House of Commons summons Dr. Bruce Aylward to answer for WHO's missteps

The House of Commons Health Committee wants to talk to the World Health Organization’s Dr. Bruce Aylward, and they’ve issued a formal summons to demand that he appear by video conference.
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY

The House of Commons Health Committee wants to talk to the World Health Organization’s Dr. Bruce Aylward, and they’ve issued a formal summons to demand that he appear by video conference, according to CTV News. Aylward is a Canadian epidemiologist who in February was selected by the WHO’s Director-General to head up the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19.

A Thursday meeting of committee members found that all parties were interested in bringing in Aylward to speak to the House about the WHO and their cumulative list of information errors.

Matt Jeneroux, Conservative Health Critic, said “we want to ask questions on some of the advice they gave related to: person-to-person transmission—which they originally said couldn’t happen, we now know it does—patrolling the borders; the use of masks; all advice they have that has changed.”

This is the third time that Aylward has been requested to appear and answer for the WHO. Aylward was roundly critiqued for his failure to answer questions from an RTHK reporter on the WHO’s stance on Taiwan’s appeal for membership to the organization.

Aylward is not in the country at present, but when he returns to Canada, the House of Commons could compel him to appear. Aylward had been scheduled to appear before the committee earlier in April, but he cancelled this. Instead, WHO attorneys have offered written responses to MP questions.

Ron McKinnon, Liberal MP and Chair of the Health Committee, received an email from the WHO’s legal team that read “Over the past weeks, we have received requests for information from several different Governments, parliamentary bodies and officials. With a few to facilitating the work of the Committee, WHO stands ready to consider any list of technical questions which may be provided in writing by the Committee."

That’s not good enough for the House of Commons.

Jeneroux said in response that "It’s imperative that we have the ability to ask him these questions, simply sending us a written statement is, in my opinion, one way communication from the WHO to us. There should be no reason why he shouldn’t be able to appear especially with the virtual setting we’ve gone to.”

NDP Health Critic Don Davies concurred. "Dr. Aylward has done interviews in exactly that format with media outlets so clearly he has been willing and the WHO has been willing to make Dr. Aylward available to answer questions," Davies said. "I would also point out that Canada is a member of the WHO and I think that the WHO ought to operate with transparency and accountability to its members"

The WHO has come under consistent fire for their perceived collusion with China and their willingness to accept and repeat Chinese Communist Party talking points. The WHO proclaimed the coronavirus a pandemic was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020. This was 10 days after the first case was reported in the US, in Washington State, 17 days after the first case was recorded outside of China, in Thailand, and 19 days after China admitted to its first death from the virus.

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Libby Emmons
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