanda and Afghanistan haven’t received any.
The ministry for international development says that’s been the plan all along, claiming the feds committed $440 million for us and the Global South to access vaccines.
But Seth Berkley, the CEO of Gavi, the vaccine alliance in charge of COVAX, says they would prefer if rich countries who have already secured vaccines wouldn’t dip into the fund, which is explicitly intended to “supply vaccines for countries that otherwise wouldn’t get access.”
The Globe and Mail writes, “The COVAX program is aiming to provide 1.3 billion vaccine doses to 92 lower-income countries by the end of this year. But it remains underfunded and is still seeking billions of dollars to meet its goals.”
“Does it help when countries that have a lot of bilateral deals don’t take doses?” asked Berkley. “Of course it helps because that means there are more doses available for others.”
To put the severity of the disparity into context, the entire African content has administered about 230,000 doses, while Canada has already received 1.1 million doses.
The World Health Organization says COVAX is on pace to ship enough vaccines to vaccinate 3 per cent of developing nations’ population by the first half of 2021, whereas its target is 27 per cent.
Canada is back, baby! Back to nakedly plundering the Global South, that is.
- Clearview AI, the facial recognition software used by the RCMP, has violated Canadian privacy laws for scraping billions of images of people from across the internet, according to a report from the federal, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta privacy commissioners.
- Via the Canadian Press: The probe concluded that Clearview AI had amassed highly sensitive biometric information without the knowledge or consent of individuals. The watchdogs said this created a risk of significant harm to people, noting most of them have never been, nor ever will be, implicated in a crime.
- Clearview AI argues that Canadian privacy laws don’t apply to its activities, since it’s not itself a Canadian company and that all the data it gleaned is publicly available.
- The watchdogs said this is bullshit, as the company was contracted by Canadian actors to collect data on Canadians. However, the company — whose contract with the RCMP was put on hold due to the investigation — is refusing to comply with the commission’s orders to stop collecting Canadian images and delete those already in its possession.
Former Chief Of Defence Staff Tasked With Stamping Out Sexual Misconduct Being Investigated For Sexual Misconduct
- The Canadian Forces are investigating former Chief of Defence Staff Jon Vance after reports of an ongoing relationship with a soldier he vastly outranked, as well as allegations that he made sexual comments to a younger soldier in 2012, before he was promoted.
- Via the Ottawa Citizen: Vance was also the driving force behind Operation Honour, the military’s effort to quash sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces and some officers suggested his alleged behaviour undercut that initiative.
- Via the Ottawa Citizen: Vance acknowledged having been in a relationship with the first woman nearly 20 years ago, according to Global, and that relationship had evolved over the years but was not sexual. Originally, Vance told Global that he only knew the woman in a professional context and denied having any direct communication.
- The other woman allegedly emailed him asking for professional advice, to which he responded with a suggestion that they go on vacation to a clothing-optional resort. Vance says he doesn’t remember this exchange, but if it happened it was a joke, which is definitely what one says when they’ve done nothing wrong.
ICYMI: The Pandemic’s Impact On Sex Work
As a result of pandemic restrictions, sex workers have been forced to work outside, with all the enhanced dangers that entails, the Tyee reports.
“On the street you have very little time to negotiate and to really assess, do your screening, which is trying to decide with your intuition: is this guy a creep, is he going to hurt me, is this guy a good client, does he feel OK?” said one Vancouver sex worker.
Sex workers have also seen their incomes decline with many of their potential clients staying at home, but they can’t access income supports like other Canadians, as their work is stigmatized and in effect illegal.
Of those who slipped through the cracks and were able to get CERB, many are now being asked to repay what they received.
WISH, an organization that supports street-based sex workers in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, has established a housing and employment program for sex workers to get them through the pandemic.
DIG DEEPER: Capitalism Is Killing My Fellow Sex Workers
That does it for your February 4 Passage Daily. Check your inbox tomorrow for more news from that Passage perspective you won’t get elsewhere.
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