The Trudeau government’s most recent scandal, involving RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, raises many questions and has produced few answers.
In particular: Did the federal government pressure Lucki to do their bidding during a terrible shooting that rocked our country to its very core?
On April 18 and 19, 2020, lone gunman Gabriel Wortman went on a shooting spree that killed 22 people and injured three others. It started in the rural community of Portapique, N.S., and ended when he was shot and killed by RCMP officers in the urban community of Enfield.
The Liberals decided to use this horrible tragedy, which hurt families and communities, for political gain. They quickly announced a permanent ban on 1,500 models of “military-style assault weapons,” including the AR-15.
Trudeau’s strategy was widely condemned by many gun owners and even some non-gun owners. They had good reason. Military-style assault weapons generally fall under the category of automatic weapons, which are already banned in Canada. What the government did was target semi-automatic weapons, which normally don’t fall under this category. Such a ban would have little to no effect in cracking down on violent crime.
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The PM didn’t even recall Parliament to enact this measure. He used an order-in-council to push through the ban without debate. While that’s not against parliamentary procedure, his strategy was definitely undemocratic. Guns and ownership are important issues in parts of urban and rural Canada, including Indigenous communities. MPs should have been able to have a say in this matter, rather than the PM closing the loop and ramming this controversial legislation through.
This is yet another reason why Trudeau has been such an embarrassment as a national leader. And it’s well within the realm of possibility that his embarrassing actions could end up being worse than many Canadians originally imagined.
On June 21, freelance journalist and retired CBC News reporter Jennifer Henderson wrote a bombshell piece in the Halifax Examiner. She claimed “RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki ‘made a promise’ to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office to leverage the mass murders of April 18/19, 2020 to get a gun control law passed.”
According to her investigative work, “a week after the murders, Lucki pressured RCMP in Nova Scotia to release details of the weapons used by the killer. But RCMP commanders in Nova Scotia refused to release such details, saying doing so would threaten their investigation into the murders.”
Many Canadians know that the principle of an arm’s length agreement between governments and institutions can be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Some governments are far worse than others, but it’s a sad reality of modern politics.
And if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Trudeau in his years in office, it’s that he has a habit of dancing with the devil when it comes to ethics and moral values. This includes everything from ethics violations related to taking a trip to the Aga Khan’s private island and the SNC-Lavalin controversy, all the way to three earlier instances of wearing blackface.
The initial concern was whether Lucki was simply doing the Liberal government’s bidding to ban military-style assault weapons or if she was acting on her own for personal reasons. Trudeau said on June 23 that the government “did not put any undue influence or pressure,” and he “still very much have … confidence in Commissioner Lucki.”
The narrative has been modified and intensified to some extent.
Two RCMP officials who were on the April 28, 2020, phone call where Lucki spoke with Halifax staff have suggested the commissioner was pressured by the government. In the most recent example, an RCMP communications manager, Lia Scanlan, wrote in a letter dated April 14, 2021, that Lucki “informed us of the pressures and conversation with Minister Blair, which we clearly understood was related to the upcoming passing of the gun legislation. I remember a feeling of disgust as I realized this was the catalyst for the conversation and perhaps a justification for what you were saying about us.”
What exactly is going on?
It’s all speculation at this point. The House of Commons is in recess until September. Blair has denied his, as well as the government’s, involvement.
While Lucki hasn’t spoken about this latest controversy, the commissioner needs to clear the air and provide her interpretation of the events that unfolded mere days after the Nova Scotia shooting.
Trudeau and his government will undoubtedly be listening – perhaps while fidgeting furiously in their seats.
Michael Taube, a Troy Media syndicated columnist and Washington Times contributor, was a speechwriter for former prime minister Stephen Harper. He holds a master’s degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics.
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