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Former Obama security adviser calls on Canada to show global COVID-19 leadership

Last Updated Apr 3, 2020 at 3:46 pm EDT

White House adviser Gayle Smith attends a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, on President Barack Obama administration's response to Ebola in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House compound in Washington on Nov. 13, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Manuel Balce Ceneta

OTTAWA — A former top Obama adviser says Canada has shown a disciplined, science-based approach to the COVID-19 crisis and should pursue greater international leadership on global health issues in the fight to control the novel coronavirus.

Gayle Smith tells The Canadian Press that she laments the Trump administration’s decision to disband a special office in the National Security Council to monitor global health threats.

She says she thinks that has led to an “ad hoc” response to the COVID-19 outbreak by the U.S. government.

Smith also says Canada and the U.S. must work together to fight the pandemic because neither country will benefit if only one can overcome it.

She was speaking Friday, when the Minnesota-based 3M said the Trump administration is trying to prevent it from exporting its N95 respirator masks as governments around the world struggle to buy important medical equipment.

Smith, now the president of the advocacy group the ONE Campaign, previously served as head of the U.S. Agency for International Development and as special assistant to former president Barack Obama on his security council.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press