Leslyn Lewis condemns ‘undemocratic’ amendments to WHO pandemic treaty

Leslyn Lewis condemns ‘undemocratic’ amendments to WHO pandemic treaty

A lone Conservative MP continues to speak out against the World Health Organization (WHO) over “concerning” regulations to its pandemic treaty.

Alongside tens of thousands of Canadians, MP Leslyn Lewis told Health Minister Mark Holland in a letter of her concerns that the treaty would intrude on Canada’s sovereignty.

“While your department’s response to the online petition was meant to reassure Canadians that their healthcare sovereignty would not be compromised, several concerning amendments are now in force as a result of Canada’s failure to reject the May 28, 2022 amendments,” she wrote.

Petition e-4401, signed by nearly 19,000 Canadians, specifically held reservations with the federal government accepting regulatory amendments to the treaty in May 2022. 

Among them include a reduced time frame for responding to future pandemics which petitioners contend is a serious threat to how Canada handles health emergencies in its borders.

“Firstly, these amendments substantially limit the time for Canada to sufficiently respond and they alter the terms of the original treaty,” said Lewis. 

She contends they “are not valid and effective” without the House and Senate first ratifying them, urging greater transparency from Holland and his government.

“This period will also be far too short to have these amendments go through the parliamentary process and to conduct the necessary public consultations on changes that constitute binding rules on Canada’s response to health emergencies,” wrote Lewis. 

At the time Canada agreed to the amendments, the WHO announced a budget increase of $6.83 billion for the 2024/25 fiscal year, of which Canada contributed $175.3 million. 

Canada gave the UN Agency $86 million in 2021, according to Global Affairs in response to an order paper question posed by Conservative MP Shuvaloy Majumdar.

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