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The WHO’s international pandemic treaty: Meaningful public engagement must inform Canada’s negotiations

As negotiations for an international pandemic treaty get underway, public engagement is in the best interests of Canadians. Here is how the federal government…



The degree to which Canadians support effective international co-operation, as essential to future pandemic preparedness and response, will shape Canada’s positioning on the draft international pandemic treaty. (Shutterstock)

One of the key lessons emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic has been that the failure of countries to sufficiently work together worsened and prolonged this deadly public health emergency.

Formal negotiations are underway to develop a pandemic treaty under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO): an international agreement setting out commitments by countries to collective action on future pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

Governments are now developing their positioning on a so-called Zero Draft of this treaty. Around 100 representatives of Canadian provinces and territories, Indigenous peoples, youth, civil society, private sector and academia — plus another 100 virtual participants — gathered in Ottawa in March 2023. The purpose, as stated in the participants’ pre-forum documents, was to “help inform the development of Canada’s priorities and objectives in the creation of a pandemic instrument.”

Few, if any, governments have so far held consultations, and the Canadian government should be commended for doing so. The need for meaningful engagement is clear. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound but inequitable impact on people’s lives, and we need deeper understanding of the diverse individual and shared experiences of this pandemic.

The logo of the World Health Organization: a caduceus superimposed on a globe surrounded by a wreath
The logo of the World Health Organization is seen at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Formal negotiations are underway to develop a pandemic treaty under the auspices of the WHO. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

There is also an opportunity to better align the rhetoric of solidarity, frequently used by the Canadian government during the pandemic, with real action. Perhaps most importantly, the degree to which Canadians support effective international co-operation, as essential to future pandemic preparedness and response, will shape Canada’s positioning on the draft treaty.

To support meaningful engagement, we offer the following observations as in-person and virtual attendees of the recent engagement forum.


The quality of any engagement effort depends on who does and does not participate. Organizers declined to circulate a participant list, citing privacy considerations, so it remains difficult to assess how representative of diversity the forum was.

It is important to know how the partner and stakeholder groups were decided upon. Also, did organizers aim to keep the number of representatives for each group roughly the same (implying their moral equivalence) or were numbers weighted? For example, with 20 per cent of Canada’s population under 30 years of age, would 10-15 youth representatives be sufficient?

Other concerns include: Was there a cap on participant numbers overall or per group? What thought was given to representativeness within each group? The private sector, for example, seemed largely composed of pharmaceutical industry representatives, but what about other industries?


The process for gathering perspectives determines how meaningful the engagement is. The process in Ottawa largely consisted of plenary presentations and six one-hour breakout groups.

Each of the breakout groups focused on a broad preset topic. Briefing papers for each topic were provided, but critically absent was a succinct summary of Canada’s current positioning on these issues. Breakout groups were divided into tables of five or six people.

Relationships of trust and shared understandings are central to conducting meaningful exchange. Absent a participant list, table members were given five minutes to introduce themselves before engaging in rapid-fire discussions. This tight timeframe made it difficult to integrate insights from participants with varied levels of content expertise on specific topics.

As one participant put it, “one question potentially contained multiple doctoral dissertations.”

Moreover, the exclusive focus on discussing preset questions strictly bounded what could be discussed. One of us (Joel Lexchin) described this as eliciting what the government wanted to hear rather than what needed to be said.

Further concerns are raised by how the views expressed and notes taken in the breakout groups were not contextualized by the positioning of the speakers, especially given the strong presence of the pharmaceutical industry. It’s unclear how the Canadian government will draw meaning from, and then weigh the validity of different statements put forth including by vested interests.

The opportunity provided to comment chapter-by-chapter on the zero draft through an online system is likely to prove more useful by generating specific insights for negotiators.

Lessons and opportunities

Overall, we believe the consultations could have yielded deeper insights by:

  • providing a better briefing for participants on attendees and the engagement process,
  • offering summaries of available evidence to inform discussions,
  • allowing more focused and longer conversations guided by content experts.

We recognize inclusive governance takes time and effort at the best of times. Emerging from a prolonged pandemic, which has opened fissures across Canadian society and globally, the task is now even more challenging.

Yet Canadian and other governments must persist in these laudable efforts as they approach treaty negotiations. Meaningful engagement aims to gather insights towards nuanced, responsive and productive solutions to complex problems. In addition to informing government positioning, meaningful engagement will help renew faith, eroded during the pandemic, in democratic processes.

This rebuilding of trust in government and public health systems will be essential for underpinning public support of a pandemic treaty. Genuinely listening to diverse voices, building authentic relationships of trust, and advancing deeper understanding will be key ingredients to moving global pandemic governance forward.

As the historic pandemic treaty negotiations commence, continued engagement efforts will not only be in the best interests of Canadians, but a timely opportunity for Canada to model participatory democratic processes on the global stage.

A meaningful process of Canadian consultation will encourage similar efforts in other countries where vested interests, rather than the voices of the many, continue to dominate.

Kelley Lee receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, New Frontiers for Research Fund, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The Pacific Institute on Pathogens, Pandemics and Society (PIPPS) receives funding from the BC Ministry of Health.

In 2019-2022, Joel Lexchin received payments for writing briefs on the role of promotion in generating prescriptions for two legal firms. He is a member of the Foundation Board of Health Action International and the Board of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. He receives royalties from University of Toronto Press and James Lorimer & Co. Ltd. for books he has written.

Katrina Plamondon receives funding from Michael Smith Health Research BC, CIHR, SSHRC, and the KGH Foundation. She is an advisor on the National Scientific Advisory Committee for Global Health and co-chairs the University Advisory Council for the Canadian Association for Global Health.

Roojin Habibi is a member of the WHO Review Committee regarding amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005).

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Zelenskyy, Trudeau Honor Actual 3rd Reich Nazi With Standing Ovation

Zelenskyy, Trudeau Honor Actual 3rd Reich Nazi With Standing Ovation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Volodomyr…



Zelenskyy, Trudeau Honor Actual 3rd Reich Nazi With Standing Ovation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy - who commands a battalion of neo-Nazis - honored an actual WWII Nazi with a standing ovation on Friday.

Yaroslav Hunka, 98, fought in a Third Reich military formation accused of war crimes.

On Friday, he was honored during a session of Canadian parliament in which Zelenskyy addressed the lawmakers to thank them for their support since Russia invaded Ukraine, saying that Canada has always been on "the bright side of history."

Hunka stood for standing ovation and saluted, according to Canadian television.

According to the Associated Press, Hunka "fought with the First Ukrainian Division in World War II before later immigrating to Canada," another name for the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, the Nazi party's military wing, also known as the SS Galichina.


Formed in 1943, SS Galichina was comprised of Ukrainians from the Galicia region in the western part of the country. It was armed and trained by Hitler's Nazis and commanded by German officers. The next year, the division received a visit from SS head Heinrich Himmler, who had high praise for the unit's effectiveness at slaughtering Poles.

The SS Galichina subunits were responsible for the Huta Pieniacka massacre, in which they burned 500 to 1,000 Polish villagers alive.

One of several photos on a blog by an SS Galichina veterans’ group that shows Yaroslav Hunka, the Ukrainian immigrant honored by the Canadian Parliament during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Hunka is in the front row, middle.

In fact, during the Nuremberg Trials, the Waffen-SS was declared to be a criminal organization responsible for mass atrocities.

Following the war, thousands of SS Galichina veterans were allowed to leave Germany and resettle in the West - with around 2,000 moving to Canada. By that time, they were known as the First Ukrainian Division.

A blog by an association of its veterans, called “Combatant News” in Ukrainian, includes an autobiographical entry by a Yaroslav Hunka that says he volunteered to join the division in 1943 and several photographs of him during the war. The captions say the pictures show Hunka during SS artillery training in Munich in December 1943 and in Neuhammer (now Świętoszów), Poland, the site of Himmler’s visit. 

In posts to the blog dated 2011 and 2010, Hunka describes 1941 to 1943 as the happiest years of his life and compares the veterans of his unit, who were scattered across the world, to Jews. -Forward

So, the same leftists who called Trump supporters Nazis for years are now honoring an actual Nazi - while Germany has notably locked up several concentration camp guards in their 90s for their involvement in Nazi activities.

University of Ottawa Political Scientist Ivan Katchanovski lays it out...

Meanwhile, here's Ukraine's Azov Battalion of neo-Nazis that everyone with a Ukraine flag in their bio is supporting...

Odd, they don't look like Trump supporters.

Maybe these Nazis can shed some light? Careful, "X" thinks this is sensitive material (that might redpill people?).


Tyler Durden Sun, 09/24/2023 - 14:25

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Kerry Acknowledges Need For Nuclear Power As Climate Diplomacy Dominates New York City

Kerry Acknowledges Need For Nuclear Power As Climate Diplomacy Dominates New York City

Authored by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times,




Kerry Acknowledges Need For Nuclear Power As Climate Diplomacy Dominates New York City

Authored by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times,

While addressing an Atlantic Council meeting on nuclear energy, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry made it clear he doesn't think wind and solar alone will be sufficient to meet global energy needs while achieving policy plans to rapidly scale back the use of hydrocarbons in the name of addressing climate change risks as outlined by the United Nations.

"You will have to have some component of nuclear—yet to be determined how big or where it'll go. That's going to be a market-based reaction," said Mr. Kerry, who served as a Democratic senator from Massachusetts before serving as Secretary of State under former President Barack Obama.

The 2004 Democratic candidate for president said that "most scientists will tell you" the goal of Net Zero 2050 cannot be achieved "unless we have a pot, a mixture of energy approaches."

"Clearly, we're going to need nuclear to be a part of that," he said on Monday.

Mr. Kerry's pro-nuclear remarks come as climate-related diplomacy and other climate-themed events overtake New York City.

Over the weekend, protesters demonstrated against fossil fuels in the streets of New York City, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) among the participants.

Mr. Kerry voiced support for those demonstrators in his speech to the Atlantic Council.

In addition, the U.N. will hold its inaugural Climate Ambition Summit on Sept. 20.

U.N. statement on the event states it "will showcase leaders who are 'first movers and doers' from government, business, finance, local authorities, and civil society who have credible actions, policies and plans to keep the 1.5°C degree goal of the Paris Agreement alive and deliver climate justice to those on the front lines of the climate crisis."

The Climate Ambition Summit comes ahead of the next annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will begin in late November. It's taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Even as he praised climate protesters, Mr. Kerry noted that a previous generation of environmental activists had fought hard against nuclear power, now seen as a pragmatic solution by many climate hawks.

"In my state of Massachusetts, where there was a huge fight over Seabrook Nuclear Plant in New Hampshire, we now happily get about 20 percent of all our energy from Seabrook, and nobody's complaining—maybe about the prices a little bit, because that's normal in today's world," he said.

A view of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant in Seabrook, N.H., on March 21, 2011. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images)

"The United States is now therefore committed, based on experience and based on reality, to trying to accelerate the deployment of nuclear energy, as part of the Biden program," he added.

The diplomat, who came under fire from Republicans earlier this summer for his unwillingness to share details of his staff at a Congressional hearing, commented positively on Bill Gates' TerraPower, which plans to build the next-generation Natrium nuclear reactor in Wyoming.

He also drew attention to his recent trip to Romania, where he visited a control room simulator for a small modular reactor developed by the American firm NuScale.

Mr. Kerry took issue with the continued construction of unabated coal-fired power plants and with the existence of subsidies for fossil fuels.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) study identified $1.3 trillion in "explicit" subsidies for fossil fuels in 2022, a stark increase from $500 billion in 2020. Such subsidies are ascribed to fossil fuel prices when they are lower than they would otherwise be if producers fully bore supply costs. The IMF authors attributed a substantial proportion of the increase to "temporary price support measures," in line with surging fossil fuel prices during that period.

Whitehouse Touts ADVANCE Act

Mr. Kerry wasn't the only high-level Democratic politician who addressed the Atlanticist forum on Monday.

In pre-recorded remarks, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) touted the bipartisan, nuclear power-related ADVANCE Act, which passed the Senate as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in July. The bill has not moved ahead in the House.

"Our legislation would strengthen the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's ability to safely and efficiently review the expected influx of applications and prepare them to license HALEU [high-assay low-enriched uranium] fuels," the lawmaker said.

Russia currently dominates the production of HALEU fuels, which are key for most next-generation nuclear reactors. Uncertainty about Russian supplies of HALEU has been a worry for TerraPower and a central motivation for the Nuclear Fuel Security Act, another successful NDAA amendment.

"We spend nearly $1 billion each year on Russian uranium. Russia uses these revenues to fund its invasion of Ukraine," Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said in the Senate as the measure was under consideration.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in Washington on Dec. 1, 2020. (Bill O'Leary-Pool/Getty Images)

'Decarbonize Beyond Electricity'

Other speakers at the event expanded on how nuclear energy could be used to cut carbon emissions.

"We need to decarbonize beyond electricity," said John Wagner, director of the Idaho National Laboratory. He cited industrial heating and hydrogen production as examples of such applications for nuclear energy.

Sama Bilbao y León, director general of the World Nuclear Association, concurred.

"Yes, we need to electrify as much as we can of our economy, but it is not going to be possible to electrify everything," she said.

Ben Pickett of Nucor Corporation, which operates mills that recycle scrap steel using electric arc furnaces, explained that his company's operations require "billions and billions of kilowatt hours per year."

Earlier this year, Nucor signed a memorandum of understanding with NuScale Power. The latter could potentially develop small modular reactors for use in conjunction with Nucor's steel production facilities.

"We've got customers now that are demanding much cleaner steels," Mr. Pickett said.

He conceded that the idea of running steel production on advanced nuclear has met with a "mixed" reaction in his industry.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/24/2023 - 15:00

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Zelenskyy Asks Spirit Cooker Marina Abramovic To Be Ambassador For Ukraine, Help ‘Rebuild Schools’

Zelenskyy Asks Spirit Cooker Marina Abramovic To Be Ambassador For Ukraine, Help ‘Rebuild Schools’

Authored by Chris Menahan via Information…



Zelenskyy Asks Spirit Cooker Marina Abramovic To Be Ambassador For Ukraine, Help 'Rebuild Schools'

Authored by Chris Menahan via Information Liberation (emphasis ours),

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is recruiting spirit cooker Marina Abramovic to serve as an ambassador for Ukraine and help "rebuild schools."

From The Telegraph, "Zelensky asks Marina Abramovic to be ambassador for Ukraine":

Volodymyr Zelensky has asked Marina Abramovic, the performance artist, to be an ambassador for Ukraine.

‌Ms Abramovic, a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin's illegal invasion, said the Ukrainian president had asked for her help in rebuilding schools.

[...] ‌"I have been invited by Zelensky to be an ambassador of Ukraine, to help the children affected by rebuilding schools and such."

‌She added: "I have also been invited to be a board member of the Babyn Yar organisation to continue to protect the memorial."

‌The Holocaust memorial centre to Jews murdered by Nazis in Ukraine was damaged by Russian missile attacks in March last year.

The "bombing" of the Babyn Yar memorial was confirmed to be a lie last year.

‌Ms Abramovic installed her work Crystal Wall of Crying at the memorial centre in Kyiv four months before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

‌The wall, 40 metres long and three metres high, is made of coal and has large quartz crystals sticking out of it. Visitors can touch the installation, which mirrors the western wall in Jerusalem.

Zelensky said last year his goal is to turn Ukraine into a "Greater Israel."

In Dec 2022, Zelensky made a deal with BlackRock's Larry Fink to help "rebuild" Ukraine after the war and just last week the Biden regime announced Penny Pritzker would become their Special Representative for "rebuilding" Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Abramovic's pals, the Clintons, are also salivating over helping to 'rebuild' Ukraine.

Tyler Durden Sun, 09/24/2023 - 16:10

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