OTTAWA – World Press Freedom Canada strongly condemns the poor public communications of the RCMP and the federal government in the aftermath of the April 2020 shooting in Nova Scotia that left 22 people dead.
The Mass Casualty Commission currently reviewing the incident issued a report on Tuesday outlining how the RCMP provided erroneous and misleading information to media and the public in the hours after the shooting occurred.
The commission report contained allegations that the RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki pressed RCMP subordinates to disclose the weapons used in the massacre to help advance the Trudeau government’s gun control agenda. Investigators were concerned such disclosure would interfere with their investigation into how the weapons had been obtained, the report said.
It also catalogued a series of deliberately inaccurate statements with regards to the number of casualties, and failure of RCMP to release names of the victims in a timely manner.
In the aftermath of any major crime, the RCMP and government agencies must provide timely and accurate information to media and the public as quickly as possible, without political interference.
Timely and accurate disclosure is a crucial part of ensuring police accountability and is in keeping with the public’s right to know.
RCMP must review its communications policies to ensure all officers know their obligations with respect to transparency and keeping the public informed. We urged Parliament to review the commission’s report to further clarify the RCMP’s conduct and determine whether there was undue interference from government.
World Press Freedom Canada is an Ottawa-based volunteer group that advocates for press freedom at home and abroad.
WPFC President Heather Bakken, 613 406-5432
WPFC vice president Shawn McCarthy, 613 294-4491