Politics had nothing to do with it: chief

An angry commissioner of the RCMP is denying suggestions that the head of the federal gun registry was sent for French training to lower his profile as the issue comes up for debate in Parliament.

Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak

Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak

EDMONTON — An angry commissioner of the RCMP is denying suggestions that the head of the federal gun registry was sent for French training to lower his profile as the issue comes up for debate in Parliament.

William Elliott says it’s “pure fiction” to say that putting Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak, who is a prominent advocate of the gun registry, on leave had anything to do with the fact a Conservative MP’s bill that would abolish it is expected to come before Parliament in the coming weeks.

“There is absolutely, positively nothing to the suggestion that there was any political role or interference with respect to this,” said Elliott in Edmonton, where he was attending a meeting of the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada.

Elliott’s denials follow similar statements from others, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and he sounded frustrated to be facing the same questions.

“There is not one iota of truth in (this.) The media, and others, just made this up,” he said.

“It’s not true, it’s not true, it’s not true. It’s just made up, and I’m really good if you guys would report the truth and not just idle speculation by certain politicians and certain members of the media.”

Elliott pointed out that Cheliak had been head of the firearms registry on an acting basis only.

In a sometimes testy exchange with reporters, Elliott also denied he had any influence over an upcoming report into problems in the RCMP’s management culture. Former CSIS director Reid Morden was appointed to investigate the working relationships of the RCMP’s top brass after the CBC reported that some senior Mounties didn’t like Elliot’s management style.

The commissioner acknowledged that some top brass in the force want him gone.

“I think that’s fairly self-evident,” he said. But he said he has no plans to quit and will wait to see what’s in Morden’s report.

“Decisions will be made following the receipt of that report,” he said. “I’m honoured to be the commissioner of the RCMP and I am committed to doing my very best as long as I am in that capacity.”

Elliott said the RCMP has found the long-gun registry to be a “provider of useful information to police services and (it) has contributed to officer and public safety.” As well, more police are using the registry, he said.

However, he wouldn’t say whether he or the force supports keeping the registry.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ice shifted to the shoreline at Sylvan Lake on April 21. (Photo contributed by Andrea Swainson)
Icy shores of Sylvan Lake

Ice shifted to the shoreline at Sylvan Lake on April 21. (Photo… Continue reading

A Loblaws store is seen Monday, March 9, 2015 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
In absence of mandated paid sick days, some companies are stepping up

Only 42 per cent of working Canadians say they have access to paid sick leave

President Joe Biden waves after holding a virtual meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Washington. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Evan Vucci
New emission-cutting goals called ‘aggressive,’ ‘ambitious’ and ‘illogical’

Canadian industry is being compelled to cut methane emissions by 45 per cent by 2025

Curtis Labelle (second from left) and his band are planning a cross-Canada tour in 2022. Meanwhile, Labelle is continuing to host his weekly livestreamed talk show, Chattin 88. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer rock pianist takes on a talk show role

Curtis Labelle’s Chattin 88 gets views from around the globe

Brooke Henderson, of Canada, watches her tee shot on the 17th hole during the final round of the Tournament of Champions LPGA golf tournament, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Canadian Brooke Henderson vaults into tie for fourth at LPGA Tour event

Henderson is sixth in the world women’s golf rankings

Switzerland’s skip Silvana Tirinzoni makes a call during a women’s curling match against Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Natacha Pisarenko
Previously unbeaten women’s teams suffer setbacks at Grand Slam curling event

Top six women’s and men’s teams qualify for the playoffs.

FILE - Gal Gadot arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Gadot is using her Hollywood star power to spotlight remarkable women from around the world. The “Wonder Woman” actor is host and executive producer of a new documentary series “National Geographic Presents IMPACT with Gal Gadot,” premiering Monday, April 26. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Gal Gadot spotlights women’s stories in new docuseries

First episode follows a young Black figure skating coach in Detroit

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino listens to speakers during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday October 2, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Retaking language test unfair during COVID-19: applicants to new residency pathway

New program aims to grant 90,000 essential workers and international graduates permanent status

LtE bug
Letter: Questions around city funding for Westerner

The Advocate article on April 21 on page 3 “Council to discuss… Continue reading

Toronto Maple Leafs' Nick Foligno (71) and Mitchell Marner (16) celebrate Marner's goal on Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit (30) during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Thursday, April 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
Leafs end five-game winless skid with 5-3 win over Jets in North Division battle

Leafs end five-game winless skid with 5-3 win over Jets in North Division battle

Taylor Pendrith from Richmond Hill, Ont. salutes the crowd after sinking a birdie on the 18th hole to come in at five under par during first round of play at the Canadian Open golf championship Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PGA Tour Canada splits into Canadian, American circuits for 20201

PGA Tour Canada splits into Canadian, American circuits for 20201

Like father, like son: Floreal emerges as one of Canada’s top sprinters

Like father, like son: Floreal emerges as one of Canada’s top sprinters

Most Read