LILLEY: Mounties counter Trudeau Liberals’ claim of no political interference in mass shooting probe

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The Trudeau government continues to say it never interfered in the investigation into the Nova Scotia mass shooting, even as senior Mounties say otherwise.

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On Tuesday, two senior members of the RCMP, an officer and civilian, testified before a Commons committee about the nature of the interference.

As much as I have been, and remain critical, of the RCMP’s handling of the Nova Scotia incident, there is no question that Trudeau’s PMO and the office of then-public safety minister Bill Blair inserted themselves where they don’t belong.

“The Commissioner expressed in no uncertain terms her clear disappointment that I did not release specific information in my news conference related to the firearms used by the gunman,” Supt. Darren Campbell said.

Campbell was referring to an April 28, 2020 conference call demanded by RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki. According to several descriptions of that call, Lucki was angry that Campbell had not released the name and types of firearms used by the gunman in the April 2020 massacre that had rocked Nova Scotia just days earlier.

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Lucki had wanted Campbell to release that information based on promises she had made to her political masters in the PMO and Blair’s office.

A promise to Trudeau’s office

“The Commissioner stated that she felt disrespected that she was sad and disappointed with the fact that I had not released the information about the firearms,” Campbell said. “She had promised the minister and the Prime Minister’s Office that information about the firearms would be included in the press briefing.”

Campbell’s view was that while the investigation was ongoing and while the RCMP was working with the Canada Border Services Agency, as well as the FBI and other American agencies, that it wasn’t wise to release the information. Lucki believed otherwise because the Trudeau Liberals were about to introduce new legislation, and she had made a promise to her political bosses, according to Campbell’s testimony.

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“It was at that time the commissioner told my colleagues and I that we didn’t understand that this was tied to pending legislation that would make officers and the public safer,” Campbell said.

That reference to legislation turned out to be the government’s plan to deal with gun crime by banning guns from legal and licensed gun owners. Forget the fact that the gunman in this case, Gabriel Wortman, was someone with a criminal record for violence, had been banned by a court from owning guns, didn’t have a licence and had either stolen or imported guns illegally.

Trudeau had an agenda to implement, and Lucki was going to help.

Left feeling disgusted

Lia Scanlan, then the head of communications for the RCMP in Nova Scotia and the one who was summoned to organize the conference call with the Nova Scotia team and the commissioner, said she felt disgusted on the call.

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“Whether we’re saying promise, pressure, influence, they all lead to the same end result,” Scanlan said.

Scanlan said she would never dispute the notes taken at the time by Campbell and submitted to the Mass Casualty Commission. She also added that everyone “understood exactly what was being said” by Lucki on the call.

So, after several weeks of testimony between Parliament and the Mass Casualty Commission, we have a consistent story from every member of the Nova Scotia RCMP who has testified – Campbell, Scanlan, Leather, Bergerman. They all state emphatically that there was political interference in the investigation and pressure to release information officers on the ground thought would compromise the investigation.

On the other side, we have the PMO, Bill Blair and Lucki claiming nothing happened or that there was no undue pressure.

Who are you going to believe?

Four senior Mounties or a bunch of politicians, including Lucki, who wouldn’t know the truth if they tripped over it?

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