Opposition parties demand Trudeau government release secret documents on fired Winnipeg scientists

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National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg on June 17.Shannon Vanres/

Federal opposition parties moved quickly on the first day of a new parliament to force the Liberal government to release secret documents on the shooting of two scientists from Canada’s highest-security laboratory.

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Conservative House leader Gerard Deltel made an effort on Tuesday to revive a House of Commons order that required the government to disclose records that could shed light on why Ottawa expelled Gaya and then removed from Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory, Jiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keiding Cheng. in Winnipeg.

He raised an issue of privilege to challenge the authority of the House to find the government in contempt of parliament from Speaker Anthony Rota when in court in June in an unprecedented move to block the release of documents to the speaker. Have been taken. During the ensuing election campaign, the government withdrew the court’s challenge.

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If the Speaker finds a prima facie case of privilege, the Conservatives, backed by the NDP, Bloc Québécois and Green parties, would support a motion to issue warrants for the documents. The Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons will execute the warrant.

“After all, it is well established that sergeants-at-arms can seize a human being when ordered to fail to appear, it certainly follows that he can confiscate inanimate documents. which were not given as ordered,” Mr Deltell told Home.

Opposition parties want documents on Winnipeg sacked scientists when parliament resumes

Liberal Government House leader Mark Holland argued against the privilege issue, saying it would have to start by adopting another resolution in the new parliament to force opposition parties to release the documents. This is because the previous parliament was dissolved in August at the start of the 2021 election campaign.

The government warned that disclosure of information in documents could endanger national security, and in a June, 2021, court filing said it “could be detrimental to international relations or national defense or national security.”

But the NDP, Bloc and Green parties say the government should reveal information that was one of the last acts of parliament before its adjournment in June, ahead of an election called in August, which returned almost the same minority house. Was.

Dawn Davis, the deputy foreign affairs critic of the NDP, said that the basic principles of the House include democracy, the rule of law and the supremacy of Parliament.

“No government of any kind is entitled to neglect these fundamental principles. … to do so is an act of autocracy and a refutation of the basic principles of our nation for which many people fought and died.”

If a majority of MPs vote to present to the government the documents they consider necessary to fulfill their duty to the people they represent, Mr. Davis said, “it must be complied with, even if No matter how shameful or inconvenient the government of that time may be. Such a request.”

He continued: “Indeed it is often when compliance is most important.”

In July 2019, both the scientists lost their security clearance and the RCMP was called in to investigate. He was sacked in January 2021.

Mr Davis and Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong said they suspected the government was hiding politically shameful information behind national security to protect Canadians from being exposed.

He noted that the government initially claimed that the information could not be released for confidentiality reasons, but then suddenly claimed that releasing the documents would endanger national security.

The RCMP has reported that the RCMP is investigating whether two sacked scientists gave Canadian intellectual property to China, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The investigation focused on the possibility that materials such as plasma DNA molecules, which could be used to recreate vaccines or viruses, were transferred to Chinese authorities without the approval of Canada’s Public Health Agency.

The Granthshala has also reported that Ms Qiu, who leads the vaccine development and anti-viral therapy section at the Winnipeg lab, collaborated on scientific papers with military researchers from China. (The RCMP has been informed that the scientists have relocated to China.)

More than 250 pages of records have been withheld from lawmakers entirely, and hundreds of others have been partially censored.

They also relate to the March, 2019, transfer of samples of the deadly virus to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was supervised by Ms. Qiu.

The government had earlier said it would hand over only unverified documents to a body called the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliament, which is not a committee of Parliament. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has the power to prevent the Committee from releasing information to the public if he is of the opinion that it would harm national security, national defense or international relations.

Earlier this month, The Granthshala asked Mr Rota how he would rule if the matter was asked to reconsider. “If Parliament requests something and it is their right, the Speaker has to rule accordingly,” he said at the time.

Find out what’s happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary, handpicked by Granthshala editors (clients only). ,

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