Poilievre claims Trudeau 'covered up' lab leaks, won 2021 election with China's help

'He called a snap election to make sure the voting would happen before this came out,' Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said of Trudeau. 'What happened that election? Beijing interfered to help him win.'

Poilievre claims Trudeau 'covered up' lab leaks, won 2021 election with China's help
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick and The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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Official Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre took Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to task for dropping the ball on two scientists who gave China confidential, virulent materials.

“We already knew that Justin Trudeau was not worth the cost, the crime, the corruption and the cover-up,” started Poilievre. “But now we know that he cannot protect our people or our country.”

In July 2019, two infectious disease researchers, Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, lost their security clearances at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg after they leaked confidential information to China. The husband and wife collaborated with Chinese military researchers on experiments with Ebola, Lassa fever and Rift Valley fever. 

The Public Health Agency gave them their walking papers in January 2021 but never disclosed the reason for their dismissal.

The Trudeau Liberals disclosed a 614-page report confirming Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, had top-level clearance at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg despite being security risks, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

“We've just received these documents that Trudeau has been covering up for years,” Poilievre told reporters.

“Documents related to a massive security breach at the Trudeau government's most sensitive laboratory where the most dangerous viruses and pathogens are studied and handled,” he added.

Evidence showed Cheng sent lab-related emails through an unmonitored Google Mail account despite repeated warnings and gave encrypted USB keys with passwords to “restricted visitors” at the lab.

In one 2018 incident, he received a package from China marked “kitchen utensils” that contained lab proteins that could be used to recreate viruses.

“We now know that a People's Liberation Army official was able to gain personal access, walk in the door, look at computers and have access to all of our most important virological secrets,” said Poilievre.

Whereas Dr. Qiu collaborated with Chinese state agencies, including military researchers on experiments with Ebola, Lassa fever and Rift Valley fever. She notably shipped two exceptionally virulent strains of the Ebola and Henipah viruses to the Wuhan facility, where COVID-19 is alleged to have originated.

She admitted this work could be used for “nefarious purposes such as biological weapons.

“We [also] learned the Trudeau government's head of pathogens was collaborating with members of Beijing's People's Liberation Army who are responsible for bioweapons and bioterrorism,” noted Poilievre.

“Dr. Qiu presents a realistic and credible threat to Canada's economic security when conducting repeated and clandestine meetings with foreign entities.”

On Friday, a reporter asked Trudeau how Chinese scientists, collaborating with China on high-security viruses, are not considered a threat to Canada. He replied: “Our intelligence and security agencies flagged problems at the Winnipeg Labs that were followed up on.”

In 2021, MPs learned that lab managers expressed queasiness over their Chinese contacts. “I have some concerns here,” the Lab’s scientific director wrote in a 2018 staff email.

Health Minister Mark Holland could not justify Dr. Qiu and Cheng’s hiring before the media on Wednesday. “There was lax adherence to the security protocols that were in place,” he told reporters.

“There was, going back several years now, an enormous amount of concern about events that happened at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg,” Holland said.

Also, before the media, Trudeau acknowledged China is trying to “get secrets out of our country,” urging greater vigilance to keep Canadians and their research institutions safe.

The Prime Minister claimed his government undertook “many, many initiatives” on how to move forward appropriately but did not elaborate. Poilievre ultimately condemned Trudeau for not taking action sooner.

“Did he fire anybody? No, no one was fired,” the Conservative MP said.

“Did he call an inquiry to get to the bottom of it? No, he didn't do that either.”

Instead, Trudeau covered it all up, claimed Poilievre. “[Trudeau] defied four parliamentary orders to release these documents … all for national security,” he added.

The federal government withheld the documents for three years, yet the Prime Minister blamed their overdue disclosure on his Tory counterpart.

“Unfortunately, throughout this process, we have seen the Conservative Party, specifically Pierre Poilievre, choosing to spew conspiracy theories and drum up partisan attacks,” said Trudeau.

“Looking for partisan advantage is not just undermining Canadians' trust in the system. but interfering with the ability of Parliament to deal with this,” he added.

Poilievre snapped back: “Not only did [Trudeau] cover it up [and] try to get a vaccine from China, but he also called a snap election to make sure the voting would happen before this came out.” 

“And what happened in that election, Beijing interfered to help him win it. This is a man who says he admires China's basic communist dictatorship.”

“We cannot trust Justin Trudeau to keep our country and its people safe.”

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