Harper pulls out of HIV partnership

The “Friday strategy” of evading fallout by burying bad news ahead of the weekend is perhaps the longest-standing PR strategy in Ottawa.

Accordingly, as Canadians left work Friday to watch Montgomery’s thrilling gold-medal skeleton performance, it was quietly announced that Canada was pulling out of a $139-million partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop HIV vaccines for clinical trials.

With some 33.4 million people in the world afflicted with HIV/AIDS, the weight of Mr. Harper’s decision could hardly be greater.

Yet, somewhat ironically, Canada’s own HIV Vaccine Plan (introduced by Mr. Harper in 2006) best captures the regrettable nature of this announcement:

“We have an ethical responsibility to contribute our fair share of skills and resources to domestic and global efforts to develop and distribute HIV vaccines … Because developing HIV vaccines is a global effort, Canada must be involved. We can make a difference.” 

–Kyle Gerow