After Trudeau shuts down committee investigation into China lab spying scandal, Conservatives find another option

Mar 27, 2024 | Political News

After the Liberals shut down the Parliamentary ethics committee’s investigation into Chinese spying at a top-secret biological lab in Winnipeg, the Official Opposition Conservatives have found another committee to investigate the matter. At issue is why two Chinese scientists at the Winnipeg National Microbiology Laboratory were able to send classified material back to China while conducting research on Canadian soil.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has strongly condemned the inaction of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his obdurate refusal to release any of the 600 pages of documents relating to the firing of two scientists at the microbiology lab – Dr. Xiangguo Qiu and her husband Keding Cheng – who the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) said were relaying classified documents and materials to communist China – including that country’s People’s Liberation Army. These pages were finally released last month.

When Conservative members of the ethics committee attempted to begin an investigation into the apparent espionage, Liberal and NDP members united to block the action. But on Tuesday, MPs on the Special Committee on the Canada-People’s Republic of China Relationship Committee agreed to proceed with that investigation. 

 

Poilievre says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a snap election in 2021 to avoid any scrutiny over the scandal. 

Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong told the National Post that the investigation will focus on how national security was violated and how the Liberal government covered up the release of the documentation for two years.

“My view is that this is the start of the matter, not the end,” Chong said. “And so really, we’re leaving off where we left three years ago, when the Canada-China committee in the previous parliament asked for the Winnipeg lab documents.

“I believe strongly that the committee is the right place to examine these documents, the right place to hold the government accountable and the right place for us to hear from witnesses and to produce a report with recommendations.”

Expected to appear before the committee will be Minister of Health Mark Holland, Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc, CSIS director David Vigneault, the prime minister’s national security adviser Nathalie Drouin, and Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) directors.

In a January 2021 letter, CSIS noted that “Ms. Qiu developed deep, cooperative relationships with a variety of People’s Republic of China institutions and has intentionally transferred scientific knowledge and materials to China in order to benefit the PRC government.” The committee is planning to schedule two meetings a week for its investigation, beginning when Parliament resumes after the Easter break. 

Liberals on the committee claimed the investigation was all about partisan politics.

“In all seriousness, this cannot turn into a political show. This cannot turn into a process where members are trying to just score political points,” said Liberal MP Yasir Naqvi.

However, the Bloc Québécois and the NDP agreed with the Conservative strategy of having as many meetings and hearing from as many witnesses as possible.

The Post Millennial has reached out to Michael Chong and is awaiting a reply.