Leslyn Lewis addresses WHO pandemic treaty

Keean Bexte

April 9, 2022

Conservative leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis has addressed the WHO pandemic treaty, clearly stating that Canada should never sign away the sovereignty of its health system to the World Health Organization.

“Canada must not sign away our sovereignty on health care, but that is exactly what some of Canada’s leaders are trying to do. And there is tremendous pressure from around the world to make us do it,” Lewis begins.

The pandemic treaty was introduced during a WHO Special Session entitled “The World Together” in December 2021.

As per the WHO, the treaty is to be upheld by the WHO’s constitution, which under Article 19 “[provides] the World Health Assembly with the authority to adopt conventions or agreements on any matter within WHO’s competence.” [Emphasis added]

This authority was originally designed to pertain only to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control but is being expanded to include dictating Member States’ future pandemic responses.

According to Lewis, a lawyer with international experience, “The treaty includes 190 countries and would be legally binding. The treaty defines and classifies what is considered a pandemic, and this could consist of broad classifications, including an increase in cancers, heart conditions, strokes, etc. If a pandemic is declared, the WHO takes over the global health management of the pandemic.

“This treaty has very serious implications for our national health sovereignty. Under this treaty, Canada would essentially be surrendering our national health sovereignty to the WHO when it comes to responding to pandemics,” Lewis continues.

“I am not opposed to working with our allies around the world when it comes to fighting pandemics, but there are many reasons why Canada absolutely cannot sign this treaty.”

Lewis continues, explaining that not only would the WHO get to dictate Canada’s healthcare response during a pandemic, but they would also gain the power to determine what a pandemic is and when one is occurring.

In effect, the WHO would be able to seize the reins of power over Canada’s healthcare system whenever they feel like it.

Of even more concern, if this treaty is enshrined, the WHO would be in full control over what gets called a pandemic,” Lewis writes. “They could dictate how our doctors can respond, which drugs can and can’t be used, or which vaccines are approved. We would end up with a one-size-fits-all approach for the entire world… A one-size-fits-all response to a health crisis doesn’t even work across Canada, let alone the entire globe.”

She also calls out the WHO’s funding, pointing out that a large portion of it now comes from the Gates Foundation, which brings up more concerns as “private donors come with private interests.”

“It is vital that Canada has no part of this treaty, that we develop our own pandemic strategy, and that we invest in our healthcare system to create robust pandemic response infrastructure,” Lewis states.

Lewis is the first Conservative MP to raise alarms on the WHO’s pandemic treaty.

The WHO Committee met on March 1 and will meet again in August to continue drafting the treaty, which they hope to implement by 2024.

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