Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to follow my able colleague from Lakeland in this important debate on the House of Commons issuing an order for the production of unredacted versions of documents that have been ordered by the Canada-China committee.
We have a situation where the Liberal government is refusing to provide information that has been lawfully ordered by a parliamentary committee. We see it as a bit of a theme with the government, a bit of an air that the rules do not apply to them. We have seen that before. We saw it when this House issued an order for individuals to appear as witnesses at committee and for the production of documents to committee. The House issued the order, and the government ignored it. It went so far as to have ministers of the Crown order individuals not to appear, contrary to the order of this House.
We have parliamentary committees attempting to do their work to serve as the check against the executive, and the government is hindering that work at every turn. We saw this over the course of the last year when Parliament was prorogued after tough questions were asked of the government last summer regarding the government's fiduciary responsibilities to Canadians and a $912-million contract. It was an ethical quagmire for the Prime Minister and the then finance minister. Then we saw filibustering at committees and now, during a public health crisis, we have had government members even filibustering at the health committee.
We find ourselves on the floor of the House of Commons looking to do the work that a committee has attempted to do in ordering the production of documents on a very important matter. Twice the Canada-China committee has ordered the documents relating to the potential breach at the Winnipeg lab and twice the Liberal government has not followed through on the order of the committee. It provided blacked out documents that do not satisfy the order of a committee, which is again a bit of a theme for the government.
We saw that last summer. The government likes to cite the number of pages that they released to the finance committee during the WE scandal, but it does not talk about how much of it was blacked out or how pertinent the information was and how repetitive the information was, instead of the pertinent information that the committee was seeking and that parliamentarians had rightly requested.
The government is responsible for guarding national security. It is a task that it should hold to the highest level and apply the most serious lens to. Not surprisingly, Canadians are concerned about that. We are seeing that through reporting. That is how this issue has largely come to light, with reporting in publications such as the Globe and Mail. When parliamentarians seek answers for Canadians, the government demonstrates that it has something to hide, perhaps afraid that it has failed in its responsibility to protect the security of Canadians.
We had two scientists who were fired and escorted out of the lab that handles the most dangerous pathogens, the ones that could wipe out a population, a lab with the highest security clearance required to work there. CSIS had raised concerns about two of the individuals who were working there, individuals who were identified as collaborating with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and China's military, and there were questions about pathogens that were sent from the Winnipeg lab to the Wuhan lab.
These are questions that Canadians are concerned about. Of course, we are in the middle of a global pandemic, so Canadians have questions about this. Parliamentarians have questions about this. There have been unanimous decisions across party lines at the Canada-China committee to get answers to these questions, yet the government has refused to exercise its franchise to make sure that parliamentarians are able to do their job. When we are dealing with some of the most deadly viruses, such as Ebola, parliamentarians are going to be concerned and Canadians are going to be concerned.
When the Conservatives addressed these questions to the government, and when I addressed my questions to the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister replied that these types of questions fomented racism. I categorically reject the inference that he made not only about me but about my colleagues. When the Prime Minister conflates criticism of China's government with anti-Asian racism, he is playing right out of the propaganda playbook used by China's communist leadership. Beijing's goal is to conflate legitimate criticism of China's government with intolerance toward anyone of Chinese heritage. It is unacceptable.
My colleagues have said it best, and I will quote them. The member for Steveston—Richmond East said:
Pointing that out is not racism. Suggesting otherwise plays into the propaganda effort of our opponent. That is something of great concern in my home of Richmond. To see our national leadership downplay these concerns is simply shameful. Many critics of the CPP are of Asian descent themselves, either born as equal partners in Canada or having joined the equal partnership as immigrants.
On the same topic, the member for Port Moody—Coquitlam said:
All members should call out racism wherever it exists, but no member, especially the Prime Minister, should ever use this kind of hatred as a tool to distract from his own incompetence. As an Asian-Canadian MP who has combatted racism my whole life, I am appalled by the Prime Minister's audacity to belittle the seriousness and sensitivity of anti-Asian racism.
When the opposition dials in on an area of major concern, a serious issue, the Prime Minister deflects and launches ad hominem attacks.
Long gone are the days of sunny ways and open and transparent government by default. Transparency was a commitment by the government, and we have heard a lot of talk about previous governments. Well, I do not think that members of the government ran, first in 2015 and then again in 2019, saying that they were going to do the same or be just as good. They said, “Better is always possible.” The most transparent government in Canadian history is what they promised. Canadians are seeing anything but that. It is corruption, cover-ups and more of the same from the government.
Canadians deserve a government that is not a defender of the communist Chinese regime, but a government that will stand up for Canadian sovereignty, for national security and for the safety of all Canadians. The Liberals have been willfully blind to threats to our national security from China and are trying to cover them up, and that raises the question of why.
We have in the government the only partner of the Five Eyes that refuses to ban Huawei. Testimony at parliamentary committees yesterday highlighted the risks that are being posed by agents acting on behalf of the Government of China through partnerships with educational institutions and through technology companies. Why will the government not take the step to ban Huawei and demonstrate that it is prepared to stand up to China for Canadians' interests?
Once these documents are ordered, parliamentarians are entitled to them. The rules do apply to the Liberals. They must not only defend Canada's security interests, but also defend the confidence that Canadians have in their democratic institutions. The Conservatives will secure our future by protecting our national security and will continue to hold this corrupt government to account.