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opinion

The Liberal government and RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki are denying they interfered in the criminal investigation of the 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia to advance the government’s agenda.

I don’t buy that denial for a minute.

The national police force has a decades-old record of politicizing criminal investigations, from burning a barn while snooping on the Parti Québécois in the 1970s to announcing it was investigating then-finance minister Ralph Goodale in the middle of the 2006 federal election.

And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has brazenly broken the rules time and again, without ever showing any real remorse.

Who does not believe the Liberals would seek to exploit the worst mass shooting in modern Canadian history to advance their agenda on gun control? That sort of thing is in their DNA.

Ms. Lucki stoutly denies that she pressed officers investigating the shooting to publicly reveal the types of guns the shooter used. “I would never take actions or decisions that could jeopardize an investigation,” she said in a statement Tuesday.

Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair, who was public safety minister at the time of the shooting, maintained “no direction and no pressure was given by me or by any member of this government to direct [Ms. Lucki] in any way.”

But the evidence to the contrary is compelling. According to the Halifax Examiner, which published notes taken by Superintendent Darren Campbell, Ms. Lucki pressed him and other investigators to release the types of weapons that were used in the shooting.

According to those notes, Ms. Lucki had “promised the Minister of Public Safety and the Prime Minister’s Office” that the list of weapons used would be released, information that “was tied to pending gun-control legislation.”

Why would Supt. Campbell write down such a note if the event had not happened?

Pressing police to release details of a criminal investigation in order to further the government’s agenda is entirely in keeping with this Prime Minister’s behaviour.

Mr. Trudeau has been investigated by the ethics commissioner three times, a discreditable record. He broke the rules by vacationing on the private island of the Aga Khan in 2016. More seriously, he later sought to compel then-attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to interfere in the criminal prosecution of the engineering firm SNC Lavalin. He also apologized for not recusing himself from cabinet’s decision to award a lucrative contract to WE Charity, which had paid members of his family for speaking engagements.

Then there is the politics of gun control.

The Liberals love to use the issue as a cudgel against the Conservative Party. Many Conservatives believe citizens should have the right to use guns for hunting, to protect livestock, and for recreational shooting. They point out that the handguns used in crimes are almost always acquired illegally.

But urban voters fear both handguns and long guns. They support increased restrictions. So the Liberals often deploy gun control as a wedge issue against the Conservatives, as they did successfully in last year’s federal election.

Pushing the RCMP commissioner to get investigators to release the list of guns used in a crime in order to juice a new announcement on gun control is exactly the sort of thing you would expect this government to do.

The Liberals love to exploit the news of the day to further their agenda. Following word that the U.S. Supreme Court was preparing to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protects abortion rights, they announced increased funding for abortion services.

And in the wake of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Tex., they introduced new gun-control legislation, just as they released new restrictions after the Nova Scotia shootings.

To sum up: It is entirely consistent with this Liberal government’s disregard for proper procedure and its eagerness to exploit the news of the day for the Prime Minister’s Office to push for the release of the kinds of guns used in a major crime. It wouldn’t bother anyone in that office in the least.

Normally heads would roll if there is evidence politicians interfered in a criminal investigation. But Justin Trudeau has shrugged off worse than this and gotten away with it. He will almost certainly get away with it again.

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