Opposition right to be wary of Liberals withholding details about fired Canadian scientists with Wuhan links: expert

DM

OTTAWA — Opposition parties are right to be suspicious of the Liberal government’s efforts to withhold details around the firing of two scientists from a high-security infectious disease lab earlier this year, according to one expert on Parliamentary accountability. For months, the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada has resisted calls to provide information to a Parliamentary committee around why the two Canadian scientists, Xiangguo Qiu and Keding Cheng, were fired in January. The committee’s latest efforts on Monday to view documents related to the firings have also been resisted by the government, who says it would breach the Privacy Act and jeopardize national security. Kathy Brock, professor at Queen’s University and an expert on issues of Parliamentary process and accountability, said the legal argument presented by the federal government could potentially be valid, but nonetheless appears to follow a trend of lacking transparency by the Trudeau government. The Liberals, she said, have refused to release documents related to everything from the SNC-Lavalin scandal, to calls for a partial disclosure of contracts signed with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, citing cabinet confidences and the need to protect commercial sensitivity, respectively. Government has also redacted documents tied to the WE Charity scandal as well as recent calls for more details around the procurement practices of Shared Services Canada.

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