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Compromise proposed to allow opposition MPs to see documents on fired scientists

·1 min read

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is proposing a compromise over a long-running dispute with opposition parties over the disclosure of documents related to the firing of two scientists at Canada's highest security laboratory.

Government House leader Mark Holland is proposing that a special committee of MPs from all parties, all with security clearance, be allowed to view the unredacted documents.

A panel of independent arbiters, made up of three former judges, would decide what material can be publicly released and what information should be redacted or summarized.

Holland says this is a reasonable approach, similar to what was done in 2010 to allow opposition MPs to see documents related to Afghan detainees.

Opposition parties in the previous parliamentary session banded together to pass repeated motions demanding that the Public Health Agency of Canada turn over all unredacted documents related to the firing of scientists Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng.

The government applied to the Federal Court of Canada in June to prevent release of the documents, which it maintained would be injurious to international relations, national defence and national security; it dropped the case when the election was called in August.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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