MPs to hear more testimony on alleged political meddling in NS shooting investigation

OTTAWA – Two of the people behind an allegation of political interference in the investigation of the April 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia will appear before a House of Commons committee on Tuesday.

RCMP Chief Superintendent Darren Campbell and Lia Scanlan, director of strategic communications, each accused Commissioner Brenda Lucki of saying she faced pressure from the federal government to ensure information about the shooter’s weapons was released at a news conference.

Campbell’s handwritten notes from a phone call with Lucki, Scanlan and others hours after the April 28, 2020 press conference, say that Lucki mentioned that he had made a promise to the minister and that the weapons information was available. related to the upcoming legislation on weapons.

Then-public safety minister Bill Blair was accused of applying such pressure, but he and Lucki have repeatedly denied interfering with the investigation.

The 13-hour rampage by a gunman claimed 22 lives and is now the subject of a public investigation.

Scanlan wrote a letter to the commissioner more than a year after the shooting, echoing Campbell’s concerns and telling Lucki that the meeting was “appalling, inappropriate, unprofessional and extremely demeaning”.

The public safety committee investigating the allegations has heard conflicting reports, from Lucki and other RCMP officials, about what happened during that meeting.

Lucki said she did not interfere in the investigation but was frustrated with the Nova Scotia division for its communication with the public because the media reported facts before the RCMP published them.

Nova Scotia officials said Lucki was angry and upset for a different reason: She felt political pressure to connect the killings to the Liberals’ promise to ban assault weapons, which they announced on May 1, 2020.

Chief Superintendent Chris Leather and retired Deputy Commissioner Lee Bergerman told the committee last month that they recall Lucki saying he made a promise to the minister, as reflected in Campbell’s notes.

Those notes were released as supporting evidence for a scathing document released by the ongoing public inquiry. That document outlines dozens of cases where basic information about the case was withheld or obfuscated by the RCMP in the three months following the horrific events.

That includes the number of victims, their relationship to the gunman, the fact that one of the victims was a child, the number of crime scenes, the reason for the first 911 call the night the murders began and when the Police learned that the gunman was disguised as an RCMP officer, among other things.

The public inquiry has also released documents showing that Lucki sent an inventory of the weapons to federal officials on April 23, saying it should not circulate beyond the prime minister and the minister of public security.

But after she “confirmed” to Blair that the information would be published on April 28 and it was not published, Lucki told the committee that she was frustrated that there had been another miscommunication.

Leather said the information was not allowed to be released because the Nova Scotia Police watchdog was in charge of investigating the shooter’s death and said the inventory could only be shared internally. Former Serious Incident Response Team Director Pat Curran told The Canadian Press that giving instructions to the RCMP about investigating him would not have been part of his job, and that the weapons were not part of the investigation. the.

The public safety committee will also hear from top officials at the federal Justice Department as it investigates why four pages of Campbell’s notes, the pages that contain details about the meeting with Lucki, were hidden from public investigators for months.

Initially, the Mass Victims Commission was given a packet of notes that did not contain those four pages. They were eventually delivered, and Justice said the pages were privilege checked.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 16, 2022.

— With files from Michael Tutton and Lyndsay Armstrong


Conversations are the opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of conduct. The Star does not endorse these views.

Leave a Comment