The Department of Public Health refuses to disclose uncensored documents at the Winnipeg Virus Laboratory

Since the Public Health Agency of Canada refused to release uncensored internal documents, a Conservative Party member said he would like to know how far Canada and China have gone in cooperating on level 4 pathogens? Why Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory released two federal scientists in January.

Conservative diplomatic commentator Michael Chong said at a special meeting: “We need these documents. We need to know that the Canadian government through the Winnipeg National Laboratory of Microbiology is working on cooperation with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. What.” The parliamentary committee held a hearing on Canada-China relations on Monday evening.

The special committee asks to know why Two federal government scientists accompaniedCanada’s only Level 4 laboratory was established in July 2019, and only four months later, one of them shipped samples of Ebola virus and Henipah virus to Wuhan Institute of Virology in China-CBC News first published these stories.

Two months after the shipment, on May 24, 2019, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) filed an “administrative matter” with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, resulting in the removal of two Chinese research scientists Qiu Xiangguo and her husband Zheng Keding. There are several international students on July 5.

Conservative MP Michael Chong said he wanted to know why the two scientists were released from the National Microbiology Laboratory, why the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating them, and the Winnipeg Laboratory’s counterpart in Wuhan, China. Does the training have anything to do with the origin of the laboratory? The COVID-19 pandemic. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canada Press)

The committee said it wanted to know why Qiu Guoguo and Zheng Keding, who had passed by in January of this year, were released.

“The Canadian public has the right to know the extent of this cooperation, why the two scientists were terminated, and the exact circumstances of the spread of Sinipa virus and Ebola virus and other work and activities between Canadian government agencies? And Wuhan’s Virology Laboratory.”

Despite repeated requests by the committee, PHAC refused to answer these questions Or provide an uncensored internal document stating that it cannot release personal information under federal privacy laws.

Before Monday’s meeting, it did provide the committee with 271 pages of documents, but many of them were reviewed.

PHAC President Iain Stewart (Iain Stewart) “We have deleted information related to personal information, investigations or security matters. The reason we do this is that as civil servants, we have a responsibility to keep confidential information confidential.” Tell the committee.

“This is not to say that we want to be uncooperative or unresponsive. We are doing our best to make it public within the law.”

Iain Stewart, Director of the Public Health Agency of Canada, said that federal privacy laws prohibit him from sharing the personal information of two scientists released by the Winnipeg National Microbiology Laboratory. (National Research Council/Twitter)

Liberal MP Robert Olipant, secretary of the Foreign Minister’s Parliament, told Stewart that he should give a second opinion on this.

He said: “I think the Ministry of Justice has not given you the best advice.”

Stewart did provide more information about the Ebola and Hinipeg samples shipped from Winnipeg to the Wuhan laboratory. He said that the shipment was done well.

He said: “Although this is the only time we have shared virus samples with this particular laboratory, working with laboratories outside of Canada is essential to advance public health research on infectious diseases.”

“Given our position as a viral febrile partner and our knowledge of the regulations and standards for these types of transfers, Winnipeg laboratories are often required to provide for new or existing programs (including laboratories in the United States) material.

“This [National Microbiology Lab] Willing to work with other laboratories to provide materials in a safe, responsible and transparent manner to promote global cooperation, rather than let a specific team monopolize the research on any specific disease. “

Right to know

The conservative human rights critic Garnett Genuis said, Precedents for rulings in 2010 Used to meet the committee’s requirements for unedited documents.

The ruling by the Speaker of the House of Commons found that Harper’s administration violated parliamentary privileges by refusing to provide uncensored documents on the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan. It ordered the transfer of materials to members of Congress.

Chong said that Canadians have the right to know all the background stories, and the committee has the legal right to force the release of unedited documents.

He asked some sharp questions about the work done by the National Microbiology Laboratory to enhance the capabilities of its counterpart in Wuhan, China-some virology laboratories tried to link it to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. These theories have not yet been confirmed.

Chong told the committee: “There are two theories about how the coronavirus appears. One is the theory of zoonotic diseases.” A zoonotic virus is a virus that spreads from animal species to humans.

He continued: “The other is that it somehow came from the laboratory of the Wuhan National Institute of Virology.” “This is not the dark part of the conspiracy on the Internet. These people with high reputation raise very real questions.”

“Fetched ideas”

Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos accused Zhang of spreading false information.

He said: “Mr. Zhong is connecting the dots here. You know, he borrowed from some of the craziest theories on Facebook and other social media in order to present points here that have nothing to do with this committee.”

Olipante said he agreed that the documents should be released, but said Chong’s comments were irresponsible.

“What I disagree with is far-fetched thinking, and even hints at some meaningless connection. And there is something embedded in these documents that will solve the world’s questions about the source of the coronavirus COVID-19,” Olipant Say.

“This is bad wording. I think this is wrong information. I think this is convening an association, not a parliamentary committee. And I think this is just giving way to other people’s minds.” The strangest thought.”

Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory is the only Level 4 laboratory in Canada, capable of dealing with the world’s deadliest pathogens. (Trevor Lyon/CBC)

In an interview with CBC News on Tuesday, Chong clarified and went back a bit, saying that he did not link the Canadian laboratory to the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. He said that he only questioned Canada’s role in training and equipping Wuhan laboratories to obtain Level-4 certification.

“If it turns out that the Wuhan Institute of Virology is the source of the coronavirus that caused this global pandemic, then we need more oversight of the Winnipeg National Microbiology Laboratory and its role in helping build capacity. “Chong said. .

No connection, PHAC says

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and PHAC have always denied that there is any connection between the COVID-19 pandemic and the delivery of the virus. There is no evidence that this shipment is related to the spread of the coronavirus. PHAC said that Ebola is a linear virus and Sinipa is a paramyxovirus. The Winnipeg laboratory has not sent samples of the coronavirus to Wuhan.

The laboratory’s scientific director, Dr. Guillaume Poliquin, told the committee on Monday: “They are actually not related at all, and will not be used or related to SARS-CoV-2.”

At the end of the meeting, committee members passed a motion requesting that unedited copies of all PHAC records on the matter be handed over to the Legal Officer of the House of Commons for review within 10 days.

The committee will then meet in private to determine what can be publicly released.

If PHAC refuses to produce documents, the committee also voted to send the matter to the House of Commons. The council will then be asked to request disclosure.

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