Canada Parliament marks their Health Agency in contempt for withholding documents on China
Washington, Jun 18 (Sputnik) Canada’s House of Commons has voted to find the country’s Public Health Agency (PHAC) in contempt of parliament for failing to turn over unredacted documents related to collaboration with China on deadly pathogens and the firing of two scientists.
On June 2, Canada’s parliament voted to force PHAC to hand over unredacted documents concerning the transfer of Ebola and Henipah viruses from the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the subsequent dismissal of Drs. Xiangguo Qiu and Keding Cheng, who were stripped of their security clearances in the process.
The House of Commons voted 176 to 150 on Thursday to find PHAC “to be in contempt for its failure to obey the order of the House, adopted on June 2, 2021, as well as the orders of the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations adopted on March 31 and May 10, 2021.”
As per the ruling, PHAC President Iain Stewart will have to appear before the House of Commons to receive formal admonishment from the speaker and to turn over the documents in question. Failure to do so could force the government to invoke an enforcement mechanism.
PHAC has previously refused to turn over the documents to the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, which is investigating the affair. It is unclear whether Health Minister Patty Hajdu intends to honor the subpoena order to testify before the committee, which was part of the June 2 order.
The scandal, which Canada’s governing Liberals have likened to a conspiracy theory, resurfaced after a The Globe and Mail news alleged that scientists working at the country’s highest-security infectious-disease laboratory were working with Chinese military researchers to probe and conduct experiments on the deadly viruses.