Just days after significant concerns were raised about the RCMP's handling of the April 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting in a public inquiry report, RCMP Commissioner Michael Duheme received a memo suggesting an immediate public apology, according to reporting by the Globe and Mail.
The memo was signed by Sorab Rupa, the RCMP's assistant commissioner, and claimed that “It is imperative that the RCMP acknowledge its failures and display a willingness to be accountable for them,” adding that the apology should be "timely and decisive."
The final report by the Mass Casualty Commission — the public inquiry looking into Canada's deadliest mass shooting — identified serious problems with the RCMP's response to the active shooter, including issues with training, communication, equipment, leadership and more. Despite the internal memo and the critical conclusions of the public inquiry's report, the RCMP has yet to publicly acknowledge its failures in handling the mass shooting event.
As reported by the Globe and Mail, the Mass Casualty Commission's final report called for the RCMP to "adopt a policy of admitting its mistakes, accepting responsibility for them, and ensuring that accountability mechanisms are in place for addressing its errors.” The report also noted that RCMP leadership's response to legitimate concerns about police conduct during the rampage was "often characterized by denial or deflection.”
Michael Scott, a lawyer representing many of the victims' families, said that his clients are growing more and more frustrated by the RCMP's failure to apologize or hold itself accountable for failures in the response to the shooting.
When Michael Duheme, the RCMP's commissioner, held a press conference after the final report from the Mass Casualty Commission was released, he failed to apologize or admit that the RCMP had made errors while responding to the tragedy.
The deadly rampage began on April 18, 2020, in the small community of Portapique, when 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman assaulted his partner then proceeded to open fire on residents nearby. Neighbours had reportedly warned police about Wortman's bizarre and violent behaviour prior to the shooting.