Lucki holds the top law enforcement position in the land and if it has been compromised for the political interests of the government, she should be immediately removed, and an independent inquiry needs to be struck.
The actions by and communications from the RCMP as the murderous rampage unfolded in northern Nova Scotia were marked by confusion and mixed messaging. Just hours after the shooter was finally killed, Canadians still couldn’t get an accurate casualty count.
While protocol was established stating that all communications were to come from the Nova Scotia ‘H’ Division on the incident, Commissioner Lucki did interviews with CTV, CBC, and The Canadian Press where she stated there were 13, then 14, and then 17 fatalities in the incident. It caused confusion among investigators and the public alike.
According to Lia Scanlan, the director of strategic communications for the RCMP in Nova Scotia: “The commissioner releases a body count that we (Communications) don’t even have. She went out and did that. It was all political pressure. That is 100% Minister Blair and the Prime Minister. “
The hours following the shootings were critical. Police didn’t know the motives or background of the shooter. They may not even have been confident that there was only one shooter. Having the commissioner herself meddling in the communications within the force added to the confusion and could have put people at risk.
An issue larger than the breach of communication protocol was the implication that Lucki was motivated by pressure from the prime minister and public safety minister. The RCMP commissioner is appointed directly by the prime minister and it would be naive to believe the position isn’t at least a little politicized. If the Prime Minister’s Office was directly interfering with an active investigation into such a serious incident, the consequences could be criminal.
The alleged interference went beyond Commissioner Lucki’s maverick press tour. According to notes submitted by Nova Scotia RCMP Superintendent Darren Campbell, Lucki had instructed investigators to release information on the firearms used by the shooter. Investigators refused to compromise their investigation and didn’t release the information to the public. It was noted that Lucki was critical of investigators who refused to follow her orders.
Investigators were in the midst of what had become an international investigation in cooperation with American law enforcement as it had been found that some of the firearms had come from the United States. They still were potentially identifying and tracking smugglers or suppliers of these firearms and releasing specific details could have hindered their ability to do so.
What motivated Lucki to pressure investigators on this issue?
Again, it sounds like the commissioner may have been acting at the behest of the PMO.
According to Campbell, Lucki had promised the prime minister and the public safety minister that the firearm information would be released to aid the government with pending gun control legislation. It is chilling to think the RCMP commissioner was willing to compromise such an important investigation at the behest of the PMO for the sake of building support for a piece of legislation.
We know the government is willing to use tragedies to gain support for its policies. It was no coincidence that the Liberals released Bill C-21 with its proposed freeze on handgun sales right after the Uvalde school shooting in Texas. They sat on that bill and waited for the right incident to drop it.
While timing legislation to match tragedies is an offensive, coldly calculated political move, it is not as problematic as the issue of possible interference into active investigations to garner support for political initiatives.
Nobody should be above the law in a democratic society, including the prime minister. The only way to ensure this principle is upheld is to keep law enforcement independent and above the political fray. If the head of the RCMP is deeply politically compromised, it fosters distrust in every major investigation the RCMP has conducted in the last few years.
The gravity of what appears to have happened cannot be understated. Canadians need an independent inquiry seeking clarity on this potential wrongdoing. If the PMO is found to have purposely and directly acted to interfere in the investigation of the Nova Scotia mass shooting, it may be a scandal that even Justin Trudeau can’t recover from.