In a stern letter from the RCMP communications manager released on Tuesday, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucky noted direct pressure from the federal public defense minister to release details of the guns in the days leading up to the Nova Scotia mass shooting.
This is the second claim of an RCMP official who attended a conference call on April 28, 2020, in which he criticized Lucky Halifax staff, killing 22 people.
Leah Scanlan’s letter dated April 14, 2021 states that the RCMP leader focused on the liberal government’s gun law implementation agenda during the emergency meeting.
During a news conference a few hours ago, Supt. Darren Campbell did not provide full details of the two guns and two handguns used by the killer. According to his handwritten notes, which were released for public hearing, the RCMP is concerned that providing this information could jeopardize their investigation.
As Dressing Town expanded, Scanlan told us that Lucky had told us about the pressures and conversation with the Minister of Public Security (Bill) Blay, and that we clearly understood that this was related to the forthcoming implementation of the Rifles Act.
“I remember the feeling of disgust when I realized that this was a stimulus for conversation and perhaps a justification for what you were saying about us.”
Scanlan’s letter is part of the evidence provided for the April 18-19, 2020, public hearing on the mass shooting.
According to Scanlan, who was director of strategic communications at the time of the shooting, Lucky was angry that Halifax staff had not released gun details, and that they had dropped off the remaining children whose parents had been killed in Portfolio. N. S.
“It was horrible, inappropriate, unprofessional and very disgraceful,” Scanlan wrote.
“If anyone in the RCMP says we dropped the boys, it’s not acceptable, especially the person at the top of our organization.”
In Campbell’s handwritten notes released last Monday, Lucky told those present that he had assured the Federal Department of Public Security and the Prime Minister’s Office that information about the guns used by the shooter would be released. . “
Lucky confirmed on Tuesday that he had received a letter from “RCMP staff” regarding the controversial meeting on April 28, 2020. “It was a very difficult time and I expressed frustration with the flow of information,” he said in an email statement.
But denied that there was any political interference. “There was a need to exchange timely and accurate information with the Government of Canada and I tried to do that,” he said. “However, I would like to reiterate that I do not intend to interfere in the ongoing investigation in any way and that I do not feel any political pressure to do so.”
A spokesman for Blair, now the minister of emergency preparedness, said on Tuesday that no action had been taken by the RCMP “during and after the tragic events of April 2020”.
“Minister Blair was briefed following the events in Nova Scotia, but it was clear that the disclosure of any information at any hearing, as with all operational matters, was taken only at the behest of law enforcement,” Annie Cullinan said in an email. .
The report notes that Canadians have “expressed concern about when and how the RCMP shared information with the public” and that it was part of a public inquiry mandate.
During question time last week, Blair again denied making any mistakes, citing the Liberal promise to enact tougher laws on guns long before the tragedy.
“The brutal killing of 22 Canadians using guns has deepened our determination to protect Canadians and keep our promise,” he said.
However, Patterson Law’s lawyer Michael Scott, who represents the 14 families of the victims, said the allegations of high-level political pressure from the RCMP were about his clients.
“In April 2020, this is not the time to pursue political agendas,” Scott said in an interview on Tuesday.
“It is improper for the commissioner to speak openly at any time,” he added.
Scott said he had questions about why Scanlan’s letter, which was revealed to him “very recently”, had not been received so early.
The Inquiry, on June 15, 2021, provided RCMP with its full investigation file and Sapona for any related material related to mass shooting. It is not clear at what point the letter arrived for investigation.
Last week, the director of the inquiry, Barbara McLean, said in an email that the commission was seeking an explanation for why the federal judiciary had withheld notes from Campbell for several months.
Scanlan, who recently testified at the public hearing, said he had to take leave after last year’s mass shooting.
He has expressed various opinions in his testimony and interviews about what role Lucky must have played in releasing the information.
During his testimony on June 9, when asked by Commissioner of Inquiry Leanne Fitch what he might say at news conferences, Scanlon replied, “I must say I am the Commissioner of the RCMP.”
However, during an interview with investigators in February, Scanlan criticized Lucky for providing media interviews with highly accurate body numbers on the second night of the mass shooting.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 28, 2022.