N.S. shooting : two agents testify to pressure from Commissioner Lucki

Killing in N.-É. : two agents testify to pressure from Commissioner Lucki

RCMP Chief Superintendent Darren Campbell speaks with Director of the Strategic Communications Unit Lia Scanlan while waiting to appear before the Commons committee on August 16, 2022 in Ottawa. The committee is examining allegations of political interference in the investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia shootings.

Members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security interviewed other witnesses on Tuesday as part of the investigation into whether there was political interference in the 2020 Nova Scotia shooting investigation.

RCMP officers once again raised the issue with supporting written evidence.

At the committee's last meeting, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki had once again denied any political interference on his part.

This time it was the turn of Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada François Daigle to testify that he did not witness any political interference in the RCMP investigation.

If there had been political interference, I would have spoken about it [to the minister], said François Daigle.

The committee wanted to know why all the documents requested by the mass casualties commission were not released at the same time and why the commission was not made aware that 35 pages of documents had been withheld for further review to ensure all personal information was removed.

The Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada, François Daigle, testified before the members of the Committee Public and National Security Permanent, August 16, 2022.

François Daigle acknowledged that there had been a communication error.

Yes, we should have informed the commission that we had withdrawn documents for review, he admitted. But we still intended to submit them.

The Deputy Minister of Justice explained that the process of evaluating the handwritten letters could be longer, that the work was made by a team of lawyers and that the Minister had nothing to do with it.

“The Minister was not involved or concerned with the examination of the documents to be submitted to the commission. »

— François Daigle, Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada

These statements did not convince the Conservative MP for Cumberland—Colchester, Stephen Ellis, who is a member of the Commons committee.

We have no guarantee to give to the families of the victims that all the documents will be produced to the commission, he lamented.

He added that the families of the victims and the citizens of his riding already have very little confidence in the commission.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki appears as a witness before the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday, July 25, 2022.

Constable Darren Campbell and other RCMP members including Communications Officer Lia Scanlan were also called to testify on Tuesday.

Darren Campbell was questioned at length on notes he took at the April 28, 2020 meeting, where he claims Brenda Lucki lobbied for disclosure of information about the weapons used in the killings despite the impact it could have on the investigation.

At that time, investigators were trying to determine if the killer had any accomplices.

I believe the commissioner believed it was more important to release this information, said he said.

He also said that his decision was related to the tabling of the Liberal government's gun control bill.

I was worried at the time about this meeting so I took notes, shared Darren Campbell. He also admitted that he knew that these notes would be public and that they could eventually surface in the public sphere.

I too took notes during this meeting, RCMP communications officer Lia Scanlan said.

Lia Scanlan is the strategic director of the RCMP's communications unit. In her testimony before the parliamentary committee, she came to support her colleague Darren Campbell and his fears of political interference in the investigation of the 2020 massacre in Nova Scotia.

To l& #x27;out of this meeting, what I deduced was that [for the commissioner] the risks [of disclosing information on the investigation] did not seem significant, shared the agent.

She said she believed Commissioner Brenda Lucki was acting with full knowledge of the facts.

She believes the system needs to be redesigned to ensure the RCMP remains completely independent of government.

She agrees that the government must be informed through the commissioner, but in her opinion more effort is needed to avoid blurring the lines.< /p>

The words should be carefully considered, and if they are vague, you should be more specific so that you never find yourself in a situation like today again, a- she said.

The Conservative MPs on the committee would like to call other witnesses to try to find out who would be behind the possible pressure exerted by Commissioner Lucki and behind her decision to divulge certain confidential information outside the RCMP forces.

A committee meeting is scheduled for September to discuss the relevance of additional testimony in this investigation.

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