In recent weeks, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has come under fire, as well as the Liberal Party, with accusations that they were trying to use the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting for political gain.
Substantial evidence has come forward that Commissioner Lucki had attempted to pressure members of the Nova Scotia RCMP, who were involved in the investigation into the shooting, into releasing the specifications of the guns used in the shooting in order to garner support for planned gun legislation. Allegedly after being pressured to do so from at the time Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Ministers Office. She testified on the 25th of July 2022 on the matter.
Her testimony comes from calls by opposition MP’s, primarily Conservative Public Safety Critic Raquel Dancho, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who upon the informations initial release called for a “full investigation” into the matter.
MP Dancho drew comparisons to the SNC-Lavalin scandal, stating “We’ve seen this before during the SNC-Lavalin scandal where the Trudeau government also denied any wrongdoing. This is a pattern. We need to get to the bottom of this and investigate this immediately,”
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called for an inquiry, further stating the inquiry shouldn’t be used to “score political points”, but to obtain answers for victims.
“The allegations that the Prime Minister’s Office or the Public Safety Minister’s office directed RCMP Commissioner Lucki to interfere in an ongoing police investigation are very disturbing,” he said. “The idea that this government – that any government – would use this horrific act of mass murder to gain support for their gun policy is completely unacceptable. Not only is this inappropriate, it fuels cynicism about our democracy and the elected officials who participate in it.”
Initially, released emails between Commissioner Lucki and Minister Blair on April 23, 2020, showed reluctance from Lucki to release the information to the public. She wrote the names of the firearms, and then stated the information shouldn’t go any further than Minister Blair and the Prime Minister, because it was “directly related to this active investigation.” In her testimony it was revealed that she had in fact told the Minister that the RCMP would release the information, though that it was a “heads up”, not a promise.
This stance, of course, changed a few days later. In a conference call on April 28th 2020, commissioner Lucki allegedly got angry with the RCMP officers she was talking to because they would not release the specifications publicly.
Superintendent Darren Campbell’s notes of the conversation say she wanted the information because it “was tied to pending gun-control legislation that would make officers and the public safer by or through this legislation.”
His notes said she had gotten angry because she had “promised the Minister of Public Safety and the Prime Minister’s Office” that the RCMP would disclose the information.
In her July 25th testimony she stated “It was a not a promise in the traditional sense”. She also testified that she did indeed tell her subordinates that the information release was relevant to a pending gun control bill.
At the time Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Ministers office have both denied wrongdoing, stating they never pressured her. Commissioner Lucki has also denied wrongdoing. She said she perhaps approached the conversation wrongly in her request for information.
Pertaining to interference from Ottawa, she stated “I did not interfere in the investigation of this massacre. Specifically I was not directed to publicly release information about weapons used by the perpetrators to help advance pending gun control legislation”.
Several RCMP officials stated that not only did she pressure them, but that they believe she acted under pressure from the government.
The shooter did not have a firearms license, and had illegally smuggled the weapons in from Maine. Investigators worried that releasing specifics about the weapons would make it more difficult to obtain information on where they came from. It was on these grounds they refused to release the information publicly.
Although they were unable to obtain the specifics of the firearms (makes, models, caliber, etc), the Liberal government passed a gun legislation bill on May 1st 2020, 12 days after the shooting began, which banned around 1,500 makes and models of firearms.
The specifications of firearms was not released by the RCMP. The information became public after a media company obtained the information, and published it, a number of months later.
The information of potential political interference came at the start of the Mass Casualty Commission in Nova Scotia. The commission is tasked with investigating the shooting, and providing all the information it can involving both the shooter, and the flawed RCMP response.
-Written by GoodHistory Contributor Sebastien G.