RCMP are investigating what happened to the recording of a contentious meeting between senior RCMP headquarters and force officials in Nova Scotia days after the 2020 mass shooting.
During the April 28, 2020 conference call, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki reportedly expressed frustration with Nova Scotia RCMP communications following the rampage that left 22 people dead, including a pregnant woman.
According to notes released by the Mass Casualty Commission by the Chief Superintendent. Darren Campbell, Lucki slammed him for not releasing details of the guns used in the killings at a press conference earlier today, saying she had promised the Prime Minister’s Office that the information would be released as part of “the pending gun control legislation”.
However, in testimony Friday before the Mass Casualty Commission, one of the nation’s top RCMP commanders said the recording of the meeting has since been erased.
“It doesn’t exist because Mr. Brien deleted it from whatever phone he was using at the time,” Deputy Commissioner Brian Brennan said.
The man he is talking about is Dan Brien, a senior civilian media relations officer at RCMP headquarters in Ottawa. Brennan said efforts were underway to try to recover the recording.
Although the RCMP acknowledges that part of the meeting was recorded, the force says the recording is “not available to them”.
In a statement emailed to CTV News, Robin Percival, spokesperson for the RCMP, said the force is reviewing the matter “to determine what further action is required.”
“As this review is ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time,” Percival said.
Lawyers for the families of those affected by the mass shooting told CTV News they have questions about the incident, including why the existence of this recording had not been brought up earlier.
It comes after the release of Campbell’s notes prompted opposition parties to accuse the federal Liberals of interfering in an open inquiry to enact policy.
A letter written by RCMP civilian communications officer Lia Scanlan, dated April 14, 2021, said Lucki was furious that Halifax staff had not released gun details, suggesting they had abandoned surviving children whose parents had been killed in Portapique, Nova Scotia.
“It was appalling, inappropriate, unprofessional and extremely belittling,” Scanlan wrote. “Someone from the RCMP say we let the boys down. Nothing makes this acceptable, especially since it was said by the person who, by rank, is at the top of our organization.
Scanlan said Lucki “advised us of the lobbying and conversation with[Public Safety]Minister (Bill) Blair, which we clearly understood was related to the upcoming passage of gun legislation fire”.
“I remember a feeling of disgust when I realized that was the catalyst for the conversation and maybe a vindication of what you were saying about us.”
In July, Campbell told the inquest that as a seasoned investigator he was strongly opposed to releasing information about the weapons held by the killer, Gabriel Wortman.
“It was a no-brainer,” he said.
Lucki has repeatedly denied being directly pressured to release details under the Liberal government’s gun control agenda.
With files from The Canadian Press