Erin O’Toole, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, is taking the federal government to task over its mishandling in procuring documents on the firing of two Canadian scientists with suspected ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“Let’s go back to July 2019,” he begins. “Two scientists with ties to the Chinese military were escorted out of the Winnipeg virus laboratory. This is a level 4 laboratory that Canada uses to research some of the world’s most deadly pathogens and viruses,” he said.
He questioned how they were approved to work at this facility despite these ties to a foreign regime with a longstanding history of gross human rights abuses. “How did they get approval to bring students from China, with even more direct contact with the Chinese military, to come to help them with the research?” asked O’Toole. He argues this is a story about some of the world’s deadliest pathogens and espionage.
He said this should concern all Canadians because it reveals how “totally disconnected” the Trudeau government is from the risks in the modern security environment.
“Let’s talk about that,” said O’Toole, who points out that Xiangguo Qiu — one of the fired scientists — sent 30 vials of 15 different strains of ebola and henipavirus to Wuhan, China — where the COVID-19 pandemic originated.
In 2018, the scientists started bringing students with “deep connections to the Chinese military” from China to do work on this virus research. In 2019, they sent dangerous virus samples to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“We know from public records, like patent documents, that the work being done by these scientists specifically was on ‘gain of function’ for viruses. That’s where they’re actually trying to improve the efficacy of a virus, its transmissibility, and in some cases, in bioweapons research, its deadliness,” said O’Toole.
He questioned who provided the two scientists with authority to transfer dangerous, deadly viruses. “Who authorized this high level of cooperation and collaboration with the Chinese military?”
CSIS advised Prime Minister Justin Trudeau not to engage with this partnership because of the risk of bioweapons research. But the advice fell on deaf ears. The global inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 is looking at Wuhan.
O’Toole admits that the two viruses sent are not compatible with COVID-19. However, he still stressed that the lab Canada continues to collaborate with is being looked at by the Biden administration and many of Canada’s allies.
“At a time where we have the two Michaels in prison, [where] we see a genocide being committed against the Uyghur Muslim population, and the [ongoing] situation in Hong Kong, the Trudeau government partners in virology research between our top laboratory and the laboratory in Wuhan,” he adds.
O’Toole states Canada is in a vulnerable position already with the Five Eyes on Huawei and failing to uphold NATO commitments. In addition, “we’re not trusted” by the Americans on trade when it comes to technology transfer with state-owned enterprises from China.
He accused the federal government of a cover-up and insists that they’re in contempt of Parliament.
“They’ve thrown a leading, lifetime civil servant under the bus for the first time in a century. An order of parliament, for the first time, was completely disregarded by Justin Trudeau. And, in the process, hiding the truth from Canadians about what partnership was being done in the Winnipeg lab,” said O’Toole.
“Canadians deserve answers. They deserve an end to the cover-ups. But, most importantly, Canadians deserve a government that will always put our public safety, always put the national interest and well-being of Canadians first,” he concludes.