Former RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson and other retired Mounties defend the integrity of Superintendent Darren Campbell, who has alleged that current Commissioner Brenda Lucki interfered in the investigation into the largest mass shooting in Canadian history to help the Liberal government’s gun control agenda.
Emergency Response Minister Bill Blair does not accept Supt. Campbell’s written report of a telephone meeting on 28 April 2020 between Commissioner Lucki and RCMP commanders overseeing the criminal investigation of the vandalism 10 days earlier by a lone gunman in Nova Scotia. 22 people were killed in the shooting.
The dispute dominated the House of Commons’ question period on Wednesday, prompting Conservatives and New Democrats to call for parliamentary hearings to decide who is telling the truth. The opposition wants to hear testimony from Mr Blair, Commissioner Lucki, suppt. Campbell and other officers who were part of the April 28 call.
Supt. Campbell’s notes say Commissioner Lucki told RCMP officers she had “promised the Minister of Public Security and the Prime Minister’s Office” that the force would detect the type of firearm used in the mass shooting because it would promote the government’s “pending gun control”. legislation. “Mr. Blair was Minister of Public Security at the time.
The RCMP officer said Commissioner Lucki was upset because he refused to do so out of concern that politics could jeopardize the cross-border police investigation. The gunman had smuggled three of the weapons into Canada from the United States.
Mr. Blair questioned suppt. Campbell’s handwritten notes submitted to the Mass Casualty Commission inquiry.
“The inspector obviously came to his own conclusions, and his notes reflect that. But I tell you, and I would tell the superintendent, if I spoke to him, that I made no effort to pressure the RCMP to interfere in any way. their investigation, ”Mr. Blair told reporters.
“I gave no direction as to what information they should communicate. These are operational decisions from the RCMP. And I respect that, and I have respected that throughout,” he said. The PMO said Mr Blair is speaking for the government.
Mr. Blair has not said whether he or the PMO obtained assurances from Commissioner Lucki that the type of weapon used in the shooting would be released to the public quickly.
In response to repeated questions in the Commons, Mr Blair said MEPs should ask the Commissioner.
“The conversations between the commissioner and her subordinates are something she can talk to,” he said.
The Globe and Mail asked Commissioner Lucki on Wednesday to confirm or deny the supt. Campbell’s allegations about the alleged promise to Mr. Blair and the PMO.
She declined to comment, and RCMP headquarters pointed to what she had said in a statement Tuesday.
“The commissioner clearly indicated that she did not interfere in the ongoing investigation, nor did she feel any political pressure to do so,” the RCMP’s media relations said.
Mr. Paulson, who was commissioner from 2011 to 2017, would not be drawn into the political controversy involving his successor. But he defended Sept. Campbell, a former homicide investigator from the RCMP’s Vancouver office, whom he promoted and brought to Ottawa headquarters during his tenure.
“Darren is one of the best investigators in the force and an extremely reliable officer with tremendous integrity,” said Mr. Paulson. “You will not find a practicing police officer who will speak ill of Darren Campbell.”
Former Deputy Commissioner Pierre-Yves Borduas said there is no way that Supt. Campbell would come up with a story about Commissioner Lucki.
“This officer has a solid reputation,” he said, adding, “There’s a mix of politics and a big political angle in it, and that’s unfortunate.”
Former RCMP Superintendent Peter Lepine also spoke in support of Supt. Campbell.
“I’ve been following Darren Campbell since the day he was a recruit,” said Mr. Lepine. “He is an extremely competent police officer and extremely well educated in a world of great investigations.”
Mr. Lepine said he does not believe in suppt. Campbell “would falsify all the notes or have an agenda to hang someone out to dry.”
The recently released testimony is not the first example that the Nova Scotia probe has revealed, where Mounties talks about the Liberal government’s efforts to exercise control over the RCMP.
In an interview with Commission investigators, Lia Scanlan, former RCMP Director of Strategic Communications at Halifax, spoke about the pressure from Ottawa. The transcript was published earlier this month.
Ms. Scanlan told the investigation that federal government officials, including Mr. Blair and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “considered what we could and could not say” during media briefings.
The transcript of her remarks was heavily edited in some sections of the Mass Casualty Commission before it was released, and therefore some details in the testimony remain secret.
At another point, Ms. Scanlan on Commissioner Lucki’s behavior in an interview, attributing what happened to “political pressure”, adding “it’s 100 percent Minister Blair and the Prime Minister.”
She then told investigators, “We have a commissioner who is not pushing back.”
Bill Elliott, a former federal bureaucrat who became the country’s first civilian leader of the RCMP from 2007-2011, said he saw nothing wrong with Commissioner Lucki’s behavior.
‘I can understand that investigators are reluctant to release information. “I think it is appropriate for people like the RCMP Commissioner to take other considerations into account,” he said.
The Conservative Party and the NDP are both calling for an urgent meeting of the House of Commons Committee on Public Safety and National Security to hold hearings on the matter.
Conservative public safety critic Raquel Dancho and NDP public safety critic Alistair MacGregor have both written to Jim Carr, the Liberal MP chairing the committee, calling for a meeting as soon as possible.
According to Parliament’s standing orders, a meeting of a committee may be requested by four members of the committee, and a meeting must be held within five calendar days to consider the request.
With a report from Colin Freeze
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