The Trudeau government wants the Federal Court to intervene and prevent the disclosure of documents regarding the firing of two federal scientists accused of collaborating with China.
Prior to the censure of Public Health Agency of Canada president Iain Stewart on Tuesday, court filings show that Attorney General David Lametti submitted an application declaring that the documents contained “information which if disclosed would be injurious to international relations or national defence or national security.”
House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota was named as the respondent in the application and the matter could eventually reach a public hearing.
The Conservatives have been pressuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to disclose a trove of files related to the removal of Xiangguo Qiu and Kending Cheng from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.
Prior to Monday’s censure, Stewart had refused to obey three prior government orders by the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations to disclose the documents.
Liberal Health Minister Patty Hajdu has also refused to oblige fellow parliamentarians claiming that national security reasons prevent the government from releasing the files.
Both scientists were escorted out of the federal facility following an RCMP raid in 2019.
The government has refused to reveal the exact nature of Kending and Xiangguo’s dismissal but claim that it does not have to do with the scientists sending samples of deadly viruses like Ebola and Henipah to the Wuhan Institute of Virology upon request.
According to media reports, several scientists employed at the lab also collaborated with researchers tied to China’s People’s Liberation Army.