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HomeBusinessCOVID Exclusive: Real estate agent pitching coronavirus test kits from Wuhan

COVID Exclusive: Real estate agent pitching coronavirus test kits from Wuhan

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Bob Mackin

A Port Moody real estate agent is involved with a proposal for the British Columbia government to import coronavirus test kits from a company in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the pandemic originated.

(Wuhan Easy Diagnosis Biomedicine Co. Ltd.)

According to a March 31 entry in the Registry of Lobbyists, Bruce Young of Earnscliffe Strategy Group wants to share information with government regarding Wuhan EasyDiagnosis Biomedicine Co. Ltd. test kits for COVID-19 that have been deployed in other jurisdictions.

Deputy Health Minister Stephen Brown and Minister Adrian Dix’s assistant Lucinda Yeung are listed as target contacts.

Client Wuhan EasyDiagnosis Biomedicine Co. Ltd., is described as a “leading in vitro diagnostic manufacturer, specializing in development, production and sales of point of care testing rapid diagnostic reagents and related equipment.”

The company’s contact address is the Port Moody office of real estate agent Bill Laidler’s Laidler Wang Investment Corp., a company incorporated last November in Washington State.

Laidler declined comment when contacted April 4.

The company is located in Wuhan’s National Biological Industry Base, also known as Biolake, and listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange. It was one of 17 manufacturers of test kits approved by the Chinese government, according to a March 24 World Health Organization list.

Wuhan, China, the blue dot on the world map. (Wuhan Easy Diagnosis Biomedicine Co. Ltd.)

Wuhan EasyDiagnosis applied March 26 for Health Canada approval under the interim express order for coronavirus diagnostic products. On April 5, the Health Canada list of authorized products showed eight companies: 1Drop Inc. (imported from South Korea by Luminarie Canada Inc.); Abbott Molecular Inc.; Roche; Diagnostic Hybrids; Luminex Molecular Diagnostics Inc.; and Cepheid.

B.C. is not mass-testing for coronavirus. Instead, it focuses on testing healthcare workers, those who present at hospitals with severe symptoms and to identify outbreaks. That is contrary to the advice of the World Health Organization, which urges countries to test every suspected case and identify contacts, who should also be tested if they are sick or showing symptoms.

Bill Laidler

“Many countries have not been systematically testing all suspect cases, and it’s one of the reasons why we’re behind in this epidemic,” Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program, said at a press conference in Geneva.

In a YouTube video on March 28, Royal Columbian Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Sean Wormsbecker accused B.C. officials of “low-balling” the numbers because there is no widespread testing for suspected cases of coronavirus.

“One of the frustrations that we’re seeing as frontline providers, that’s the fact that based on our current resources we are very much under-testing the population,” Wormsbecker said.

Between March 1 and April 4, a total 47,569 tests were conducted at B.C. Centre for Disease Control Public Health Laboratory, Vancouver General Hospital, B.C. Children’s & Women’s Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital, Victoria General Hospital Microbiology Laboratory, Kelowna General Hospital Microbiology Laboratory and LifeLabs.

Hard-hit seniors home lobbies for aid

The site of the worst coronavirus outbreak in B.C. hired lobbyist Michael Bailey of Western Policy Consultants on March 27.

Lynn Valley Care Centre (Mackin)

Lynn Valley Care Centre (aka North Shore Private Hospital) registered Bailey on April 2 to brief Ministry of Health officials “on the need for government assistance for long-term care homes through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Lynn Valley Care Centre administrator and environmental safety coordinator Noori Shahkar did not respond for comment. At least 15 residents of the North Vancouver care home have died of coronavirus.

Ex-NDP MP reps Sysco

Former NDP MP Nathan Cullen registered on behalf of Sysco, the multinational food and food equipment distributor and wholesaler.

Cullen retired from parliament as the member for Skeena-Bulkley Valley last fall. He joined Strategy Corp. in January as a strategic advisor.

Nathan Cullen (right) with John Horgan and Melanie Mark in 2017 (BC NDP)

“Sysco is one of their clients, I’m simply putting them together to have a conversation,” Cullen told theBreaker.news. “I wasn’t privy to any of the conversations.” 

The company wanted to meet with Premier John Horgan aide Don Bain and Dave Peterson, assistant deputy minister of Emergency B.C., to offer assistance with “supply chain and coordination of the distribution of food and other goods in the fight against COVID 19.”

Cullen recently acted as a go-between for the B.C. government in the dispute with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs over the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Canada, B.C. and the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs reached a tentative agreement March 1 on rights and title. The B.C. government is refusing to release a copy of the deal under the freedom of information law.

In 2014, Cullen supported Horgan’s successful bid for the B.C. NDP leadership.

Kim for Tims

Global Public Affairs’ Kim Haakstad, who was an aide to former Premier Christy Clark, registered March 26 for Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Tim Hortons and Burger King.

Haakstad listed the Jobs, Economic Development and Competitive Ministry as the target, to “inform and clarify issues related to the franchise industry and the impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry, as well as discuss measures the government is taking to mitigate this impact.”

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