Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his office did not interfere with the investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting.
Earlier this week, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Luckey and a former Minister of Public Safety dismissed suggestions they were interfering with an investigation into Canada’s biggest mass shooting to push through gun control measures.
“Definitely not. We did not exert undue influence or pressure. It is extremely important to emphasize that only the RCMP, only the police determine what and when to disclose information,” Trudeau told reporters in Rwanda on Thursday, where he is attending a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government.
“The commissioner’s statement, the minister’s statement was very clear on this, and yes, I still have a lot of confidence in Commissioner Lucky.”
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A report released on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the massacre found footage of a meeting with senior RCMP leaders 10 days after the shooting, in which Lucky said she promised then-Secretary of Public Safety Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office that the police would release information about the gunshot. the weapon used by the shooter.
According to records made by RCMP Supt. Darren Campbell, Lucky, said she felt “naughty” when those details were not revealed, adding that the information “had to do with a pending gun control law that would make officers and the public safer.”
Lucky later denied interfering with the investigation and defended her discussions with Blair at the time.
“As a police officer and Commissioner of the RCMP, I will never take any action or decision that could jeopardize an investigation,” she said in a statement.
“It is important to note that sharing information and briefings with the Minister of Public Safety is essential, especially during a mass shooting on Canadian soil. This is standard procedure and does not affect the integrity of ongoing investigations and does not interfere with the independence of the RCMP.”
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Lucky did not respond to specific allegations that she promised Blair and the PMO to release specific information or that it was related to government policy.
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Trudeau said Thursday that everyone in Canada had a lot of questions about what happened in Nova Scotia.
“I had regular briefings about what we knew, what we didn’t know, and these answers keep coming even as the public inquiry continues so that families can really find out what happened and we will continue to take responsible action,” he said. .
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The issue was raised Tuesday in the House of Commons, where the Conservatives accused the ruling Liberals of meddling in an active police investigation. Blair, now Secretary of State for Emergency Management, insisted that no one in the government give instructions to Lucky.
“Obviously the opposition is more interested in the drama than the truth,” he said.
“The Commissioner confirmed that neither I nor any member of this government gave any direction or pressure to direct her in any way.”
Conservative MP John Brassard countered that he did not raise the issue to create “drama” but was based on the investigative report itself.
Blair says his office did not brief the RCMP commissioner during the mass shooting in Nova Scotia.
The report also included comments from the RCMP director of strategic communications in Olx Praca, Leah Scanlan, who told the investigation that government officials, including Blair and Trudeau, “weighed what we could and could not say” during media briefings. She didn’t elaborate further.
Less than two weeks after the 2020 shooting, Trudeau announced a ban on 1,500 makes and models of “assault firearms,” some of which were used by the Nova Scotian shooter.
The investigation released a report released last month that showed several weapons, including two semi-automatic rifles, were found in a stolen rental car that the shooter was refueling when he was shot by the RCMP. More firearms were found at the gunman’s home.
The report states that all of the weapons were in illegal possession and many were purchased from the United States. According to investigators, the shooter did not have a license to carry a weapon.
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The government’s proposal to commission Lucky to intervene in the investigation into the shooting was “very disturbing,” especially if it was meant to advance legislation, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said Tuesday.
The Liberal government just unveiled updated Bill C-21, which includes a nationwide “freeze” on handguns and other gun control measures following a series of mass shootings in the US that culminated in the deaths of 19 children and two teachers at a school. elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
While Trudeau cited U.S. violence in his statement, the government said the bill is intended to combat the rise in gun crime in Canada, much of which involves the use of firearms.
Singh warned in a statement on Tuesday that conservatives will not use the investigation’s revelations to “score political points” against Bill C-21 and gun restrictions in general.
– with files from Sean Boynton