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Ignoring the will of Parliament—What happened in a Manitoba virology lab?

Sat, Jul 10, 2021

It hasn’t happened in over 100 years in the House of Commons and its now setting up for a showdown between Parliament and the Courts. Who will come out on top?

This is a saga of twists and turns. Back in March, a House of Commons Committee asked the head of the Public Health Agency of Canada to produce documents regarding two Chinese scientists at the National Virology Lab in Winnipeg. It was unclear why the two scientists were escorted out of the building and dismissed.

The head of the Agency, Iain Stewart, refused as it could have potentially sensitive or injurious information. He was admonished in the House for the refusal, but it sparked a bizarre situation where the sitting Liberals are suing the Speaker of the House to keep those documents secret.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Party take the Speaker, who is also a member of the same party, to Court. It brings up a number of issues… Which is supreme, the courts or Parliament? As well, what are Chinese scientists working on at Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory and why it’s so secret as to their removal? 

Listen to the podcast, read the articles and then cast your vote and email your MP to tell them why you think what you do. This is a national security issue so its important our MPs hear from us. 


Listen Up
  • Steven Chaplin

    former Senior Parliamentary Counsel for the House of Commons and uOttawa Faculty of Law member
  • Elliot Tepper

    Dr. Tepper is a veteran professor of comparative politics and international relations at Carleton University. He regularly provides media commentary at home and abroad on a wide range of topics, providing context and deep background to the news stories of the day.
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