Feds Exerted No Pressure on RCMP During Nova Scotia Shooting Investigation, Trudeau Says

Feds Exerted No Pressure on RCMP During Nova Scotia Shooting Investigation, Trudeau Says
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Sept. 26, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)
Peter Wilson

The federal government never pressured RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki to release details about the investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shootings, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Every step of the way, we recognized and supported the fact that the RCMP and police of jurisdiction are the ones who decide what is released and when,” Trudeau told reporters during a press conference in Surrey, B.C., on Oct. 21.

“[The RCMP] make decisions about how to balance the need of the public to get answers and the need to protect the integrity of investigations.”

On Thursday, the Mass Casualty Commission (MCC), an independent public inquiry created to examine the shootings on April 18 and 19, 2020, wherein a gunman killed 22 people around Portapique, Nova Scotia, released recordings and transcripts of an RCMP phone call in which Lucki told staff that then-Public Safety Minister Bill Blair had asked for details about the guns used in the shooting to be made public.

“It was a request that I got from the minister’s office,” Lucki said on the call, dated April 28, 2020. “And I shared with the minister that, in fact, it was going to be in the news release and it wasn’t.”

The federal government had pending gun-restriction legislation at the time. Less than 20 days after the shootings, it announced a ban on 1,500 types of “assault-style” firearms.

On the call, Lucki expressed her frustration at “not being able to come through for the minister on the simplest of requests.”

“I was very frustrated, very disappointed, and I was feeling quite disrespected,” she told staff after they failed to include details about the shooter’s firearms in a news release.

‘Dropping the Ball’

During Friday’s press conference, Trudeau said that the federal government “will always ask on behalf of Canadians for more answers.”

“But we always ensure that the RCMP and police officers can do their jobs,” he added.

Blair, who is now minister of emergency preparedness, has denied ever interfering with the RCMP’s investigation or pressuring Lucki into prematurely releasing information.

“At no point did I direct the RCMP in any operational matter, including on public communications. I did not ask them to release any specific information, nor did I receive a promise for them to do so,” he told the House of Commons public safety committee on July 25.

Conservative MP and public safety critic Raquel Dancho questioned Blair at the time if he was aware of Lucki’s expectations that the gun details would become public during an April 28 press conference.

“I’m not aware of that,” Blair answered, adding afterward, “At no time did I ask Commissioner Lucki to reveal that information. At no time did I direct her in any way on communications. She did not make any promise to me.”

During the April 28 phone call, Lucki said she had to “apologize” to Blair and Trudeau for “dropping the ball” on not releasing the firearm details.

“I just am saddened that people tell me that they can give me this information and then cannot produce it,” she said.

‘Point Blank’

Dancho said Friday that Blair “lied” in his testimony before the public safety committee and called for both him and Lucki to resign from their respective positions.

“You cannot just lie, point blank, to a parliamentary committee and not face the consequences,” she told reporters on Parliament Hill on Oct. 21.

“If [Blair] had any integrity, he would resign himself today.”

Dancho added that the Conservatives “do not have confidence in this minister to hold any position in this government.”

“The audio recording really made it cut and dry that what the minister said in committee was a lie,” she said, adding, “He used the death of 22 Canadians to leverage that for his political agenda.”

The Epoch Times reached out to Blair’s office for a response to Dancho’s accusations and also questioned if he would resign, but didn’t hear back immediately.