Why such government secrecy behind the Winnipeg lab firings?
Parliament dissolved in the midst of an unprecedented legal battle raging between the Trudeau government and the Speaker of the House over access to uncensored documents that might shed light on a mystery with international intrigue.
It surrounds why two Chinese Communist scientists were fired from the National Microbiology lab in Winnipeg in 2019; and why the government is hiding the reason.
In the Federal Court battle, the Speaker has been standing up for the independence of the House to gain access to documents.
The government has dug in — claiming national security concerns and potential damage to the government and Chinese relations if whatever is contained in the documents is revealed.
A Commons committee has been trying — without success — to gain access to the unredacted original documents from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) which will tell the truth on the firings.
The head of the Agency — Iain Stewart — has refused to hand over unredacted documents related to the case, despite a House order.
The firings that MPs wish to investigate and ask questions about happened starting in July 2019 when Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, were escorted out of the highly secure lab, and had security credentials revoked.
CSIS and the RCMP have been involved in an investigation.
No explanation has been offered about the firings.
What is known is that one of the scientists had a role in the shipping of Ebola and Henipah virus samples to the Wuhan lab in 2019.
It will be up to the next Commons Speaker to decide how to counter the push for secrecy by the government.