Opposition Leader Candice Bergen wants a full investigation into questions around the RCMP Commissioner allegedly pressing her force to disclose the weapons used in the Nova Scotia mass shooting to help advance the federal Liberal government’s gun-control legislation.
But the interim leader of the Conservatives said Wednesday that she doesn’t have faith in a committee of MPs looking into the matter because of the supply and confidence agreement that the NDP struck earlier this year with the governing Liberals.
“We have seen the NDP help cover up a lot for the Liberals so I really have concern about a parliamentary committee,” Ms. Bergen told journalists as she arrived for this week’s caucus meeting.
“So I think there has to be more independence and the ability for more of an independent investigation to happen. I don’t trust the NDP to not cover up.”
She declined to provide further specifics.
The public inquiry into the April, 2020, killings of 22 people by a lone gunman has been told that in an April. 28 conference call, Commissioner Brenda Lucki chastised senior commanders for withholding information about the guns used in the attack – allegedly telling them those details could be leveraged for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s gun-control agenda.
The Mass Casualty Commission released supporting documents and notes Tuesday involving a conversation between Commissioner Lucki and RCMP officers overseeing the Nova Scotia investigation into the murders. Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife, Senior Parliamentary Reporter Steven Chase, and Atlantic Canada Reporter Greg Mercer report here.
Meanwhile, Opposition House Leader John Brassard said the Conservatives were going to ask the Speaker for an emergency debate in Parliament on this issue. Mr. Brassard said the debate should include inflation and the passport “fiasco” as Canadians seek access to travel documents. He said the request would be made Wednesday.
Mr. Brassard expressed more faith in a committee investigation than Ms. Bergen, saying “at a minimum” questions about the RCMP and the mass shooting need to go to a parliamentary committee. “We expect that this is going to end up at a parliamentary committee so that we can get to the truth of this matter.”
He said the process needs to move as quickly as possible, even ahead of the inquiry in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia MP Chris d’Entremont said the situation is disturbing. “It makes me sick,” the member for West Nova and the deputy speaker said.
“Twenty-two people died in Nova Scotia. We, as Nova Scotians, mourn the loss of those people as do our neighbours.”
This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you're reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.
INFLATION AT FOUR-DECADE HIGH - Canadian inflation accelerated to the highest rate in nearly four decades in May as calls broaden for policy makers to find new ways of curbing runaway price growth. Story here.
HOCKEY CANADA FUNDING TO BE FROZEN - Hockey Canada’s federal funding is being frozen in the wake of the national sport body’s handling of an alleged sexual assault and out-of-court settlement. Story here.
WHEREABOUTS OF SCIENTISTS STILL A MYSTERY - A year and a half after two Canadian scientists were fired from Ottawa’s top-security infectious-disease laboratory over alleged national-security breaches, it is still unclear whether the couple are now in China or living at an undisclosed location in Canada. Story here.
SITUATION AT PASSPORT OFFICES “UNACCEPTABLE”: TRUDEAU - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising to do more to fix what he calls an “unacceptable” state of affairs at passport offices overwhelmed as thousands of Canadians scramble to get necessary documents before travelling abroad. Mr. Trudeau made the comments in an interview on CBC Radio’s The House that will air Saturday. Story here from CBC.
PM DEPARTS FOR INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENTS - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has departed for a 10-day international trip, with the Russia-Ukraine conflict expected to be a major focus during stops in Kigali, Rwanda as well as Germany and then on to Madrid. Story here.
REMPEL GARNER CLEARS HURDLE FOR UCP LEADERSHIP BID - Long-time federal Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner has cleared a barrier for entry into the United Conservative Party leadership race to replace Alberta Premier Jason Kenney after the UCP agreed to let her run despite the potential candidate not being a party member long enough. Story here.
STEFANSON HAS COVID-19 -Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson has tested positive for COVID-19. Story here.
MPS EQUIPPED WITH PANIC BUTTONS - MPs say they are getting used to the option of carrying panic buttons that can summon help, even when away from Parliament Hill, amid rising threats against parliamentarians. Story here..
TRANS MOUNTAIN PIPELINE NO LONGER PROFITABLE: PBO -The Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain oil pipeline is no longer profitable after cost overruns and delays to its expansion project, the country’s parliamentary budget officer (PBO) said on Wednesday. Story here.
CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP RACE
CAMPAIGN TRAIL - Scott Aitchison is in Ontario. Patrick Brown is in Brampton. Jean Charest is in the Toronto region meeting members and working with his campaign team. Leslyn Lewis is in Ottawa, and was at the national Conservative caucus meeting Wednesday. Pierre Poilievre is in Ottawa. There’s no word on the campaign whereabouts of Roman Baber.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected Order of Business at the House of Commons, June 22 accessible here.
DEPUTY BANK GOVERNOR TO RETIRE - Timothy Lane, the deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, will retire on September 16, 2022, the bank announced on Wednesday. Mr. Lane joined the bank in August, 2008, as an adviser to the governor, after a 20-year career at the International Monetary Fund. He was appointed Deputy Governor in 2009.
FREELAND INTRODUCING ZELENSKY - Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was scheduled to introduce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, at a virtual address to students at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. The event was livestreamed here.
JOLY TO RWANDA AND MADRID - Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is travelling to Kigali, Rwanda, from June 22 to 25, to attend the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting, then to Madrid from June 28 to 30 to attend the NATO Leaders’ Summit with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
CHAMPAGNE IN TORONTO - Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne was in Toronto on Wednesday for the Collision tech-industry conference.
HORGAN UPDATE ON $789.5M MUSEUM - In Victoria, British Columbia Premier John Horgan will be providing an update on plans to modernize the Royal BC Museum. The NDP government has been in political hot water over the $789.5-million cost to build a new museum on the site of the current complex. In May, Western Arts Correspondent Marsha Lederman looked at the situation here.
On Wednesday’s edition of The Decibel, Yap Boum from Doctors Without Borders talks about monkeypox in Central and West Africa. Then, Helen Branswell, senior writer at STAT News, whose beat is infectious diseases, provides an update on how monkeypox’s spread is different in Europe and North America, and why the World Health Organization might label it a “public health emergency of international concern” at its meeting Thursday. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
The Prime Minister arrives in Kigali, Rwanda for a conference on Commonwealth leaders.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet held a news conference on the session of Parliament ending this week.
Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen attended the national Conservative caucus meeting and was scheduled to attend Question Period.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh attended the NDP national caucus, held a news conference and attended question period.
FRANCOPHONE QUEBECERS AND FRENCH STATUS - Francophone Quebecers are concerned about the status of French, with seven in 10 feeling the French language is threatened in Quebec, according to new survey research. Details here.
CANADIANS ON UNITED STATES - Canadians are growing more confident in the United States as a trusted and reliable international ally, but losing faith in the man who’s currently running the country, a new poll suggests. Details here.
Andrew Coyne (The Globe and Mail) on how the government could do more to help the Bank of Canada fight inflation – or at least it could stop hindering it: “With inflation raging at levels not seen in more than 30 years, attention has turned to the different ways in which the Bank of Canada and the government might contribute to taming it. Specifically, it has been suggested that the government, which continues to pump out spending at a torrid rate, has been somewhat south of helpful in this regard. That’s true, though perhaps not quite in the way that it has been presented.”
Sheema Khan (Contributed to The Globe and Mail) on how she was wrong that the Charter protects Canadians’ fundamental rights: “Much has been written about the history of how the notwithstanding clause came to be: a compromise between federal and provincial powers; a balance between elected representatives and unelected judges. Yet, this does not explain how basic human rights were used as a bargaining chip, rendering our Charter of Rights and Freedoms hollow. When it was introduced, the thought was that it would be rarely used. Some termed it the “nuclear button.” For decades, that was the case. However, within the past three years, it has been used twice by Quebec and once by Ontario.”
Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on how, talking straight to UCP anger, could win Danielle Smith the leadership of the Alberta party: “Many Albertans are dismissing Danielle Smith as a separatist flake who won’t get anywhere in the UCP leadership election. They should not. Smith is onto something that could win her the leadership and premier’s office. She’s flying out of the gate with a striking Alberta First agenda. Early polls show her rising and now leading among UCP loyalists – the only ones who will matter in the vote Oct. 6. Whether her plan to “nullify” federal laws would be a winner in next year’s general election is another matter. That seems unlikely, but we should also remember the adage about playing with fire.”