The Biggest Mass Shooting in Canadian History Occurred Over April 18/19, 2020
What is one supposed to do when the media won't touch a story?
What you think might be the biggest story in Canada right now is the leaking of the Portapique 911 calls. (graphic transcripts, but the audio has been moved behind a paywall) For those who need context: the biggest mass shooting in Canadian history occurred over April 18/19, 2020. The shooter, impersonating a police officer and driving replica police vehicles, killed 13 people on the night of April 18 in the small town of Portapique, Nova Scotia, and then murdered 9 more the next day across the province before he was killed by police.
In the days after the mass shooting, the RCMP was heavily criticized for failing to adequately warn the public. Their sole communications with the public on the evening of the 18th was a tweet that they were investigating a "firearms complaint" in the Portapique area. The shooter had already killed several people the next morning before another tweet was sent around 8 AM informing the public a shooter was on the loose. Only at 10:30 AM, an hour before the shooter was killed, did the RCMP notify the public (again via Twitter) that the shooter was impersonating an RCMP officer. The province-wide emergency alert SMS system was never used, nor were local media.
In the months following the killings speculation swirled that the shooter had been a police asset. He had a series of gang and biker contacts. He had been reported to the police numerous times for owning illegal weapons, brandishing, and threats - with no action taken. 2 months before the killings he [had been pulled over by an officer who is officially deceased. 2 weeks before he withdrew $475,000 in cash from a security depot not available to the public.
For their part, the RCMP justified their slow response to the shootings by saying that they were not aware that he was impersonating a police officer until the next morning, when the shooter's spouse who had supposedly been hiding in the woods informed them. The leak of the 911 calls explicitly disproves this: all three of initial callers said that the shooter was posing as a police officer, and two specifically identified him (one by name). The RCMP lied about the extent of their knowledge on April 18.
And the reaction to the leaks in the mainstream Canadian media has been... nothing. Well, not exactly. The Globe and Mail and National Post, two right-leaning national papers, did not report on it. The CBC, Global and CTV, the national TV news networks all covered the leaks, but framed it solely in terms of the "outrage" on behalf of the victims' families; no mention of the content of the calls themselves were included. (123) Of all the major national news sources, only the Toronto Star (a left-leaning publication) noted that the calls directly contradicted the RCMP narrative.
So there you have it: a publication leaks shocking material that directly proves Canada's national police service lied about the circumstances of a mass shooting: handicapping their own response, directly leading to the deaths of additional civilians, and (whether true or not) fueling conspiracy theories that the shooter had ties to the police. And if the media covers it, it is in the context of how dare this tabloid not respect the victim's families!
I posted another comment on /canadapolitics about my thinking as to why the media coverage has been like this. It's kind of wild to me that in the four days since this story broke, the most substantial attention it has received was via a podcast. I really can't come to grips with it at the moment, it's all so bizarre.