Health Minister Patty Hajdu refused to say whether China misled the world about the extent of coronavirus, but said that China must be held accountable if they did.
"If China wasn't honest, then they need to be held to account," said Hajdu in an interview with CTV News. The health minister claimed in April that "[there] is no indication that the data that came out of China in terms of their infection rate, and their death rate, was falsified in any way."
Classified US intelligence documents have claimed that China has gone to great lengths to conceal the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in the country according to the New York Times, among other news outlets.
The Liberal government has frequently failed to definitively accuse China of wrongdoing, even at the recommendation of allies and government officials. Despite a subcommittee dominated by Liberal MPs concluding that the government of China is committing genocide against their minority Uyghur population, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne referred to the findings, which were based on extensive evidence and testimony, as mere "allegations."
Hajdu also suggested that the Chinese government should investigate themselves, stating "China should have a review of how they conducted themselves during the pandemic. The World Health Organization has committed to a review of how they have responded to the Coronavirus, Canada has been a voice asking for that."
When asked if the World Health Organization could be trusted given its close cooperation with China, Hajdu accused the interviewer of "feeding into conspiracy theories."
The WHO has come under intense scrutiny for its handling of the coronavirus and its close relationship with China. US President Donald Trump announced his intention to formally withdraw his country from the WHO due to their mishandling of the pandemic. The US is set to leave the organization in July of next year,
"I can tell you this, the World Health Organization, although flawed, I will repeat, is an important organization in combating global pandemics. And we need to have global co-operation," Hajdu argued.
In regard to a coronavirus vaccine, Hajdu said she is optimistic but that the government could not yet offer a timeline. "Health Canada will ensure that whatever vaccine is approved is safe for use in Canada, and is working as quickly as possible to assess the evidence as it comes in," she said.
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