Trudeau denies interfering in investigation into Canada’s worst mass shooting

The commissioner of Canada’s federal police force has also denied meddling

Shooting rampage in Nova Scotia leaves 16 dead

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rejected claims that he is interfering in the investigation into a mass shooting in Nova Scotia in the spring of 2020 that left 22 people dead.

That mass shooting, perpetrated by a gunman posing as a police officer, was the deadliest in the history of Canada. The gunman died in a standoff with police; one week later, Mr Trudeau’s government banned semi-automatic weapons in the country.

Now, as part of a public investigation into the shooting, Mr Trudeau and the commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Brendi Lucki are fending off allegations that they meddled in the investigation of the shooting to advance Mr Trudeau’s reform agenda.

The allegations stem from notes taken by Nova Scotia RCMP Superintendent Darren Campbell, who took notes conference call with Ms Lucki conducted in the aftermath of the shooting, just days before the government pressed ahead with its semi-automatic weapons ban.

Mr Campbell noted that Ms Lucki was unhappy because his press conference on the shooting had not provided more detail about the types of weapons used and was so abrasive with local officers that a select number had been reduced to tears.

“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,” Mr Campbell’s notes read.

According to notes from the inquiry, Mr Campbell’s communications team had taken the decision not to release detailed information about the types of weapons the gunman had used out of a concern that such detailed information could jeopardise the investigation into where and how the guns had been obtained.

At a press conference on Thursday, Mr Trudeau said that his government did not place “any undue influence or pressure” on police.

“It is extremely important to highlight that it is only the RCMP, it is only police that determine what and when to release information,” Mr Trudeau said.

But others disagree. Former RCMP communications director Lia Scanlon, for instance, said that though Ms Lucki was advised not to give media interviews in the midst of the investigation, she decided to do so anyway — at one point giving inaccurate information.

“The commissioner releases a body count that we (RCMP communications) don’t even have,” Ms Scanlan said to an inquiry lawyer. “She went out and did that. It was all political pressure. That is 100 percent Minister Blair and the Prime Minister. And we have a Commissioner that does not push back.”

The opposition Conservative Party called Thursday for a debate on the matter in the House of Commons and a parlimentary committee has voted to hold a hearing on the matter. Ms Lucki, who remains in charge of the RCMP, has denied wrongdoing in the case.

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