The two RCMP officers who held the top jobs in Nova Scotia, and the entire force, during the mass shooting in 2020 are set to testify at the public inquiry into the massacre this week.
Across Monday and part of Tuesday, the Mass Casualty Commission leading the inquiry is expected to hear from Lee Bergerman.
Bergerman, the former assistant commissioner, had recently retired from her role as commanding officer of the Nova Scotia RCMP, which she held across April 18-19, 2020, when a gunman killed 22 people across the province.
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki is then expected to testify Tuesday into Wednesday.
The commission already interviewed both Lucki and Bergerman in early August.
Lucki has been caught up in a political controversy for weeks following allegations that she was under pressure to release specific information about the gunman’s firearms ahead of the Liberal government’s gun control legislation.
The questions began when Chief Supt. Darren Campbell’s notes from a call on April 28, 2020 with Lucki and members of the Nova Scotia RCMP were released as part of the inquiry in June.
Campbell wrote the commissioner was “sad and disappointed” and “had promised the minister of Public Safety and the Prime Minister’s Office that the RCMP, [we] would release this information.”
Bill Blair, who was public safety minister at the time, has denied ever asking Lucki to pressure the RCMP to make the information about the guns public. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government did not put any “undue” pressure on the RCMP.
Others on the April 28 call, including former Nova Scotia RCMP communications director Lia Scanlan, have backed up Campbell’s recollection of Lucki bringing up political promises to release the gun information.
But Lucki told the House of Commons public safety and national security committee that things only went sideways due to a miscommunication between herself and Nova Scotia RCMP.
Ahead of Campbell’s news conference on April 28, Lucki said Blair’s chief of staff asked her whether the gun details would be released publicly, so she checked with her national RCMP communications team who told her it would be.
Lucki relayed that information back to Blair’s office and the deputy minister of Public Safety. But when the gun details weren’t actually released, Lucki was upset because “I felt I had misinformed the minister and, by extension, the prime minister.”
Various topics for Lucki, Bergerman
While Lucki said she may have used the word “promise” in the April 28 call, she did not make a formal promise to government officials about the sort of information the RCMP would reveal.
The commission has said it expects Bergerman to speak on topics including RCMP culture, leadership and supervision within the Nova Scotia RCMP, and the psychological autopsy of the gunman. The commission also expects to hear from her on after-action reviews, communications with municipalities, and community policing.
Lucki will also be asked about Mountie culture, Nova Scotia leadership and supervision, as well as the role of communications within the RCMP.
Thursday has been set aside as an extra day for testimony, if needed.