N.S. shooting and gun control: Blair reiterates that there was no interference
Allegations of Liberal government interference were raised in documents filed as evidence at the Public Inquiry Commission into the shooting.
Former Public Safety Minister Bill Blair admits his cabinet worked with the RCMP on Liberal bill to toughen gun control, announced in May 2020, but he claims these conversations had “no connection” to discussions of the Nova Scotia killings.
Mr. Blair was once again answering questions on Wednesday about conversations he had with Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Brenda Lucki in the days following the April 2020 killings. , and the possibility that he pressured her into disclosing the type of weapons used by the killer.
Allegations of Liberal government interference were raised in documents filed as evidence at the public inquiry into the shooting. These include handwritten notes from Nova Scotia RCMP Superintendent Darren Campbell and a letter to Commissioner Lucki written by RCMP Director of Strategic Communications Lia Scanlan.
Both Mr. Blair and Ms. Lucki have denied that the Liberal government pressured federal police to disclose the nature of the weapons used in the killings. They also assure that neither they nor the RCMP in Nova Scotia released this information to the public before it was reported by the media in November 2020.
For Bill Blair, the RCMP was simply an integral part of the effort to coordinate the operation leading to the establishment of a new framework for the possession of firearms in the country.< /p>
Obviously the RCMP was involved in these discussions from the beginning because it is responsible for the administration of the Canadian Firearms Program, insisted Mr. Blair.
Criminologist Michael Arntfield, himself a former police officer, argues that had there been interference, it is unclear how it would have impacted police operations or the course of the investigation.< /p>
More importantly, he says, the crusty political scandal is currently distracting from what must be at the heart of the commission's investigation into the killings: why and how a man dressed as a policeman escaped. to the police and continue to kill for more than 13 hours with illegal weapons.
The Conservatives have accused the Liberals of using the tragedy to impose their political agenda. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh added last week that it was unacceptable for any government to use this horrific killing to drum up support for its gun bill.
However, from a survivor's perspective, one can see things differently.
Heidi Rathjen was a student at the Polytechnic School of Montreal in December 1989 when the tragedy occurred where 14 women were killed and 14 others injured. In his view, the reaction to the killings should be political and immediate.
Conservatives and pro-gun lobbies alike claimed the executive orders were some kind of opportunistic political strategy that exploited a tragedy, when for the majority of Canadians, banning assault weapons means the right thing to do to prevent killings, she commented in an emailed response to The Canadian Press.
If it took a tragedy to force the government to act on the control of weapons demanded for a very long time, it looks rather like a sad observation on the policy, but it is surely a good thing for the safety of the population, she added.< /p>
Ms. Rathjen, who heads the PolySeSouvient group, says she would have loved to see the government react immediately after what happened at the Polytechnique.
Unfortunately, it took six years of struggle before we saw a reasonable law on the control of s guns to be adopted, and the families of the victims are still fighting for a total ban on assault weapons three decades later.