Five days after the deaths of four RCMP officers during an auto-part theft investigation, officials are admitting that they made a mistake when they blamed the deaths on pot.
Within hours of the death, RCMP spokespeople told the press that they had found 300 plants worth $400,000 dollars during a marijuana raid that involved Green Team Members. It later was revealed that the investigation was for auto-part theft rather than pot, that the Green Team hadn’t been in attendance (rather it was rookies from the auto-theft unit), and that the killer was a well-known psychotic gun nut with a history of violent outbursts and weapons offenses, not an organized drug criminal. His shed contained only a small 20-plant operation.
Police Commissioner Guiliano Zaccardelli apologized profusely for his misleading comments.
“I gave what I believed was the best information I had knowing full well that at that time I didn’t have all the information,” he told the press. “Clearly, there’s a lot of things in there that, in hindsight, we will have to look at in a different perspective.”
He admitted, specifically, that blaming the deaths on grow ops may have been inappropriate, and that the nation needed time to mourn the officers’ deaths.
Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan refused to reply to Zaccardelli’s recent comments. Almost immediately after the shooting, McLellan rallied for a tough anti-growing bill to be rammed through parliament at the earliest possibility. She has admitted, however, that she was shaken by the police deaths that occurred in her home province, verging on a confession that she may have over-reacted.
Even Conservative MP Randy White, known for his outrageous anti-pot sentiment and calls for harsher sentences against pot lovers, broke ranks with McLellan’s increasingly distasteful strategy to capitalize on police death for tougher laws when he admitted that pot was likely not to blame for the four officers deaths.
“The first thing that happened was that everybody acted based on a lack of information,” White told the press.
All in all, politicians seem to agree that the government will eventually react to the tragedy, but that marijuana was not a factor. Whether the abrupt about-face will be enough to stop legislative or budget changes that would increasingly target grow ops has yet to be seen.
This article was written and originally posted on March 8th, 2005