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PHAC President Rebuked, Still Doesn’t Produce Documents on Fired Scientists

Brittany Jordan

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President of the Public Health Agency of Canada Iain Stewart, right, approaches the bar in the House of Commons to be admonished by the Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 21, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

OTTAWA—Conservatives are proposing that the Public Health Agency of Canada’s offices be searched after the head of the agency refused once again to hand over unredacted documents related to the firing of two scientists from Canada’s highest security laboratory

The move comes after PHAC president Iain Stewart appeared before the bar of the House of Commons, where he was reprimanded by Speaker Anthony Rota for refusing to comply with a House order to produce the documents.

He still didn’t provide the documents, despite being subjected to the public shaming—a procedure that, until now, hadn’t been used against a private citizen for more than a century.

Stewart has repeatedly said he can’t release the documents because he has a legal obligation as a veteran public servant to protect national security and privacy rights.

Conservative House leader Gerard Deltell says there must be consequences for Stewart’s continued flagrant flouting of the House order; he’s proposing that Rota direct the Commons’ sergeant-at-arms to search PHAC offices to obtain the documents.

New Democrats have signalled their support for the proposal; the Bloc Québécois has reserved its decision.

 

Brittany Jordan is an award-winning journalist who reports on breaking news in the U.S. and globally for the Federal Inquirer. Prior to her position at the Federal Inquirer, she was a general assignment features reporter for Newsweek, where she wrote about technology, politics, government news and important global events around the world. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Toronto Star, Frederick News-Post, West Hawaii Today, the Miami Herald, and more. Brittany enjoys food, travel, photography, and hoarding notebooks and journals. Her goal is to do more longform features journalism, narrative writing and documentary work, and to one day write a successful novel and screenplay.

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