Former public safety minister Bill Blair says he will “of course” remain in cabinet as he continues to deny allegations he pressured RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki into interfering in the Nova Scotia mass shooting investigation.
In a Wednesday press conference, Blair claims he didn’t pressure Lucki or the RCMP into anything, but simply provided general oversight and received briefings.
“I know very clearly the line between government responsibility for governance and oversight of the RCMP and giving direction,” he said. “At no time did I cross that line or any member of my government cross that line, giving direction to the commissioner of the RCMP.”
Blair’s denial comes just after the Mass Casualty Commission released an email from the former head of communications for the Nova Scotia RCMP Lia Scanlan, in which she blasted commissioner Lucki for adhering to political pressure from Blair, calling her behaviour “appalling.”
Scanlan claimed that in a conference call between RCMP officers, Lucki demanded that the RCMP release the details of the firearm used in the shootings because of “the pressures and conversation with minister Blair.”
“I remember a feeling of disgust as I realized this was the catalyst for the conversation,” wrote Scanlan.
“I could not believe what you, the leader of our organization, was saying and I was embarrassed to be privy to what was unfolding. It was appalling, unprofessional and extremely belittling.”
A few days after the meeting where Lucki demanded the release of details related to the firearms used in the Nova Scotia killing, the Trudeau government announced a ban of over 1,500 makes and models of what it called “assault-style firearms.”
Scanlan’s email supported notes RCMP Nova Scotia superintendent Darren Campbell took during the meeting, in which he wrote Lucki promised Blair and the prime minister’s office that they would release details of the firearm used in the massacre to advance the Liberal legislative agenda.