NEWS
05/15/2015 11:46 EDT | Updated 05/15/2016 01:12 EDT

Harper confident in RCMP response to fatal shootings last year in Moncton, N.B.

TRURO, N.S. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he is confident the RCMP will move forward with recommendations stemming from the shooting deaths of three officers last year just as the force faces labour code violations linked to members' training and equipment.Harper wouldn't comment on the allegations Friday because they are part of a legal process, but said he was briefed by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson on what happened last June 4 in Moncton, N.B."The commissioner of the RCMP, commissioner Paulson and his people, have debriefed me from Day One on their analysis of the situation, on what they believe needs to be done going forward," he said after making an announcement in Truro, N.S."They commissioned a report and they are acting on the recommendations of that report and I have complete confidence in their ability to move forward." The RCMP announced Thursday night that Employment and Social Development Canada alleges there were violations of the labour code relating to the force's equipment, training and supervision.No one from Employment and Social Development Canada was available to elaborate on the charges.Rob Creasser of the Mounted Police Professional Association said he had mixed emotions about the charges."I'm saddened that it's come to this, but I'm elated that maybe there will finally be some accountability at the top end of the organization for members' safety," he said.Creasser and some serving members have been critical of the leadership of the RCMP for what they say are failures to adequately train and equip officers with proper weapons.In particular, they say the force has taken too long in rolling out the C8 carbine, a high-powered assault rifle that was recommended in a 2011 fatality inquiry report into the deaths of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Alta.Retired assistant commissioner Alphonse MacNeil, who issued 64 recommendations in the wake of the Moncton shootings, said the carbine could have made a difference in that incident and they should be rolled out faster. Justin Bourque murdered constables Doug Larche, Fabrice Gevaudan and Dave Ross, and wounded constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen when he set out on a rampage that targeted police.Bourque, 25, was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 75 years in October after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.MacNeil's review of the shootings in January said officers responding to the shootings faced a litany of problems that included communicating accurate information, accessing high-powered weaponry and securing protective equipment.Bourque used a semi-automatic rifle to shoot the five officers in the city, and set off a 30-hour manhunt that drew in officers from around the region.Paulson said in a statement Thursday night that the police force is considering the substance of the labour code charges and reviewing what actions it will take."The safety of our employees in doing this dangerous job, protecting the public, is always our priority," he said."As our honour roll sadly confirms, there has always been — and sadly always will continue to be — deadly threats to officers."He says further comment is inappropriate as the matter is before the courts.