The Liberals blocked a motion calling on Ottawa to provide all documents used to justify restricting travel for Canadians during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, during Thursday’s House of Commons transport committee, NDP MP Taylor Bachrach sponsored a motion requesting “a copy of all relevant documents containing public health advice and scientific modeling received by the Minister of Transport” used to justify quarantines, masking, mandatory vaccination and other measures. 

“All of a sudden there was a decision to suspend the mandates without really an explanation of what changed,” Bachrach explained. 

“The way it’s supposed to work is the public health officials provide the advice to the government and then the government takes action. What we’re interested in is when did the public health officials first start advising the government these specific measures were no longer effective and could safely be suspended?”

Liberal MP Churence Rogers cited cabinet confidentiality before shutting down the motion. 

According to Rogers, the government has a right to protect information “that could cause harm” if the public became aware of it. 

“Every government regardless of political stripe needs to protect certain kinds of information for reasons of confidentiality, which I think most members understand, and to protect legally, commercially sensitive information that could cause harm were it to be made public,” said Rogers.

“For us to try to pass a motion that requests ‘all relevant documents,’ I think that’s a bit of a stretch. It sets a precedent is what it does. It sets a precedent which is not good.”

The Liberals have repeatedly resorted to citing cabinet confidentiality in recent weeks to prevent opposition parties from gaining access to confidential information. 

As the inquiry into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s unprecedented use of the Emergencies Act unfolds, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has refused to wave cabinet confidence to unseal the information the government relied upon to invoke the powers. 

“We’ve afforded Justice Rouleau with the power to compel witnesses, information, and documents and, in fairness, we’ve contemplated that he would get access to classified information,” said Mendicino. 

Additionally, lawyers representing the Crown in a case challenging the government’s use of the Act also cited cabinet confidence to prevent civil rights groups from accessing government information. 

Earlier this week, the federal government announced that travel mandates would be suspended beginning on Jun. 20. However, some restrictions still remain –  including mandatory quarantines for the unvaccinated and mandatory proof of vaccination for incoming flights.