OTTAWA — Members of Parliament will get the chance Friday to see the video Michael Zehaf Bibeau made last October before he killed a Canadian soldier and stormed Parliament Hill.
The RCMP will use an open meeting of the House of Commons public safety committee on Friday to provide a ’detailed update’ of the investigation into Zehaf Bibeau’s deadly attack, said a source familiar with the matter.
The source, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the video would be shown to the committee.
A spokesman for the public safety minister said Tuesday the federal government wants the video to be released, despite the fact the investigation into the shooting is ongoing. The Commons public safety and Senate security committees have echoed that sentiment.
However, when asked about the matter Wednesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it’s entirely up to the RCMP whether to release the video, since it’s part of an ongoing police investigation.
“It’s not my decision one way or the other,” Harper told a news conference in Toronto.
“The video is in the possession of the RCMP, it’s part of a police investigation, so it’s their judgment when and where to release it.”
Harper went on to say Canadians are all too aware of an ever-present threat posed by “violent jihadism” and should continue to be vigilant and to co-operate with authorities.
In the days following the attack, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said he wanted Canadians to see what he described as footage of Zehaf Bibeau explaining his actions in a deliberate and lucid manner.
He has since said that while some transcripts might be provided to the public, he didn’t think the video would ever be released.
Harper was also asked whether the government intends to entertain possible amendments to its controversial anti-terror legislation.
Harper said he didn’t want to prejudge the outcome of upcoming committee hearings, but suggested additional changes are unlikely.
“We do always listen, but I should be very clear the government deliberated long and hard over these changes; they’re changes that have been done in almost every other country,” he said.
“In our view most of them are long overdue and we are fully committed to passage of the legislation, and I note the public is very, very strongly supportive of passage of the legislation also.”
The bill would significantly expand the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s mandate, giving CSIS the ability to disrupt terror plots, make it easier to limit the movements of a suspect, expand no-fly list powers, crack down on terrorist propaganda, and remove barriers to sharing security-related information.
Opposition MPs have repeatedly criticized the government for boosting security powers in the legislation but not giving watchdogs more bite.