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Opinion

Coronavirus: how Canada can strengthen its health diplomacy

By Pouyan Kimiayjan      

This global crisis demands more cooperation among world powers. The U.S. has failed to lead, hence making it a strategic imperative for Canada to help fill the leadership vacuum and strengthen its health diplomacy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, pictured at a press conference on May 1, 2020, on the Hill. In addition to increasing its financial assistance to humanitarian organizations and states suffering the most from the pandemic, Canada can compensate for its low troop contribution to UN-led missions and pledge military assistance to countries struggling from COVID-19, writes Pouyan Kimiayjan. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

VANCOUVER—COVID-19 has triggered an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. With thousands killed and millions inflected, the pandemic has also crippled the global economy. Governments around the world are scrambling to import desperately needed medical equipment while struggling to keep their economies afloat amid widespread lockdowns. Instead of increasing international cooperation, the pandemic has sparked ruthless competition among states to gather humanitarian aid. One disappointing example was the Trump administration’s decision to not only halt the export of N95 respirators to Canada, but also putting the World Health Organization (WHO) funding on hold due to its political disagreements with China.

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