Bill Blair, former minister of public safety, denies allegations that the Trudeau government pressured the release of information about the investigation into the mass shooting in Nova Scotia in order to support Trudeau’s gun control laws.
“At no point did I direct the RCMP in any operational matter, including public communications,” Blair testified at the House of Commons public safety committee on Monday. “I did not ask them to release any specific information, nor did I receive a promise for them to do so.”
The allegations that RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki had interfered in the investigation into the mass shooting in Nova Scotia were blamed on “conference-call misunderstandings,” according to Brenda Lucki, who also spoke before the committee.
Lucki denied any claims that she asked the local police to release information on Gabriel Wortman’s weaponry. Additionally, Lucki denied that Justin Trudeau or former Public Safety Minister Bill Blair had put any pressure on him.
“I did not interfere in the investigation around this tragedy,” Lucki said. “Specifically, I was not directed to publicly release information about weapons used by the perpetrator to help advance pending gun control legislation.”
In a report released by the mass casualty inquiry last month, RCMP Senior Mountie Darren Campbell found the initial evidence for the allegations in handwritten notes. Campbell went into detail about the alleged pressure Lucki applied to investigators to provide sensitive information.
The notes, which were corroborated by RCMP Communications Director Lia Scanlan’s testimony, described a phone conversation Lucki had with officials on April 28 following a conference call. Lucki criticised them for not disclosing information on the shooter’s weapons, claiming she had “promised” Blair and Trudeau that it would be done so.
Following meetings with the Trudeau cabinet, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says she can’t “recollect” but “may have” used the word “promise” in reference to the RCMP disclosing the firearms used in the NS mass shooting.
Lucki blames the issue on misunderstandings during the teleconference and says that she had already informed Blair that information in a private document dated April 23 that contained a list of firearms taken from Wortman’s home will be made public on April 28.
“When my communications team told me (the list of seized firearms) would be included (in the April 28 press conference,) I relayed this information back to Minister Blair’s chief of staff and the deputy minister of public safety,” Lucki said.
The RCMP confirmed in June 2020 all five weapons used by the shooter were illegally obtained and were illegal before the Trudeau government’s gun ban. In November 2020 the list of weapons was made public from the result of a freedom of information act request by National Post
A focus on the contradiction of accounts between Bill Blair and Brenda Lucki
MP Raquel Dancho pressed Lucki, who responded that there was no secret agreement between the RCMP and the Trudeau Liberals and that most of the misunderstanding stemmed from Darren Campbell, the one who wrote the notes that exposed the scandal as a whole. However, according to Lucki, Blair did inquire about the attackers weapons and whether it would be discussed at the press conference:
“He was speaking of the weapons in the incident. That would mostly include the weapons seized. The weapons used were still under forensics. So it was more involved with the weapons,” she said.
“Just to confirm, the minister of public safety at the time, Bill Blair, specifically asked you if weapons used at the attack would be mentioned at the press conference on April 28,” Dancho asked.
“Um, yeah, I would, in the sense that any of the weapons involved in the incident. Some were seized and not used, and some were used,” Lucki said.
“And you made a promise to him that that information would be released at the April 28 press conference,” Dancho pressed.
“I confirmed, in fact, that it would be a part of the media event,” said Lucki.
“So Darren Campbell’s account of the meeting that happened, that you had called following that press conference, that meeting happened within 2 hours after, where he wrote in his notes that you made a promise to Minister Blair that information of the weapons would be released. They were accurate, is what you’re saying?” asked Dancho.
“That’s what he wrote, but when, like I said in my notes, in the context, there were promise that I used in the context of confirming the answer to his question,” she said.
“But you used the word promise, correct?” Dancho asked.
“I don’t recollect that, I may have, I’m not going to question superintendent Campbell’s recollection, but it was in the context of confirming the information that was passed at me.” she responded.
“You said to the RCMP officials in that infamous April 28 meetings that you promised minister Blair that the information about the weapons would be released, just in sum, correct?” Dancho pressed.
“I was referring to the confirmation of the question,” Lucki responded.