Top Mountie asks watchdog to investigate seizures of guns from flooded homes

OTTAWA – The head of the RCMP is asking for an investigation into the seizure of firearms from homes evacuated during the Alberta floods last month.

Commissioner Bob Paulson has written to the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP, asking the agency to look into the matter.

The Mounties have said they took the weapons as officers searched homes in the High River flood zone to look for flood victims, pets and anything that might pose a threat to returning residents.

They said any firearms they took weren’t properly stored.

The Prime Minister’s Office condemned the seizures, saying the RCMP should have been focused on protecting lives and property.

In his letter to Ian McPhail, the interim chair of the watchdog agency, Paulson said while he is proud of the way his officers handled the disaster, he is concerned about the reaction to the weapons seizures.

“I am quite concerned by the sharp criticism that has arisen in the media with respect to the gun seizures from evacuated homes,” he wrote.

“Naturally this is quite troubling to me, and I am sure to you, as indeed it must be to many Canadians who wonder what was going on in High River.

“I am writing today therefore, to ask if you would consider a ‘chair-initiated complaint’ to permit you to investigate our actions in High River to assess if they were well founded, reasonably executed and in accordance with our policies.”

He said the Mounties will co-operate fully with an investigation.