Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gates & Harper AIDS announcement

Bill Gates and PM Steve Harper just made an announcement about funding for an AIDS vaccine:

"The federal government is pledging up to $111-million to establish the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is contributing up to $28-million."

Shorter Gates: "I'm glad funding AIDS makes people politically more popular, heheh".

Yow! Bill gets off a good one! Is it just me, or was that a little stab at the fact that Harper waited until he was in pre-election mode to pledge the funding? Harper retorted somewhat petulantly "Well, we said we would do it at the AIDS conference last July". Then he quickly moved on to something else, because the AIDS conference last July was the one he couldn't be bothered to attend because it was too politicized, no point dwelling on that. And as Gates pointed out, every year without research for a vaccine is another x million people dead, so maybe it would have been better for the money train to leave the station last August, rather than idling for 7 months until the time was more politically-expedient.

Don't get me wrong, I think this is excellent news. It's probably just because I'm feeling extra-ornery this morning that I'm a little embarassed not only that it's being used as a political football, but also by the fact that a single person can pony up 25% of the amount an entire country is pledging.