Commons committee nixes Conservative push for hearings on lab security lapses

OTTAWA — A House of Commons committee has declined to vote on a Conservative request to delve into the activities of two scientists who were fired from a high−security lab over their dealings with China.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong asked the House committee on information, privacy and ethics to call various witnesses, including representatives of the Public Health Agency of Canada.

However, a majority of the committee voted to end debate on the motion after Liberal MP Iqra Khalid said hearings are unnecessary and fall outside the committee’s mandate.

More than 600 pages of internal reports and correspondence about the security matter were made public last week after a special all−party review.

The documents show two scientists at the National Microbiology Laboratory were fired in early 2021 after reviews found they failed to protect sensitive assets and information.

Records say the scientists, Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, played down their collaborations with Chinese government agencies.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2024.

The Canadian Press