Commissioner Brenda Lucki made a promise to then Liberal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office to leverage the Nova Scotia mass shooting for political gain.
According to a report by the Halifax Examiner Lucki “made a promise” to Bill Blair to release details of a active investigation regarding the guns used by the shooter.
The commissioner pressured the RCMP to give out the information of the guns used by Gabriel Wortman during the April 18/19 shooting attacks. According to Halifax Examiner.
A week after the shootings, Chief Supt. Chris Leather, the head of Criminal Operations released details of the timeline of events for the shootings but didn’t get in to any details about the firearms that were used, Campbell told journalists he “couldn’t get into details… because the investigation is still active and ongoing,”.
Lucki was not happy and summoned Campbell, Asst. Commander Lee Bergerman, Leather, and Nova Scotia Communications director Lia Scanlan to a meeting.
“The Commissioner was obviously upset. She did not raise her voice but her choice of words was indicative of her overall dissatisfaction with our work. The Commissioner accused us (me) of disrespecting her by not following her instructions. I was and remain confused over this. The Commissioner said she told Comms to tell us at H Division to include specific info about the firearms used by [the killer]….However I said we couldn’t because to do so would jeopardize ongoing efforts to advance the U.S. side of the case as well as the Canadian components of the investigation. Those are facts and I stand by them.”
Campbell’s notes said that Lucki was “sad and disappointed” that details were not provided to the media regarding the firearms.
The note continued:
“The Commissioner said she had promised the Minister of Public Safety and the Prime Minister’s Office that the RCMP (we) would release this information. I tried to explain there was no intent to disrespect anyone however we could not release this information at this time. The Commissioner then said that we didn’t understand, that this was tied to pending gun control legislation that would make officers and the public safer. She was very upset and at one point Deputy Commissioner (Brian) Brennan tried to get things calmed down but that had little effect. Some in the room were reduced to tears and emotional over this belittling reprimand.”
In May 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used an order in council to “ban” a number of guns. Bill C-21, which would further limit the rights of law-abiding gun owners, was also introduced by Trudeau last month.
In addition to obtaining two illegal handguns from a collector and close friend named Sean Conlogue, it was discovered that Wortman had paid a man by the name of Neil Gallivan to buy an “assault rifle” at a gun exhibition in Houlton, Maine, in 2019.
The Examiner reports that RCMP commanders were concerned that disclosing the information might “interfere with a cross-border police investigation into how the killer managed to obtain and smuggle into Canada four illegal guns used to commit many of the 22 murders,” the Examiner reports.
At the time communication about the death count was confusing because during separate occasions Lucki claimed that there were 13 victims, 14 victims and 17 victims.
then-RCMP Nova Scotia spokesperson Lia Scanlan picked up on the inconsistency of victim count and brought it up in an email.
“Can I make a request that we stop changing the number of victims. Please allow us to lead the release of information. It looks fragmented and inconsistent. I spoke with the Commanding Officer tonight and we will be updating this tomorrow. ” wrote Lia Scanlan
The RCMP eventually claimed that there were 19 victims on April 20, 2020, with the final count revealed a day later, totaling 22 victims.
Lucki was appointed to her position in 2018 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in January 2020 Lucki took aim at Trudeau’s massive gun grab policy to confiscate firearms from adults holding a valid Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL), saying there is no “no public safety reason” for such a grab to proceed.
Despite the report these details are contained in handwritten notes from Nova Scotia RCMP Supt. Darren Campbell, Lucki has since denied the accusation.
The CBC reported Lucki’s statement Tuesday evening, June 21, 2022, saying she omitted the allegations she was trying to float the Liberals “Lucki did not address the claim that she was pushing for the release of more information to help the Liberals’ plans for gun control. She did say briefings with the minister of Public Safety are necessary, particularly during a mass shooting.”
Lucki also said she regrets her behaviour. Whether the Public Safety Minister or Prime Minister’s Office actually stated that the shooting’s aftermath and the weapons used would be used to lobby for future gun regulation is a question that Lucki has not addressed.
“Several days after the mass shooting, I met with Nova Scotia RCMP colleagues to discuss a number of things. This included the flow of information to RCMP National Headquarters on the investigation and the public release of information,” Lucki continues.
“It was a tense discussion, and I regret the way I approached the meeting and the impact it had on those in attendance. My need for information should have been better weighed against the seriousness of the circumstances they were experiencing. I should have been more sensitive in my approach. Had I led the meeting differently, these employees would have felt more supported during what I know was an extremely difficult time.”
A $74,000 Ekos survey that showed Canadians’ displeasure with Lucki was revealed in November 2020 after being kept confidential by the RCMP ever since it was gathered in 2018.