The RCMP has finally released a recording of a controversial phone meeting in which the RCMP chief denigrates staff in Nova Scotia over communications following mass killings in the province.
The meeting, held days after the mass shootings, has been at the center of allegations that the Prime Minister’s Office and then Public Safety Minister Bill Blair interfered politically with RCMP operations to benefit legislation on pending arms of the liberal government.
Four Nova Scotia RCMP staff members testified before the Mass Casualty Commission that Commissioner Brenda Lucki reprimanded staff during the April 28, 2020 meeting for not including information on the makes and models of weapons used. in the murders of April 18 and 19 that year. All have publicly said they believe political interference was a factor.
While the controversy over the remarks has been brewing for months, it wasn’t until September that news of a possible commission recording broke. The recording, made by Dan Brien, the RCMP’s director of media relations, was believed to have been deleted from his phone.
But it was recently recovered and published publicly on Thursday by the commission.
The request came from the office of the minister
Lucki says on the recording, “It was a request that I received, um, from the minister’s office” and that she told the minister that the information would be released, and then it didn’t.
Lucki has previously said that Blair never directed or directed him to reveal the makes and models of the weapons.
“Does anyone realize what’s going on in the world of guns and pistols right now?” Lucki says during the meeting. “The fact that they are trying to get legislation in place, the fact that that legislation is actually supposed to help the police and the fact that the very little information that I asked to be put into speech notes around 11 :30 this morning… couldn’t get settled?
“So, does anyone wonder why I feel frustrated, like I’m not being heard, which makes me feel disrespected? … Or is it just that I’m being overly sensitive?”
She goes on to say that she feels “bad” about having the conversation because she doesn’t want the rest of the staff to feel bad.
“But… it’s daunting for me to try to run our RCMP, which is bigger than Nova Scotia, um, and try to at least give the PM a little bit of information before he hears it on the news.”
apology to the prime minister
Lucki also says that he was promised a timeline of events during the mass murders, as well as a map for the minister and prime minister, but did not receive it in time.
“I have apologized to the minister, I am waiting for the prime minister to call me so I can apologize,” he says.
“I already have a request on my phone that the minister wants to talk to me, and I know exactly what it will be about. And… there’s not much I can say except that, once again, I dropped the ball. So this will be the fourth time I’ve told him that.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government did not put any “undue” pressure on the RCMP.
In a statement on Thursday, the RCMP said top management became aware of the recording in June and the commission was immediately informed. The statement says that the RCMP is now preparing an explanation for the commission with information about the circumstances surrounding the recording and its recovery.
The Mass Victims Commission’s lead attorney, Emily Hill, said the commission received word from the Justice Department on July 8, 2022 that a recording may exist. The commission has requested an affidavit from the RCMP explaining how the audio of the meeting was provided at this late date.