LILLEY: Trudeau claims racism when grilled about Chinese military scientists

Author of the article:Brian Lilley Publishing date:May 27, 2021  

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 18, 2021.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 18, 2021. PHOTO BY BLAIR GABLE /REUTERS

You know that you’re on to something when Justin Trudeau throws around accusations of racism.

That’s where Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives found themselves on Wednesday as they asked questions about security at Canada’s top microbiology lab and the partnership with scientists tied to the Chinese military.

Apparently, in the eyes of the prime minister, asking what he’s doing to ensure espionage isn’t happening at Canada’s most dangerous and most secure lab is an anti-Asian hate crime.

“In order to work at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, you need a security clearance. In order to work with human pathogens, like Ebola, in that lab, you need a higher level of security clearance,” O’Toole said. “Can the prime minister tell this House, how a person with deep connections to the Chinese military obtained a high-level Canadian security clearance?”

Trudeau didn’t even attempt to answer the question but spoke about how he couldn’t comment on two scientists who were recently fired from the lab over security concerns first raised by CSIS. I think that given what takes place at the lab, Canadians deserve to know more about these two scientists but also about others, like Chinese military scientists, being given access.

That is what O’Toole was asking about.

As the Globe and Mail reported last week, there have been many collaborations between the NML in Winnipeg and researchers from China, many with ties to the government or military. Feihu Yan, a researcher with the People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, was cleared to work at the Level 4 facility, the only one of its kind in Canada.

Most Canadian scientists couldn’t get into that lab, but a scientist with the Chinese military was given clearance. Now two of the people he worked with, Dr. Xiangguo Qiu and her biologist husband, Keding Cheng, have been fired with claims that CSIS was concerned they were handing over intellectual property to the Chinese government and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

These are the types of things that should be questioned, repeatedly, until real answers are given. Yet, as O’Toole and his fellow Conservative MPs raised questions, Trudeau became frustrated and resorted to claims of racism.

O’Toole used all five of his questions at the beginning of question period to ask Trudeau about increasing security at the lab, ensuring that people with ties to China’s People’s Liberation Army were not given access and more. Each time, Trudeau gave the vaguest of answers and when other Conservative MPs joined the fray, he accused the party of racism.

“Will he bar scientists who are sent here from the Chinese government and the Chinese military from accessing sensitive Canadian research facilities?” Conservative MP Michael Barrett asked.

Trudeau responded that the government takes security seriously before launching his broadside.

“We will not give in to pandering to anti-Asian racism. We have seen enough of a rise in intolerance across the country these past months. We need to continue to stand strong in supporting diversity,” Trudeau said.

Here’s a message for Trudeau, diversity doesn’t include allowing China’s military into labs that we won’t allow most Canadian scientists and researchers into. Diversity doesn’t include letting China steal Canada’s secrets, or worse, material that could be used for biological weapons.

Trudeau made the same claim of racism against Conservative MPs Pierre Paul-Hus and Candice Bergen.

“I am not surprised the prime minister just hurls insults of racism, it’s his usual tactic,” Bergen said after Trudeau’s smear.

Sadly, she’s right.

We have a real issue of security to deal with here, two scientists with a long tenure at the NML, with access to the most sensitive of materials, have been fired over national security concerns. We have Chinese military scientists with access to this same material and Trudeau’s reply is to equate this to a hate crime, a beating in the street.

Trudeau is not a serious man and not fit to be the leader of a G7 nation. His answers to these most delicate questions only prove that.

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