MONCTON, N.B. — RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says the provision of high-powered carbine rifles raised concerns for him about the potential “militarization” of the force.
Paulson made the statement while on the stand today at the force’s Labour Code trial in Moncton, N.B., adding that he was involved in the initial discussions about the introduction of carbines in the RCMP.
He told the court he worried the weapons could create distance between the public and police, and that while officers need to be properly equipped, the C8 carbine needed to be properly rolled out.
The national force faces four charges stemming from Justin Bourque’s shooting rampage in 2014 that left three officers dead and two injured in Moncton.
The RCMP is accused of failing to provide members and supervisors with the appropriate information, instruction, equipment and training in an active-shooter event.
Carbine rifles were not available to general duty officers during Bourque’s shooting spree on June 4, 2014, and numerous witnesses have testified they could have made a difference.
Bourque was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 75 years after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.