Blood Sales Will Endanger Alberta’s Supply, says NDP
Alberta New Democratic Party
EDMONTON – A United Conservative Party MLA’s private member’s bill is a direct attack on Canada’s single, public voluntary bloody system, says the Alberta NDP Opposition.
Tany Yao, UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, will bring forward a private member’s bill in the coming days that will repeal Alberta’s ban on the private purchase of human blood. Buying human blood was banned in Alberta in 2017 by the Voluntary Blood Donation Act. Yao’s bill is titled the Voluntary Blood Donation Repeal Act.
“If passed, this bill will divert donations away from Canadian Blood Services to private buyers, who can then sell them to the highest bidder on world markets,” said NDP Health Critic David Shepherd. “This is very bad for Albertans. It flies directly in the face of the Krever Inquiry.”
The Krever Inquiry was tasked with investigating Canada’s tainted blood scandal, in which tens of thousands of Canadians were infected with hepatitis C or HIV through tainted blood products. The inquiry’s report led to the creation of a single national agency, Canadian Blood Services. Alberta’s current Voluntary Blood Donation Act includes an exemption for CBS.
Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia also have legislated bans on the purchase of human blood. Manitoba has a single paid-donation centre for rare blood types that predates the Krever Inquiry. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have private blood purchasing locations. Canada’s other provinces and territories do not currently have bans or private blood buying sites.
The previous Alberta government passed the Voluntary Blood Donation Act in response to private blood buyers like Canadian Plasma Resources, who were hoping to open locations in Alberta. Canadian Blood Services does not buy from these companies, so it’s unclear where the blood or plasma purchased in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick is going.
“This isn’t a partisan issue,” Shepherd said. “Our single public voluntary system has served Albertans well for decades, and through this global pandemic. Allowing private buyers to divert donations away from Canadian Blood Services will cause terrible harm to Canada’s supply. Tany Yao’s bill is a terrible mistake, and I hope members of the UCP caucus will join us in defeating it.”