Ajax MP urges Tories to reconsider compromise on documents about fired scientists

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Published January 18, 2022 at 3:00 pm

OTTAWA — Government House leader Mark Holland is urging the Conservatives to reconsider their rejection of a compromise proposal that would allow MPs to finally see unredacted documents related to the firing of two scientists at Canada’s highest security laboratory.

In a letter to his Conservative counterpart, Gerard Deltell, Holland repeats his proposal to allow a special all-party, security-cleared committee to review all the documents, aided by three former senior judges who would decide whether any disputed material should be released publicly.

He cites articles by several experts who’ve recently backed the government’s contention that Canada’s national security would be jeopardized by complying with opposition parties’ demands to turn over the documents to a regular committee of MPs who would reserve the right to release whatever material they chose.

The Conservatives have flatly rejected Holland’s proposal but the Bloc Québécois and NDP have not ruled it out.

Just before Christmas, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole announced that he will not name any Tory MPs to the national security and intelligence committee of parliamentarians until the wraps are taken off the documents.

The Conservatives believe the documents will shed light on why scientists Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, were escorted out of Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory in July 2019 and subsequently fired last January.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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