GUNTER: Political interference should cost commissioner her job

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RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has to go.

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Her willingness to potentially jeopardize the criminal investigation into the worst mass killing in Canadian history, just so she could help the Trudeau government push its gun-control agenda, has so compromised her professionalism that she can no longer be trusted to run our national law enforcement agency impartially.

For nearly a month now, there have been reports that following Gabriel Wortman’s murderous rampage through rural Nova Scotia in April 2020, Lucki pressured senior Nova Scotia Mounties to release details about the firearms Wortman used to kill 22 people. She wanted the list released to bolster public support for the federal Liberal government’s campaign to ban assault rifles.

Nova Scotia officers, it’s been reported, pushed back claiming the premature release of such details could make it more difficult for them to figure out how Wortman (who had no gun licence) could have obtained the five guns he used in the slaughter.

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This week, all the recent speculation was confirmed when Nova Scotia RCMP Chief Superintendent Darren Campbell testified before MPs on the House of Commons public safety committee.

Campbell, the senior Mountie in Nova Scotia, confirmed that Lucki became verbally abusive with him and other senior officers after they resisted her order to make public a list of Wortman’s guns.

Campbell told MPs that during a meeting with senior commanders in late April (roughly 10 days after Wortman’s deadly spree), “The commissioner made me feel as if I was stupid, and I didn’t seem to understand the importance of why this information was important to go out.”

Campbell admitted Lucki was not alone in pushing for a list of Wortman’s guns. “There was pressure for information from all sides, whether it be the public, the media, government, within the organization itself, but it was clear during that meeting that the commissioner had said that she had made a promise, and that it was tied to the legislation.”

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Lucki’s promise to have the details released, Campbell and others have testified, had been made to Bill Blair, the Liberal public safety minister at the time, and to the prime minister’s office.

And “the legislation” Campbell was referring to was the Liberals’ ban on assault-style guns announced just three days after the abusive meeting.

In other words, Lucki had agreed to help the Liberal government with its political agenda — something a police commander must not do.

Police leaders are accountable to politicians. In a democracy, it cannot be any other way. The people elected by citizens must be ultimately in charge of the police.

But, conversely, police leaders are never to seem to take sides on political issues.

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You’ve heard of the separation between church and state. There must be a separation between cabinet and cops, too. On the Liberals’ gun ban, there was not.

Lucki may have had the best of intentions. Campbell testified, “The commissioner told my colleagues and I that … this was tied to pending legislation that would make officers and the public safer.”

But whether or not Lucki ultimately had good motives, her first priority should be the integrity of the Mounties’ investigations and her second should be to keep her institution out of the political fray.

She failed at both.

That breach may be recoverable for the RCMP, but it is unrecoverable for Brenda Lucki.

She has to go.

Bill Blair, who is now minister of emergency preparedness, should be dropped from cabinet, too, for not knowing better than to interfere in an investigation and for telling Parliament on several occasions that he never meddled.

And staffers from the PMO should lose their jobs for their role in this scandal.

But don’t hold your breath that anyone will be punished.

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