The Commons public safety committee will hold special summer hearings to probe Canada's spy chief's allegations that a number of Canadian politicians are being influenced by foreign states.
Mark Holland, the Liberal public safety critic, said Friday that all of the opposition members who are part of the committee have signed a motion demanding it be recalled.
Richard Fadden, head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, caused an uproar this week when he said in a CBC report that two unnamed provincial cabinet ministers and a number of municipal politicians from British Columbia are being influenced by foreign governments.
In the interview, Mr. Fadden said he had discussed the matter with the Privy Council Office, which is the bureaucratic arm of the Prime Minister's Office. He retracted that statement the following day.
If Mr. Fadden did raise the concerns with the Privy Council, Canadians need to know why the allegations have not surfaced previously and why he saw fit to issue a retraction, Mr. Holland said in a telephone interview.
On the other hand, he said, if Mr. Fadden "just went crazy one day and started saying things that had no basis in fact, then we've got a real problem. We've got a director of our intelligence agency that's gone rogue."
It is unclear whether Mr. Fadden would appear at the public safety committee meeting that is likely to be held next week. But opposition members have made it clear they will call him to testify.
The Conservatives may not relish the idea of having the CSIS director hauled in during the summer recess to answer the questions of opposition MPs, but they have little say in the matter.
When four or more members of a Commons committee ask that a special meeting be called, the chairman - in this case, Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz - must comply. The meeting must be held within five days of the motion landing in Mr. Breitkreuz's hands, something Mr. Holland said he hopes will happen on Monday.
Commons committees, which are dominated by opposition MPs, have proven to be an irritant to the minority government of Mr. Harper.
Special meetings of the Commons health committee were convened last summer to expose flaws in the government's preparations for the pandemic flu. And it was a Commons committee that was the source of the most embarrassing allegations about the government's handling of the Afghan detainee crisis - a committee that was silenced temporarily through prorogation.
Don Davies, the New Democrat from Vancouver who is the vice-chair of the public safety committee, said there are many reasons why he has signed the motion to hold special meetings to look into Mr. Fadden's allegations.
"I think there are serious aspersions [that have been]cast at a number of the ethnic communities, particularly the Chinese-Canadian community, that I think can't be left unchallenged," Mr. Davies said. "These broad-brushed allegations that smear an entire class of people."