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The president of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) was publicly admonished in the House of Commons on Monday for failing to turn over unredacted documents demanded by MPs related to the firing of two scientists at Canada’s highest security lab. In an extraordinarily rare procedural move, PHAC president Iain Stewart was escorted to the bar in the House of Commons chamber where he was reprimanded by House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota, which sparked off a series of tense exchanges between the government and opposition. His admonishment was brought on after PHAC refused to provide further paperwork containing more details related to why scientists Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, were removed from Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory in July 2019 and then later fired by the agency. Opposition parties joined forces last week to pass a Conservative-led motion finding the federal government and PHAC in contempt of Parliament. As part of the motion, Stewart was ordered to bring the documents with him to his admonishment, but he showed up empty-handed Monday.

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