I made these comments during a video meeting of the House of Commons Health Committee on April 13, after learning Dr. Bruce Aylward, a Canadian advisor to the World Health Organization, abruptly cancelled his appearance before our committee.
I want to take my time to highlight how disappointing it is that Bruce Aylward, a Canadian advisor to the WHO has, at the last minute, decided not to appear and did not offer to be rescheduled at a later date.
Mr. Chair, this is unacceptable.
Since December, the WHO has been updating citizens around the globe on COVID19s impact.
First, Dr. Tam didn’t’ make herself available to take questions and now the WHO is pulling out? This committee has the explicit mandate to “meet for the sole purpose of receiving evidence concerning matters related to the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic”
I want to take this time to point out some facts that I was hoping Mr. Aylward would be able to address but being that he has decided to hide from any accountability, I will simply read this into record.
There is absolutely no doubt that the WHO has been slow to recommend concrete measures and that has negatively affected Canada’s response to the virus.
In fact, the WHO has gone above and beyond to congratulate and thank China for their response which has been to mislead the world on the gravity of the virus.
Taiwan a country who effectively flattened the curve and contained the virus by proactively implementing enhanced border screening measures before China even admitted to having a new disease, is being completely ignored and disregarded by the W-H-O, and Mr. Aylward particularly.
I want to highlight some of the evidence that proves the need to have the WHO attend as witnesses and answer questions because their response has affected Canada’s response
First, The WHO stated that there is no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission. That statement was used to develop Canada’s response in January. Less than 10 days later, the WHO announced that the virus does in fact spread through humans and yet they still keep the risk assessment to the world as moderate.
In fact, Dr. Tam used Canada’s legal obligation to the WHO as an excuse to not implement travel bans. She said due to the fact that the WHO does not recommend doing so, we cannot do this for fear of being called out. Our government was more fearful of being called out by the WHO then protecting Canadians? This deserves clarification from both the WHO and from Dr. Tam.
As the WHO continues to praise China’s approach after announcing over 8,000 deaths, Taiwan is producing 4 million masks a day and providing them to front line workers and consumers for their safety. Again, I remind Canadians that the WHO refuses to include or acknowledge Taiwan’s approach. Why was China being listened to and Taiwan being ignored?
In late February as cases continued to mount, as the WHO continues to discourage travel restrictions, and as our government continued to only listen to the WHO, a group of Chinese- Canadian doctors urged mandatory quarantine for Chinese travelers, in order to contain the virus and not overwhelm Canada’s health system- the government refused to listen to those on the ground and instead continues to fear being called out by the WHO.
It took until March 11th, for the WHO to declare a global pandemic. Numerous countries across the world were already seeing a significant rise in cases and the death rate was growing. There was no doubt that the virus didn’t respect borders, that it was spreading fast and that there was no cure.
Mr. Chair, in March, after Canadians were being told to stay home, after daycares and schools were shutting down across the country, after millions of people started losing their jobs, the government admits that it is now being recommended to close our borders and implement mandatory self-quarantine for travelers. Our government started going against the advice of the WHO, even though earlier on Dr. Tam stated legal duties to the WHO.
But this is about Mr. Aylward and the WHOs refusal to attend our committee today.
I’m sure there will be an opportunity in the future, at the right time to investigate why this decision was suddenly made. But that’s for another time.
There is no doubt that there are mounting questions about including Taiwan in the WHO, a subject that Mr. Aylward clearly does not want to discuss.
There is no doubt that there are mounting questions about the WHO’s continued praise for China as evidence grows regarding China’s transparency.
There is no doubt that there are mounting questions about the WHOs’ refusal to recommend enhanced border measures and the use of masks.
There is no doubt that there are mounting questions about what the WHO will recommend in the future- for example just a few weeks ago they stated: “removing people and families from their homes and quarantining them, as a possible scenario.
Mr. Chair. This is why I strongly urge you and the Clerk to ensure that Mr. Aylward makes himself available. That as a Canadian advisor to the WHO, and a senior Advisor to the Director General of the WHO, he appear before our committee.
We are studying the impacts of COVID-19 on Canada and the governments approach and he should answer Canadians’ questions.
We have serious questions about the WHO’s data and who is really making the decisions that are impacting Canadians. This committee is an opportunity to ask questions on the minds of Canadians and we need to hear from the relevant witnesses in order to do just that.