Alberta justice minister calls for RCMP commissioner to be removed

Alberta’s justice minister is calling for RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki to be removed, believing she hasn’t taken accountability in recent police matters.

Tyler Shandro said in a statement Wednesday that Lucki risked the integrity of the investigation into the April 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia that killed 22 people.

Read more: Tories call for resignations after release of audio by Nova Scotia shooting inquiry

The federal conservative party called for Lucki to resign last month after audio was released of a conference call between Lucki and senior staff in Nova Scotia. In the call, she said she felt frustrated when she learned the speaking notes used for an RCMP news conference earlier that day did not include basic information about the killer’s weapons rampage.

She can be heard saying her desire to publicly share these basic facts was in response to a request she received from a minister’s office, though she did not specify which minister or the exact nature of the request.

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The Conservatives seized on these comments to suggest the Liberal government was interfering in the police investigation to further its pending gun control legislation.

Click to play video: 'Alberta’s resistance to federal gun buyback program politicizes police'

Alberta’s resistance to federal gun buyback program politicizes police

Shandro also took issue with Lucki’s actions leading up to the federal government invoking emergency powers during the Freedom Convoy protests and blockades in early 2022.

“As revealed last week, she failed to inform the federal cabinet of all law enforcement options available prior to the decision to invoke the Emergencies Act,” said Shandro.

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On Feb. 14, the day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the never-before-used emergency powers, Lucki did inform Mendicino of law enforcement options.

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Lucki had emailed Mendicino’s chief of staff a few hours before the Emergencies Act was invoked, saying she thought police had not yet exhausted “all available tools” in the response to the protest.

She added the Criminal Code and the then-recently announced provincial state of emergency in Ontario provided enough measures for police, including the laying of criminal charges and other deterrent measures.

Click to play video: 'RCMP Commissioner Lucki passes on question about systemic racism in RCMP'

RCMP Commissioner Lucki passes on question about systemic racism in RCMP

The minister said Lucki has also failed to deal with the RCMP’s history of systemic racism in a “forthright and public manner.”

In June 2020 amid worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd, Lucki first said systemic racism did not definitively exist in the RCMP, but backpedalled a few days later and said it did. She released a plan later that year to address systemic racism in the RCMP.

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Read more: ‘Listening’ and ‘learning’: Lucki details plan to address systemic racism in RCMP

“I am calling on (public safety minister Marco) Mendicino to immediately rescind commissioner Lucki’s appointment,” Shandro said. “The commissioner of the RCMP must be held to the highest of standards. So far, Minister Mendicino has stood idly by while commissioner Lucki has failed to meet even the most meagre of standards for the past two years,” he said.

“This is an abrogation of the minister’s core responsibility to Canadians and must be rectified before the RCMP’s reputation as Canada’s federal police service is further damaged,” said Shandro.

Shandro released a plan in August for a provincial police force that would see the federal RCMP continue to operate, focusing on federal policing in areas like cyber-terrorism, human trafficking and organized crime. The “Alberta Police Service” would add hundreds of front-line officers to small detachments who would focus on speeding tickets and other less serious crimes.

Read more: Alberta justice minister outlines plan for provincial police force

In a letter sent to the premier at the end of June, more than 70 rural Alberta municipalities asked the UCP to stop plans to create a provincial police force.

The group — consisting of crime and police agencies, union, Victim Services, dozens of towns, villages and municipalities — says “Albertans have stated loud and clear that they do not want a costly new police service, with an overwhelming 84 per cent of Albertans wanting to keep and improve the Alberta RCMP.”

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