Parliament Inquiry in Winnipeg Lab by Conservatives

Nikita Pradhan
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A parliamentary committee has agreed to interrogate crucial witnesses regarding the collaboration between two scientists studying deadly viruses at a specialized lab in Winnipeg and China.

Conservative MP Michael Chong proposed a motion to the Canada-China committee on Tuesday morning, urging an investigation into the recent release of federal documents concerning the dismissal of two scientists, Dr Xiangguo Qiu and her husband Keding Cheng, from the National Microbiology Lab.

Operating as a Level 4 lab, the Winnipeg institution is authorized to handle some of the most hazardous pathogens globally.

“I believe the government must establish robust security protocols to prevent another national security breach akin to what occurred at the Winnipeg lab,” stated Chong following the committee meeting on Tuesday.

We started a poll on our Scoop Canada YouTube Channel, seeking our subscribers to vote on their opinions about whether is it bad for Canada to let Winnipeg Lab collaborate with China. Give your valuable votes by clicking here

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Disclosures and Suspicions

After a prolonged struggle to obtain information regarding Qiu and Cheng, the federal government disclosed hundreds of documents regarding the case last month. These documents revealed that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) became suspicious in September 2018 after Qiu was listed as the inventor on a Chinese patent potentially containing scientific data produced in Canada.

This prompted a review by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), which ultimately concluded that Qiu had been dishonest and was “intentionally” sharing scientific information and materials with China, posing a potential risk to public health.

The intelligence service also suspected Cheng of providing untruthful information during interviews and collaborating with a restricted visitor at PHAC linked to the People’s Liberation Army of China.

The couple were escorted out of the facility in July 2019 and had their security clearances revoked. Their dismissals were officially announced in January 2021, sparking concerns regarding Chinese espionage and prompting demands in Parliament for further information.

Inquiry into Red Flags and Delayed Security Measures

“The documents indicate that a red flag was raised in September 2018. We aim to ascertain whether this was the initial warning sign detected by the government or if earlier red flags were disregarded and left unaddressed,” Chong emphasized.

“It took ten months for the government to secure the Winnipeg lab. What led to this delay? What hindered the flow of information and intelligence within the government, resulting in the delayed security measures?”

Health Department

Establishment of a Second Level 4 Lab

As reported by CBC News, Canada is on the brink of establishing a second Level 4 lab. The University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), housing Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research, is undergoing renovations to accommodate human and animal pathogens.

“Before proceeding with the establishment of a second Level 4 lab in Canada, we must ensure that adequate processes and procedures are in place to safeguard national security,” Chong asserted.

Chong’s motion was unanimously approved on Tuesday with minor adjustments.

The motion demands that several key figures, including the head of departmental security at PHAC, CSIS director David Vigneault, the prime minister’s national security adviser Nathalie Drouin, and cabinet members such as Health Minister Mark Holland and Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, respond to inquiries from committee members.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has been investigating Qiu and Cheng since 2019.

According to reports by The Globe and Mail, Qiu and Cheng are currently employed in China.

Last Updated on by Nikita Pradhan

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