The Commons Commission has created an unedited document by the President of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) relating to the transfer of a deadly virus to the Wuhan Institute of Veterinary Medicine in China and the dismissal of two Chinese scientists by the agency. I blamed him for not being able to do it.
The Standing Committee on Canada-China Relations has summoned Ian Stuart to testify on Monday after not preparing an unedited document. March 31..
The motion called for PHAC to submit all information and documents related to the shipment of live Ebola and henipavirus from Winnipeg’s National Institute of Microbiology to the Wuhan Institute of Veterinary Medicine in China in March 2019. He took Xiangguo Qiu, the scientist responsible for shipping the virus, her husband Keding Cheng, and her students from China. Both Qiu and Cheng had their security clearances revoked in July 2019, a few months later.
However, PHAC was unable to create an unedited document by the deadline of April 26, and instead presented only the edited document.
At a hearing on Monday, Stewart said he did not create an unedited document. Privacy law jeopardizes national security and ongoing investigations by the RCMP.
His answer was similar to what he gave during the previous testimony of the Commission. March 22..
“We don’t want to be uncooperative or unresponsive,” Stewart said. “The reason we do that is because, as civil servants, we are bound by law to keep confidential information confidential.”
Conservative Rep. Michael Chong argued that privacy law has provisions that allow disclosure of personal information in some cases.
“To Section 8 (2) (c), [it] “For the purpose of complying with subpoenas or warrants issued or ordered by a court, individual or body having jurisdiction to enforce the creation of information, or for the purpose of complying with the rules of the court relating to the creation of information.” It states. Chung said.
“We, as this committee, have jurisdiction over the creation of information,” added a diplomatic critic.
Also, members of the Commission, backed by Parliamentary Justice Philip Duflesne, have constitutional powers to order the writing of documents they like, and their powers take precedence over any other law. Claims.
Stewart’s legal adviser, Christian Roy, objected, saying the Justice Department did not recognize the Commission’s authority to enforce documents in violation of privacy or other laws.
Then the Conservative MP Garnett Genuis 2010 decision According to former Commons speaker Peter Milliken, who discovered that MPs have the right to look for uncensored documents related to the treatment of Afghan detainees by the Harper government.
“Are you in the same position as a Milliken speaker?” Genuis asked Roy, Secretary-General of the Justice Department and Senior Advisor for Health and Legal Affairs.
“I don’t think I can square the two in the sense that my memory of Milliken’s decision ultimately asked the parties to discuss the problem and come up with a solution,” Roy replied.
“You tell this committee that your position is different from that of Milliken Speaker. Do you think Milliken Speaker had the power to make that decision? And his decision is the power of law. Do you think there is? ”Conservative lawmakers followed up.
“I believe Chair Milliken has the power to make a decision, which applies to the legislature, in essence, the legislature,” Roy replied.
“The chair ruled that the Parliamentary Commission has the right to send a document saying that you are not in your position … I do not understand that you are now done by the legal authorities. If you’re taking a different position than you were, do you still think your position is still legally correct? Genuis has been pushed.
“My memory is that the facts were different and the order in which they were issued was different,” Roy replied.
“Mr. Roy, I think you have defeated your claim, just as you admitted that your position is inconsistent with the speaker’s decision. The speaker has the right to make a decision.” But you still want to continue to oppose it. “
Foreign Minister Robert Olifant, Parliamentary Secretary, questioned Roy’s legal opinion and suggested that Stewart “get a second opinion.”
“I don’t think the Justice Department is giving you the best advice, so I think we need a second opinion,” Olifant said. “Lawyers are not always right. Justice lawyers are especially in my head and are not always right.”
Bloc Québécois Rep. Stephane Bergeron told Stewart that he did not respect the demands and goodwill of Congressmen.
“I imagine you wouldn’t dare to send an edited document or refuse to answer in court. Here, Congress is acting like a court,” Bergeron said. He said.
“Parliamentarians understand that there is personal information that should not be disclosed publicly … if they are related to national security questions or questions related to ongoing criminal investigations. Therefore, We have provided an option to convey this information to us under the protection of in-camera sessions so that we do not share this information with the general public.
“But as a member of parliament against you, despite making that offer, you chose not to respond to any of the requests from members of parliament,” he added.
Due to Stewart’s non-disclosure approach, the Commission unanimously voted to require PHAC to provide all unedited documents within 10 days. The legal counsel then reviews it and advises the committee on what can be published.
If the agency does not resubmit the unedited document, the Commission will request an order to submit it to the House of Commons.
With files from Canadian Press