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Trudeau-praised bioscience company gets $274K grant, then sticks Health Canada with $150 million worth of faulty test kits

Favoured Trudeau bioscience company gets $274K NRC grant, then $150 million supply contract, then fails to deliver

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Almost two million faulty COVID-19 test kits that claimed it could diagnose the virus in under an hour were ordered by the Canadian government before they even knew if they would work.

Health Minister Patricia Hajdu approved orders for 1,920,000 COVID-19 test kits from Spartan Bioscience of Ottawa in April 2020, without performing any due diligence to determine whether the kits would actually work, it was reported.

No metrics were provided to demonstrate clinical trial performance.

Following an initial delivery of 5,500 kits to the Public Health Agency Canada (PHAC), it was discovered that the devices failed clinical trials on May 1, reported the Toronto Sun.

At that point, PHAC had ordered 120,000 kits for delivery by June 1, and a further 200,000 test kits per month from July through until March 2021.

PHAC has yet to explain why it didn’t first test the kits, or request supportive clinical trial data, before spending almost $150-million of the taxpayer’s money on defective equipment.

“The Government of Canada has a procurement contract with Spartan to secure supply of these devices,” said a May 5 briefing note reported in the Sun.

“The contract is conditional on the Spartan test kit being Health Canada authorized for sale.”

Unfortunately, the sale was authorized by PHAC without any of the normal due diligence which would normally precede a supply agreement of this size and import. This suggests that standard government procurement procedures were not followed.

Clouding the damaging COVID-optics still further, it was also reported Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised Spartan Bioscience just days into the pandemic – and the company received a $273,928 National Research Council (NRC) grant.

Somehow, by whatever means, without providing any supportive data, Spartan was awarded a conditional license leading to the whopping $149-million contract.

“If successful, its diagnostic platform and COVID-19 test could be used in airports and clinics,” Industry Minister Navdeep Bains said of Spartan’s technology in March 2020.

“The device could read the test results within thirty minutes. We’re working with Spartan to ensure Canadian supply of this equipment.”

Spartan names its Test kit “The Spartan Cube”.

“It is a DNA analyzer the size of a coffee cup. Samples are collected with a non-invasive swab and inserted into a single-use DNA test cartridge. Inside the analyzer, the cartridge extracts the DNA and makes millions of DNA copies based on Nobel Prize-winning chemistry called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). An optical system detects the increased fluorescence and algorithms automatically generate a test result,” the corporate website describes.

Spartan has now reapplied for its licence.

Ken Grafton is the Western Standards Ottawa Bureau Chief. He can be reached at kgrafton@westernstandardonline.com

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. UnLiberal

    January 11, 2021 at 8:54 am

    The incompetence of this liberal government is astounding!

  2. fedup citizen

    January 9, 2021 at 1:10 am

    Typical liberal $hit..giving contracts to liberal friendly companies without doing due diligence…Canada is becoming a banana republic..

  3. working ant

    January 8, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    This has to be investigated and if substantiated, those responsible need to be dealt with, regardless of where they are/were employed. Anything less that this will clearly be viewed and a form of cover-up. Period.

  4. Joan

    January 8, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    typical of the liberals and jt

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O’Toole adds voice to petition to award former Canadian soldier prestigious honour

“(Jess Larochelle) is worthy of consideration for Victorian class,” said O’Toole.

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Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has thrown his support behind a veterans association’s attempts to garner the Victoria Cross (VC) for a Canadian who heroically fought in Afghanistan.

“(Jess Larochelle) is worthy of consideration for Victorian class,” said O’Toole, himself a former commissioned officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

“I’m very proud of the men and women who serve in our Canadian Armed Forces and those (who) served in that mission with distinction and unparalleled courage,” he said Sept. 17.

The Afghanistan Veterans Association of Canada has petitioned the Governor-General of Canada to award the Victoria Cross to former Pvt. Larochelle, Nipissing, Ont. man who is in poor health.

“I was in the same company with Jess,” said Bruce Moncur of Thompson, Man., founder of the Veterans Association.

“The guy had a broken back and single-handedly fought off 40 Taliban.”

No Canadian has won the most prestigious award of the British honours system in 77 years, but Moncur said it’s time to change that.

“The clock is ticking. His family does not want this to be a posthumous award,” he said.

Larochelle in 2007 was awarded the Star of Military Valour for bravery in combat at Pashmul, Afghanistan.

A year earlier, Larochelle fought off Taliban gunmen at a machine gun post despite injuries from heavy fire that killed two members of his unit and wounded four others.

“Private Larochelle went above and beyond the call of duty, exhibited unwavering determination and fulfills the criteria of the Canadian Victoria Cross: bravery in the face of the enemy, turning the course of a battle, determination despite injury, and saving the lives of his section despite his own sacrifices,” said the petition.

O’Toole said it’s a sad circumstance for all who served overseas.

“The situation in Afghanistan that’s tumbling into crisis is hard for military families who left a piece themselves in that country,” he said.

Yet another reason why we should not have had an election; we should have made sure that anyone that’s at risk in Afghanistan … (as prime minister) I will never leave someone behind like Mr. Trudeau has.”

In 1993 Canada created its own VC and withdrew from the British VC., but Canada has yet to award a Canadian VC.

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O’Toole pleads with conservatives not to vote PPC

O’Toole said he feared a right-wing vote split could lead to four more years of Justin Trudeau.

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Erin O’Toole is making a last-minute appeal to conservative voters to stick with him.

At a campaign stop in London on Friday afternoon, O’Toole urged those on the right to not mark their X for the People’s Party of Canada, which has seen a surge in the polls lately.

O’Toole said he feared a right-wing vote split could lead to four more years of Justin Trudeau.

“There are actually millions of Canadians who are very frustrated with Mr. Trudeau. If they allow that frustration to do anything other than vote Conservative, they’re voting for Mr. Trudeau,” O’Toole said.

“There are five parties and there are two choices. More of the same with Mr. Trudeau or real change and ethical government with Canada’s Conservatives.”

While not mentioning the PPC by name, O’Toole said Trudeau would be happy with the vote split.

“If Justin Trudeau is rewarded for calling a $600 million election in the middle of a pandemic, everything you’ve come to dislike about Mr. Trudeau — the lectures, the division in this country, the hypocrisy, the rising prices — they will all only get worse,” he said.

“There is a lot a stake.”

When asked why he would use the name of the PPC, O’Toole responded: “I’m not going to advertise them.”

Polls continue to show good news for the People’s Party of Canada.

EKOS Politics daily tracking showed last week the party surging to a record 11.2% of decided and leaning voters, putting it within striking distance of the traditionally third-place NDP, which sits at 15.7%.

The Conservatives maintain a slight edge over the Liberals at 33.6% and 30.7% respectively.

Most polling firms have tracked the PPC rising from near obscurity at the beginning of the election campaign, to consistently higher numbers that could see the party make a real impact on the September 20 vote.

Broken down by region, the numbers are even more shocking.

In Alberta, the PPC has vaulted over the Liberals and NDP into a clear third place at 19%. While still well behind the Tories at 52%, the level of support could yield seats for the PPC if concentrated in specific constituencies.

The PPC’s second-best showing is in Quebec, where it sat in fourth place at 13%. In that province, the Liberals lead at 31%, followed by the Conservatives at 21%, and the BQ at 18%. The NDP ranked below with PPC in fifth place at 10%.

In Ontario, the PPC is breathing down the neck of the NDP for third place, just 2% behind them at 11%, however well back of the Liberals at 39% and the Tories at 33%.

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BC tells Alberta no can do, about ICU beds for COVID patients

“We will not be able to assist with taking patients at this time.” —B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix

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It was a big fat “no” from B.C. legislators when asked to take hospital patients from Alberta.

The westernmost province told its eastern neighbour it cannot take ICU patients because of its own health-care demands.

“Given the current demands on B.C.’s health-care system, we will not be able to assist with taking patients at this time,” said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix in a statement Thursday after a meeting of B.C. and Alberta health officials.

In the short statement, Dix also said: “We have told Alberta that if there are things we can do to support them, we will. And if we can take patients on in the future, we will.

Dix, noting “we are in a global pandemic,” and added: “We salute Alberta’s health-care workers, and all health-care workers who are working tirelessly to care for patients and protect people and communities in the face of great challenge.”

Alberta’s health system is teetering on collapse with 269 patients in an intensive-care system set up for 173.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney appealed for help from the other provinces, by taking some ICU patients or sending front-line health workers to Alberta.

Ontario offered to accept patient transfers if needed, said Dr. Verna Yiu, head of Alberta Health Services (AHS), and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey offered to aid in a tweet.

Newfoundland and Labrador also offered help to Alberta.

B.C. reported 706 new cases of COVID on Thursday, as well as four deaths linked to the illness, bringing the death toll to 1,877.

B.C. Health said there are currently 5,844 active infections across the province with 291 people in hospital, including 134 in intensive care.

In Alberta— which is facing a devastating fourth wave with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country—large numbers of non-urgent surgeries were cancelled because hospital staff are reassigned to COVID-19 care.

BC told Alberta that if there are things it can do to support the beleaguered province in the future, it will attempt to do so.

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