Conservative Party leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis says that the World Health Organization shouldn’t encroach on Canada’s health sovereignty with a global pandemic response treaty, and that Canada needs its own pandemic strategy.
The WHO’s governing body, the World Health Assembly (WHA), announced in December 2021 that world leaders have reached a consensus to begin drafting a global treaty to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.
Lewis warned that “we need to be vigilant about what we sign on to and what we consent to,” adding that “we do not need the WHO to limit our health-care sovereignty,” such as when Canada’s borders will be closed or what kind of personal protective equipment will be used.
“I have, and will continue to sound an alarm when any international body attempts to encroach on our nation’s sovereignty. We do not need the WHO telling Canada how we should respond to a pandemic. We need our own pandemic response plan,” Lewis wrote in a Twitter post on April 22, reiterating her points made during an interview with CBC News earlier in the week.
In the interview, CBC’s Vassy Kapelos questioned why Lewis was “sounding an alarm and making an insinuation or an implication that Canada would give up its sovereignty to a global organization, which is part and parcel of bigger theories out there that are criticized as being conspiracy theories.” Kapelos called it an attempt to “undermine faith in global institutions” and a “theory without evidentiary proof.”
Lewis, who holds a PhD in international law, explained that an international treaty works like a contract, which brings parties together to set the terms in the process of its negotiation.
“I am alerting Canadians to the fact that this is happening, and we do not even have our own pandemic response, so how can we be powerful at the table when we don’t even know what we want as a nation?” Lewis said.
Instead, she said Canada needs to create its own pandemic strategy where the government is accountable to Canadians
“Canada is a sovereign nation. It should maintain control of its health-care system, including its pandemic response and planning,” Lewis said.
“We need to increase the capacity of hospitals to deal with the pandemic. We need to make sure that we have pandemic funding that will relieve some of the burden that was put on the health-care system. … We need to make sure that we create beds that we can better respond to pandemics, and we do not need an international organization like the WHO to tell us how to do that.”
Under the consensus decision adopted in December 2021, the World Health Assembly agreed to create an intergovernmental negotiating body, whose next meeting is to be held by or before Aug. 1, 2022, to discuss progress on a working draft of the global treaty. It will also hold public hearings to inform its deliberations and deliver a progress report to the WHA in 2023. A final report will be submitted to the WHA for its consideration in 2024.
In an article posted on her campaign website, Lewis said her predictions that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is “leading Canada towards a socialist coup” are coming true, citing her October 2020 op-ed in the National Post.
“There will be no need to throw dissenters in jail because new societal protocols can be put in place and those who fail to obey the ever-changing societal ‘norms’ can simply be fined or jailed for minor infractions,” she wrote in the op-ed.
Lewis said Trudeau has since raised questions about whether we should “tolerate” people who disagreed with him on certain issues, while an estimated six million Canadians still can’t travel freely in their own country because federal restrictions ban unvaccinated Canadians from boarding federally operated planes, boats, and trains.
The MP for Ontario’s Haldimand—Norfolk riding said that while the op-ed had a negative impact on her career, she was still glad to have written it.
“It reminded me that speaking the truth is always its own reward,” Lewis said. “I will continue to do so.”