Minister Blair denies federal interference in NS shooting investigation
Bill Blair, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness for the Government of Canada, responds to a question in the House of Commons on June 22, 2022.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair both maintained their confidence in RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki on Wednesday as allegations of political interference emerged in the investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia shootings.
Mr. Blair was Minister of Public Safety at the time of the shooting that terrorized Nova Scotians and left 22 people dead in 13 hours on April 18-19, 2020.
A report released Tuesday by the Public Inquiry Commission into the tragedy includes notes from a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) superintendent.
This officer alleges that RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki claimed in a meeting that she had promised Mr. Blair and the Prime Minister's Office that information about the weapons used by the shooter would be made public, as this information was related to a gun control bill.
The same report quotes an RCMP communications director who said Minister Blair and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were intervening in what we could and could not say at federal policing press briefings.
< p class="e-p">Mr. Blair categorically denied that Commissioner Lucki promised to disclose the type of weapons used or that he asked her for this information. He added that he also did not tell anyone what the RCMP should disclose about their investigation.
I tell you and I would tell the Superintendent if I spoke to him: I made no effort to pressure the RCMP to interfere in any way with their investigation, a- he declared. I gave no direction as to what information she should communicate. These are operational decisions of the RCMP, I respect that and I respected it at the time.
Mr Blair, who is currently Minister of Civil Protection, adds that at a press conference the day after the killings, he and Ms Lucki mentioned that the federal police investigation should follow its course. and that in the meantime, it would be inappropriate for the RCMP to release information on the weapons used.
Ministers Blair and Mendicino both maintained their confidence in the leadership on Wednesday. of Mrs. Lucki as head of the federal police.
I think it is important to say that it is a very difficult and demanding job to be an RCMP Commissioner, even on good days, Mr. Mendicino said. The worst mass shooting in Canadian history was probably one of the toughest days not only for law enforcement but for all Canadians.
The Conservatives rejected Mr. Blair's explanations and said they believe Ms. Lucki should also respond to allegations of political interference.
Brenda Lucki, Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
In a statement released Tuesday evening, Lucki said she would never take any action or decision that could jeopardize an investigation . Briefings with the Minister of Public Safety are normal procedure and do not interfere with the independence of the RCMP, she assured.
The Commissioner says that several days after the shooting, she met with RCMP colleagues in Nova Scotia to discuss a number of things…including the flow of information about investigation to RCMP Headquarters and Public Disclosure.
I regret the way I approached the meeting and am sorry for the impact it had on those present, she wrote. My need for information should have better reflected the gravity of the circumstances they were experiencing. I should have been more sensitive in my request.
Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen has called it disgusting that Prime Minister Trudeau and his government are taking advantage of the killing spree to advance their political agenda on gun control. She also said further investigation into the matter was warranted.
According to interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen, Justin Trudeau and his government are trying to use the Nova Scotia massacre to advance their political agenda on gun control.
Minister Mendicino countered that this is precisely what the Public Inquiry Commission is currently doing in Nova Scotia. “I think we absolutely have to continue to be completely candid with Canadians, which is why the Mass Casualty Commission has within its remit an independent means of looking at the circumstances surrounding all of this,” he said. he backed.
Conservative House Leader John Brassard said he will ask MPs to hold an emergency debate in the Commons on the matter and that #x27;he will then ask a Commons committee to look into the matter further.
Tory MP Rick Perkins of Nova Scotia said he had heard from disgruntled fellow citizens before and said he was surprised that Mr. Blair, a former police officer, would question an RCMP member's written account. He suggested notes that can be presented in court are fake, Perkins said.
New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh has also called for a briefing. x27;a thorough investigation of these allegations. The RCMP must always serve the public interest, not the political interest of the government, he argued.