Top Civilian Mountie reprimands RCMP Commissioner for ‘appalling’ behavior at the urging of the federal government

Written by Javed Iqbal

Lia Scanlan, Director of Strategic Communications for the Nova Scotia RCMP, testified at the Mass Casualty Commission’s investigation into the Nova Scotia rural massacres on 18/19. April 2020 in Truro, NS on June 8th.Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press

A senior civilian Mountie sent a highly worded letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki last year, accusing her of bowing to political pressure and displaying “unprofessional and extremely degrading” behavior to officers investigating the worst mass shooting in Canadian history.

The Mass Injury Commission, which is conducting an investigation into the killing of 22 people in April 2020 in Nova Scotia, on Tuesday released the reprimand from Lia Scanlan, a former director of strategic communications for the RCMP in Halifax.

In the letter, dated April 14, 2021, Ms. Scanlan up on Superintendent Darren Campbell’s allegations that Commissioner Lucki was trying to pressure his Nova Scotia commanders to publicly disclose details of the weapons used in the shootings to strengthen federal government gun control. agenda.

She tells of a conference call on April 28, 2020 – just 10 days after the shootings – in which Commissioner Lucki told senior Nova Scotia Mounties about talks she had had with then-Secretary of Public Security Bill Blair related to “the forthcoming adoption of gun laws. “

She says Commissioner Lucki suggested that the Nova Scotia Mounties had “failed” two boys whose parents were killed by the gunman by failing to release information about the firearms.

Ms. Scanlan writes: “I remember a feeling of disgust when I realized this was the catalyst for the conversation and perhaps a justification for what you said about us.”

She says officers were focused on the victims of the shootings and were taken aback when their superiors scolded them for refusing to release details of the weapons she had asked them to do.

“The political lens was not our only focus,” she writes. “I could not believe what you, the leader of our organization, said, and I was embarrassed to be aware of what was going on.”

She adds: “It was shocking, inappropriate, unprofessional and extremely derogatory.”

Ms. Scanlan says she objected to exposing the types of weapons used in the shootings because the families of the victims had not yet been informed and she wanted to “prevent them from being revictimized by hearing new information from the media.”

Four page notes from suppt. Campbell’s investigative case was released last week, triggering a day of parliamentary hearings next month on potential political interference in a police investigation.

The notes allege that Commissioner Lucki denounced Supt. Campbell when he refused to release details of the weapons prematurely. She told her officers she had promised “the Minister of Public Security and the Office of the Prime Minister” that the RCMP would reveal what kind of firearms were used to build support for the government’s proposal for arms control.

Supt. Campbell said in his notes that he did not want to release these details because the RCMP was working with the U.S. authorities on the case, and doing so could have jeopardized the investigation. Three of the weapons had been smuggled in from Maine.

In a statement last week, Commissioner Lucki said she regretted the way she “took the meeting and the impact it had on those present.” She has not yet confirmed or refuted the allegations in Sept. Campbell’s notes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said there was no “unnecessary influence or pressure” on the commissioner. Mr. Blair, now emergency minister, has also denied having pressured Commissioner Lucki to help build the case for the government’s ban on 1,500 types of firearms.

In previous testimony, Ms. The Scanlan investigation revealed that federal officials, including Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Blair, “weighed in on what we could and could not say” during media briefings.

The transcript of her remarks was heavily edited in some sections before it was released, so that some details of the testimony remain secret.

At another point, she spoke of Commissioner Lucki’s behavior in an interview, attributing it 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.”

Meanwhile, the federal Department of Justice said it sent an additional 17 pages of RCMP investigation files to the Mass Casualty Commission on Friday. Ms. Scanlan’s cover email, which contained the date of the letter on April 14, 2021, was part of that package, according to Kristen Lipscombe, a spokeswoman for the commission.

Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod said three more pages are still being reviewed to determine if they should be passed on to the investigation.

He said the department’s lawyers had initially withheld 35 pages and submitted 12 documents to the commission on May 30, including suppt. Campbell’s four pages of notes.

Mr. McLeod said Attorney General David Lametti’s office had no influence on the decision to withhold the documents, as Justice Department attorneys routinely review such documents for cabinet briefings, attorney-client privileges and other personal information.

The Commission has demanded to know why Ottawa detained any documents after it sued the entire RCMP investigation last June.

Conservative public safety critic Raquel Dancho has accused the government of engaging in a cover-up. She wants Mr Lametti to appear before the Commons’ Public Security and National Security Committee next month to explain what happened.

The committee voted last Thursday to hold a hearing in July and convene Commissioner Lucki and other Mounties involved in the discussion on 28 April 2020. The committee also wants to hear from Mr Blair.

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Javed Iqbal

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