PHAC ordered to hand over documents on two fired scientists, viruses sent to China


A parliamentary committee is ordering the Public Health Agency of Canada to turn over all documents related to the firing of two scientists from Canada’s highest-security laboratory and the earlier transfer of viruses to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. The House of Commons special committee on Canada-China relations has given the public health agency 20 calendar days to turn over the documents in an unredacted form. After that, committee members will meet behind closed doors with the parliamentary law clerk to determine what can be made public without compromising national security or revealing the details of an ongoing RCMP investigation. Iain Stewart, the president of the federal agency, has refused to explain to the committee why Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, were fired in January. That was 18 months after they were escorted from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, which is Canada’s highest-security laboratory and is designed to deal safely with deadly contagious germs such as Ebola. It was described at the time as a possible policy breach and administrative matter.

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