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PM Trudeau denies pressuring RCMP investigation, still has confidence in Lucki

Brenda Lucki speaks while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau look on

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he still “very much” has confidence in RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, and is denying his government put “any undue influence or pressure,” on the national police force’s investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting.

“We did not put any undue influence or pressure. It is extremely important to highlight that it is only the RCMP, it is only police that determine what and when to release information,” Trudeau said. “I still very much have… confidence in commissioner Lucki.”

The government and commissioner Lucki have been under scrutiny over their involvement in the case, after allegations were raised Tuesday that the worst mass shooting in Canadian history was being used by the federal government to help push forward a new gun ban.

According to documents released as part of the Mass Casualty Commission, in a meeting 10 days after the killing rampage that left 22 people dead, lead Mountie Lucki allegedly expressed her disappointment with the Nova Scotia division’s handling of press briefings, because she wanted them to release specific information on the firearms used by the perpetrator.

In handwritten notes, Nova Scotia RCMP superintendent Darren Campbell wrote that Lucki indicated she promised then-minister of public safety Bill Blair and the prime minister’s office that the RCMP would release this information, and that this was tied to pending gun control legislation intended to make officers and the public safer.

At the time, the Nova Scotia RCMP — which was under heavy scrutiny for its handling of the case from the start — said that releasing additional information would jeopardize the ongoing investigation into the perpetrator’s access to firearms.

Days later, the prime minister announced a ban on 1,500 assault-style weapons, including weapons used in the Nova Scotia shooting. Moving forward on gun control measures was a pre-existing Liberal commitment, dating back to their 2019 election campaign.

In echoing the denials from Blair and Lucki — who wrote in a statement that while she regretted how she approached the meeting, she would never jeopardize an RCMP investigation — Trudeau also told reporters that, while the government didn’t intervene, they did have questions.

“I will highlight however, that when the worst mass shooting in Canada’s history happened, we had a lot of questions. Canadians had a lot of questions. And I got regular briefings on what we knew, what we didn’t know. And those answers continue to come out, even as the public inquiry is ongoing,” said the prime minister, during a scrum with reporters travelling with him for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda.

Meanwhile, in the Ottawa as the spring sitting winds down, the opposition are continuing their push for a parliamentary committee study to provide a full airing of the facts as they relate to the matter.

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