What's it called again? Oh, right. The UN.
One of the ways the opposition parties and other critics like to go after federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq is to decry her absence (if she is in fact absent) from whatever health-related conference is going on at the time.
On Thursday it was New Democrat Quebec MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Beauharnois—Salaberry), who asked during Question Period in the House of Commons why Aglukkaq was not attending the World Health Organization's three-day World Conference on Social Determinants of Health in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (N.B. Chief Public Health Office Dr. David Butler-Jones is actually attending on her behalf).
Here is my translation (from French) of an excerpt of Quach's question:
"The World Health Organization recognizes that social inequalities lead to inequities when it comes to health. The costs are astronomical.
Can the Minister of Health explain to us why she is not participating in this international meeting?"
According to the "Blues", which is the quick transcript of what happened during Question Period emailed to the Parliamentary Press Gallery and others a couple of hours after it happens, Aglukkaq responded with the following:
"Mr. Speaker, we do participate in a number of conferences internationally. Most recently, we were at a conference in New York, at the United Nations, on the declaration around poverty reduction initiatives across countries.
The government has worked hard to protect and promote the health and safety of all Canadians who make huge investments internationally, as well as here in Canada."
What the transcript does not show is that it took Aglukkaq a few seconds to remember the name of that international body that hosted that conference she was at in New York last month. Aglukkaq said the name of the city but then stumbled for a few moments before looking down at her notes and remembering: "the United Nations".