TORONTO – Canada’s House of Commons voted to reappoint a special committee to examine the country’s ties with China, despite opposition from the ruling Liberal Party.
The relevant motion was tabled by the opposition Conservative Party and supported by the other major factions – the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Bloc Quebecois. In a late Monday vote, the House passed the motion by 168 votes to 155, all from the Liberal group.
It was also the first time the NDP had broken with the Liberals, even since they signed a “confidence accord” this March under which they are to coordinate in the House of Representatives and committees and ensure the government is led by Minister Justin Trudeau is completing his full term, which runs until 2025.
According to the motion, the House of Representatives will appoint the Special Committee with “a mandate to conduct hearings to study and review all aspects of Canada-PRC relations, including but not limited to diplomatic, consular, legal, security and economic relations.” “.
It will consist of 12 members, six each from the ranks of the ruling party and six from the opposition.
In a statement, the two MPs who introduced the motion, Conservatives Michael Chong and Pierre Paul-Hus, said that “Beijing’s communist government continues to threaten and attack democracy and human rights activists in the Chinese community here in Canada. Beijing’s communist leadership also poses a threat to Canada’s national interests and security, and to our values.”
They added that its “establishment is taking place while we await the Trudeau administration’s long-promised and overdue Indo-Pacific strategy.”
The committee was first formed in 2019 but had yet to be reappointed after the national elections in September 2021.
The ruling was met with embarrassment in the last parliament, when then Health Canada President Iain Stewart was reprimanded by House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota in June 2021 for refusing to release documents on the reasons behind the dismissal of two scientists of Chinese origin from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg in January 2020.
Xiangguo Qiu and her husband Keding Cheng were previously escorted out of the lab in the spring of 2019, amid reports swirling that she was overseeing shipments of Ebola and Henipah viruses to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, now synonymous with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Efforts to obtain these documents are being resumed by a special committee, and the Trudeau administration is expected to continue to oppose their disclosure on national security grounds.