OTTAWA -- The House of Commons is giving the Public Health Agency of Canada 48 hours to turn over unredacted documents related to the shipment of viruses sent from a Canadian lab to Wuhan, China in 2019 and the subsequent firing of two scientists.

The request is laid out in a Conservative motion sponsored by MP Michael Chong, which was passed in Parliament on Wednesday with 179 MPs voting in favour of the call and 149 voting against it. The NDP and Bloc Quebecois joined their Conservative colleagues to move it ahead.

The motion seeks to clarify whether the removal of Dr. Xiangguo Qiu and Dr. Keding Cheng from Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory in July 2019 is connected to the fact that four months earlier, Qiu sent a shipment of Ebola and Henipah viruses to China's Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The agency terminated the two doctors in January, but didn’t provide a reason for the decision, only to say that an investigation was carried out and they no longer work there.

The Conservatives have accused the Liberals of jeopardizing Canadians’ national security by allowing research collaboration with “communist China,” and have questioned why the government allowed “two scientists with deep connections to the Chinese military” into Canada’s highest-security lab.

The House of Commons special committee on Canada-China relations is studying the issue and has already received documents from PHAC, but they were largely redacted on the basis of privacy concerns.

The motion also requires that Health Minister Patty Hajdu appear before the committee for at least three hours to discuss the events. It asks that the law clerk and parliamentary counsel review the documents and remove information that could compromise national security or unveil details related to the ongoing RCMP investigation into the issue.

Asked during question period on Wednesday why the government hasn’t compelled PHAC to publically release the documents earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians as being the most fitting avenue to review the information.

“We can all agree that national security issues should be dealt with by parliamentarians through the appropriate avenue. This is exactly the kind of thing that the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians was created for. They should examine these issues,” he said.