Skip to main content

'It shouldn't be a political platform': Families of N.S. shooting victims 'troubled' by inquiry revelation

Relatives of those murdered in the April 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia have added their voices to those already raised to a fever-pitch in Ottawa.

It’s all fallout after a document released Tuesday by the Mass Casualty Commission cited notes written by Nova Scotia RCMP Supt. Darren Campbell after a meeting between provincial RCMP commanders and the head of the force.

In those notes, Campbell details how Commissioner Brenda Lucki expressed “disappointment” that information on the weapons used by Gabriel Wortman during his 13-hour rampage hadn’t been made public in the days after the shootings.

Campbell describes, in his own handwriting, how Lucki explained she had made “promises” to the federal public safety minister and the Prime Minister’s Office that the information could be tied to the Liberal’s pending gun control legislation.

Shortly after the documents were made public by the commission, Lucki released a statement denying the accusations.

"As a police officer, and the RCMP Commissioner, I would never take actions or decisions that could jeopardize an investigation,” she wrote in her Tuesday night statement.

“I did not interfere in the ongoing investigations into the largest mass shooting in Canadian history."

Wednesday, a lawyer representing many of the families of the 22 people killed in the tragedy released a statement on their behalf in reaction.

“Our clients are understandably troubled by what they heard yesterday,” writes lawyer Michael Scott of Patterson Law. “In the days following April 19, 2020, all efforts should have been focused on supporting victims, their families and the active investigation being carried out by local RCMP.”

“Interfering in those efforts, to exploit a perceived political opportunity or otherwise, would have been inexcusable,” Scott continues. “We trust that the Mass Casualty Commission recognizes the importance of determining the truth of these allegations and the need for fulsome cross-examination of the relevant witnesses.”

“Who's telling the truth and who's not,” wonders Scott McLeod, the brother of Sean McLeod, who was among the Nova Scotians killed on the second day of the massacre two years ago.

Scott says families are already dealing with so much, and that even hearing the possibility anyone may have played politics with the tragedy makes the situation worse.

“With all these people that were murdered, and the families and friends and all the friends that were standing by, watching and looking for information,” he says. “It shouldn't be a political platform.”

He and many families affected by the mass shooting are now calling the inquiry to investigate accusations they say would be “inexcusable” if found to be true.

“Given the seriousness of the allegations, we hope that the commission recognizes that this is a matter that we very much need to sort out the truth of exactly what happened,” says Scott.

“Obviously, these are very serious allegations,” says PC MP Dr. Stephen Ellis.

Ellis represents the constituency of Cumberland-Colchester, which encompasses many of the communities most affected by the mass shooting.

“I think these are important questions that Canadians want to know the answer to, that I want to know the answer to,” adds Ellis. “It seems a bit unusual that we’re bringing politics into this terrible mass tragedy that’s already difficult enough for the people affected… but this is very important, you can’t allow political influence into any police or investigative processes.”

Former OPP Commissioner and CTV public safety analyst Chris Lewis says the explosive allegations come at a time when the RCMP needs leadership more than ever.

“If (Supt. Darren Campbell) sat and made notes, number one, he made them for a reason,” says Lewis. “And number two, he believes what he heard.”

“If she said it, and it's true, and there was pressure put on her, then government's got a lot of questions to answer,” adds Lewis.

Campbell and Lucki are both among top-ranking RCMP officials that are expected to give evidence at the Mass Casualty Commission.

In her statement, Lucki said she will be giving testimony “in the coming weeks.”

In response to an inquiry from CTV News, a commission lawyer, Emily Hill, would only say that the commission’s work is “directed by the Federal/Provincial Orders in Council.”

Those orders in council do state the commission is tasked with examining “communications with the public during and after the event.” Top Stories

Stay Connected