RCMP says it has 'multiple investigations' underway into ArriveCan scam

'The RCMP has multiple investigations underway into these matters. The principle of police independence is fully respected through all investigations,' said RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme.

RCMP says it has 'multiple investigations' underway into ArriveCan scam
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RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme revealed to MPs that there are multiple investigations underway into the ArriveCan scam.

Testifying before the House of Commons committee on public accounts on Tuesday, Duheme confirmed several investigations were underway. However, he declined to give any details, including what police are specifically looking into and when the probes might be completed.

“The RCMP has multiple investigations underway into these matters. The principle of police independence is fully respected through all investigations,” said Duheme.

Duheme was asked by opposition MPs for details about whether anyone had been charged or arrested in relation to ArriveCan, if warrants had been served, and whether the RCMP is investigation any government officials.

Duheme said there was no information he could provide.

“We look at investigations whether there is merit to it and once we begin investigations we maintain the integrity of that investigation,” he said. “I’m not going to comment on the avenues that we are investigating.”

He stated it is impossible to predict when the investigations will finish, as it is unclear where they will lead.

“When you interview one person, that might open 10 different people that you must interview afterwards,” he said.

ArriveCan, the mobile app forced onto the travelling public to supposedly monitor COVID-19 and track vaccine status, was found to have cost $60 million to create, Auditor General Karen Hogan estimated.

The app was originally budgeted for just $80,000.

She noted, however, the actual total cost of the project would be "impossible to determine" due to poor record keeping.

GC Strategies, the contractor that received approximately one-third of the ArriveCan funding, was a two-person operation that appears to have acted as a middleman, connecting the government with other IT contractors capable of performing the work.

As part of the government investigation, two senior public servants have been suspended, and GC Strategies has been barred from bidding on government contracts.

One of the two owners of GC Strategies has had their Ottawa-area home searched. Kristian Firth was also called to be admonished at the bar of the House of Commons after he refused to answer questions from MPs.

Liberals on the committee questioned Duheme about whether the police had acted under political pressure. MP Iqra Khalid stated the Conservatives had not only been pressuring the RCMP to open investigations but also questioning the Mounties' independence.

“It is becoming increasingly disturbing watching individuals question the operational independence of law enforcement in this country,” she said.

Duheme made clear the RCMP is not under any political influence: “Never once have we been subjected to interference or suggestions or pressure to do something. I can confirm that across 37 years of my career,” he said.

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