Liberals are asking Conservatives to reconsider their position on Winnipeg Laboratory documents

The government has opposed efforts to release the documents surrounding the firing of two scientists, citing national security implications

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OTTAWA – The leader of the Liberal House, Mark Holland, is once again asking the Conservatives to agree to a compromise on documents that the government wants to keep secret about the firing of two scientists from Canada’s national microbiological laboratory.

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The government has resisted these efforts and cites the national security consequences of releasing the information, even after a joint community vote demanding the documents.

In December, the Netherlands reached out to the Conservatives with a compromise offer to allow a special committee of MPs to examine the documents and take any disagreements over what could be released to a panel of judges. The idea is based on the committee set up in 2010 to review documents related to the transfer of Afghan prisoners of war by Canadian forces.

The Conservatives rejected that offer, but the Netherlands reached out again, claiming it was the only solution to the stalemate.

“MPs would fulfill their responsibility to investigate an issue of public interest and the government would fulfill its obligation to protect Canada,” the Netherlands wrote.

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By rejecting the original offer, Conservative landlord Gerard Deltell said this issue and the Afghan prisoner dispute are not the same. He said the Afghan situation involved thousands of pages and that the release of these documents uncensored “could have harmed the interests of Canada and its NATO allies where our troops were on the ground.”

The Netherlands, in its new letter released on Tuesday, cites several experts on the national security implications of releasing the documents and rejects the idea that the amount of documents matters.

“Protecting national security is a fundamental principle that we must all respect, whether it involves hundreds of pages or thousands of pages.”

This summer, the Liberal Party took the unprecedented step of making the decision that they should submit the documents to the court. Parliament returns at the end of the month. When that happens, if no agreement is reached, the Liberals may face a new decision from the President demanding that they hand over the documents.

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Email: rtumilty@postmedia.com

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