Earlier today I wrote an item about a curious statement RCMP Commissioner Bill Elliott made during an interview with the Toronto Star. Here's what Elliott said:
"We will make submissions to the inquiry," said Elliott. "I think it's fair to say that we will say if we had to live life over again, and I'm sure that our members would say – I've never discussed this with them because I've never discussed this incident with them – if they had to live life over again, there are things that they would do differently."
At first I thought that Elliott was saying that he'd never discussed the Dziekanski business with members of the RCMP. That sounded patently ridiculous so I concluded he must have meant that he hadn't discussed it with the four officers involved - keeping his distance so to speak in contemplation of an investigation. Then I got this comment from Dr. Dawg:
"A day after the release of an eyewitness video of the events leading up to Dziekanski's death, the RCMP commissioner called the four officers involved in the incident and expressed his support, according to the partially redacted e-mails.
"I have just now placed calls to all four members. I spoke to three of the four," Elliott wrote in an e-mail dated Nov. 15 to Gary Bass, the RCMP deputy commissioner for the Pacific region.
"I know this is tough on you and all our folks in E Division. Please be assured of my ongoing support," Elliott wrote.
One of the several troubling aspects of the Dziekanski affair has been the persistant efforts of the RCMP to mislead the Canadian public.
The CBC story revealed that, far from not talking to members about Dziekanski, Elliott moved with the speed of a veteran political functionary to bring the controversy into his Ottawa headquarters where he could institute damage control:
Dziekanski died after being zapped with a stun gun at the Vancouver International Airport on Oct. 14, 2007, by RCMP officers who were called to help deal with the Polish immigrant, who apparently became agitated from spending 10 hours at the airport. From that day, RCMP e-mail exchanges obtained by access to information requests suggest the force moved quickly to create a strategy.
The strategy involved all answers being vetted in Ottawa, including ones described by RCMP Commissioner William Elliott as "tough or dirty questions" from the media.
You can read the entire CBC News report from last July, here:
This erases any remaining doubt that Elliott was and is directly and fully responsible for the way the RCMP misled the Canadian public and our media. It's time he moved on.