Canadian MPs Pass Motion to Support Taiwan’s Inclusion in WHO

Canadian MPs on the House of Commons health committee unanimously passed a motion that supports Taiwan’s bid for membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).“I’m seeking the unanimous consent of the committee that the following motion be adopted,” said Conservative MP and motion sponsor Michael Barrett in an April 27 meeting of the committee. The motion received unanimous support from members of all parties on the committee. The motion, which states that the standing committee “supports the full participation of Taiwan in the World Health Assembly and the World Health Organization,” was  presented in the House by Liberal MP Sean Casey, the chair of the committee, on April 29. Taiwan has been excluded from the WHO due to China’s objections on the grounds that it is a “breakaway province”—despite the fact that Taiwan is a de facto independent country, with its own military, democratically elected government, and constitution—and the fact that it is not a member state at the United Nations, having been expelled and replaced by China in 1971. The country’s exclusion from the organization has been a source of controversy on the world stage since the onset of the pandemic, as Taiwan’s management of the COVID-19 outbreak has been highly praised. As a result, the WHO has been accused of showing political bias toward Beijing, with the Taiwanese government accusing it of neglecting questions about the outbreak in China when its members asked about person-to-person transmission. In a joint statement published with Health Minister Chen Shih-chung in May 2020, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu accused the WHO of “indifference to the health rights of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people.” “As a professional international health body, the World Health Organization should serve the health and welfare of all humanity and not capitulate to the political interests of a certain member,” Chen said in the statement. Accusations of pro-China bias against the WHO intensified after an interview with Bruce Aylward, WHO’s assistant-director general, on the Hong Kong network RTHK, in which he appeared to avoid questions about Taiwan’s response to the virus. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also attempted to make the case for Taiwan’s membership in the WHO, saying she “hoped that all countries after experiencing this outbreak would better understand Taiwan’s capabilities and areas of contribution, to seriously consider Taiwan’s participation in the global response to the pandemic.” Canada, along with allies such as the United States, have in the past supported campaigns to help Taiwan attain observer status in the organization. In May 2020, then-foreign minister Francois Philippe Champagne expressed that Canada supported “Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international multilateral fora where its presence provides important contributions to the public good.” “Canada encourages the WHO to engage with experts from Taiwan and to support Taiwan’s meaningful inclusion in global discussions on health.” Follow Shane Miller is a political writer based in London, Ontario.

Canadian MPs Pass Motion to Support Taiwan’s Inclusion in WHO

Canadian MPs on the House of Commons health committee unanimously passed a motion that supports Taiwan’s bid for membership in the World Health Organization (WHO).

“I’m seeking the unanimous consent of the committee that the following motion be adopted,” said Conservative MP and motion sponsor Michael Barrett in an April 27 meeting of the committee.

The motion received unanimous support from members of all parties on the committee.

The motion, which states that the standing committee “supports the full participation of Taiwan in the World Health Assembly and the World Health Organization,” was  presented in the House by Liberal MP Sean Casey, the chair of the committee, on April 29.

Taiwan has been excluded from the WHO due to China’s objections on the grounds that it is a “breakaway province”—despite the fact that Taiwan is a de facto independent country, with its own military, democratically elected government, and constitution—and the fact that it is not a member state at the United Nations, having been expelled and replaced by China in 1971.

The country’s exclusion from the organization has been a source of controversy on the world stage since the onset of the pandemic, as Taiwan’s management of the COVID-19 outbreak has been highly praised. As a result, the WHO has been accused of showing political bias toward Beijing, with the Taiwanese government accusing it of neglecting questions about the outbreak in China when its members asked about person-to-person transmission.

In a joint statement published with Health Minister Chen Shih-chung in May 2020, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu accused the WHO of “indifference to the health rights of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people.”

“As a professional international health body, the World Health Organization should serve the health and welfare of all humanity and not capitulate to the political interests of a certain member,” Chen said in the statement.

Accusations of pro-China bias against the WHO intensified after an interview with Bruce Aylward, WHO’s assistant-director general, on the Hong Kong network RTHK, in which he appeared to avoid questions about Taiwan’s response to the virus.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also attempted to make the case for Taiwan’s membership in the WHO, saying she “hoped that all countries after experiencing this outbreak would better understand Taiwan’s capabilities and areas of contribution, to seriously consider Taiwan’s participation in the global response to the pandemic.”

Canada, along with allies such as the United States, have in the past supported campaigns to help Taiwan attain observer status in the organization.

In May 2020, then-foreign minister Francois Philippe Champagne expressed that Canada supported “Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international multilateral fora where its presence provides important contributions to the public good.”

“Canada encourages the WHO to engage with experts from Taiwan and to support Taiwan’s meaningful inclusion in global discussions on health.”


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Shane Miller is a political writer based in London, Ontario.