WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t about to be drawn into the international debate about the World Health Organization’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
Trudeau is batting away questions about President Donald Trump’s plan to halt funding to the UN agency and review what he describes as its failure to properly assess the scope of the threat posed by the novel coronavirus back in January.
The prime minister says the federal government will continue to focus on working with experts in Canada and around the world in battling the virus.
In the U.S., which has been hit hardest by COVID-19 and is the WHO’s single largest financial supporter, Trump is accusing the UN agency of botching its initial response to the outbreak and covering up the extent of the threat as it emerged from China.
Trump says pending a review, the U.S. will halt funding for the WHO, which depends on the country for nearly a quarter of its annual global assessments, along with voluntary contributions that fluctuate from year to year.
The head of the World Health Organization says he regrets the U.S. president’s decision to stop funding.
“The United States of America has been a long-standing and generous friend to WHO and we hope it will continue to be so,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has also raised red flags about the organization’s handling of the crisis, the accuracy of its data and the extent of its ties to China, where the outbreak originated in December.
Scheer claims the reason people were told to stay home was so the health system and Trudeau government could "buy time" to build on capacity issues over #COVID19.
Fact check: shut downs around the globe are to stop transmission of a fast spreading virus #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) April 15, 2020