Michael Zehaf-Bibeau video likely to be made public at House committee Friday
Special 1-hour session to include 'discussion' of video, update on investigation
Canadians may get to see the video made by Parliament Hill gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau before his Oct. 22 attack at the National War Memorial, when RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson appears at the Commons public safety committee on Friday.
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Paulson is scheduled to attend a special public session of the House of Commons public safety and national security committee from 11 a.m. to noon ET.
"At that time, committee members will be provided an update on the investigation arising from the events of Oct 22, 2014, in Ottawa," the spokesman told CBC News via email.
"The video made by Zehaf-Bibeau prior to his attacks at the War Memorial and Parliament Hill will also be examined."
Zehaf-Bibeau fatally shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier on ceremonial sentry duty at the War Memorial, before storming his way onto Parliament Hill and dying in a shootout with security officials.
Last month, the public safety committee extended an open-ended invitation to Paulson to "publicly display and discuss" the video.
Video part of 'ongoing investigation'
But as yet, there's no official confirmation that committee members will be shown the complete, unedited video or a selection of clips chosen by the RCMP.
The initial notice posted to the committee website on Wednesday morning specifically mentioned that Paulson's briefing would involve the "public display" of the video, but within minutes, it had been edited.
The new notice states that Paulson will provide a briefing on the video, but does not say if it will be shown to MPs.
Multiple sources, however, have told CBC News that the video will be aired publicly, most likely in its entirety.
Such a move would seem to have the support of the government as well.
"We are pleased that the RCMP has made the decision to publicly release and discuss the video," a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney told CBC News.
"This terror attack remains a significant example of why we need to pass our Anti-Terrorism Act — to ensure police and our national security agencies have the tools they need to keep Canadians safe," Jean-Christophe de Le Rue added.
PM says he hasn't seen video
Speaking to reporters at an event in Toronto today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it clear it wasn't up to him to decide whether to release the video.
"The video's in the possession of the RCMP — it's part of a police investigation," he noted.
"It's their judgment when and where to release it."
Harper said he hasn't seen the video himself.
Conservative Senator Daniel Lang, chairman of the Senate's national security and defence committee, has also written to Paulson to ask for the video's release.
In a letter dated Feb. 25, Lang and co-chair Grant Mitchell, a Senate Liberal, calls on the commissioner to release "the unedited video … at your earliest convenience, once your investigation has concluded, so that all Canadians can understand the motivation for the terrorist attack on our seat of government and on our sentry, Corporal Cirillo at the National War Memorial."
After news of the upcoming House committee broke on Wednesday, Mitchell told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning host Robyn Bresnahan he thinks it's good news that the video may soon be made public.
"I'm quite confident that the commissioner would have gone through the security and intelligence evidence value … and we'd be getting it at a time that is appropriate," he said.
He told CBC News that he and Lang wrote to the RCMP to show their support for the request made by their House colleagues.
Shooter's state of mind
"We agreed that we would put our voice behind the voices of the committee to say, could you please release this as soon as you can, legitimately, release it."
As for what he hopes to learn from the video, Mitchell noted that the Senate national security committee is currently studying the broader issue of radicalization, particularly homegrown.
"This is obviously an important case to be considered," he said.
He said the video could shed light on Zehaf-Bibeau's state of mind.
"One of the features of the testimony we're hearing is that often people are unbalanced who do this — perhaps that's obvious — but actually have mental illness difficulties, and find out what the relationship is to some form of radical ideology or ideas," he told CBC News.
He also wants to see the video ultimately released to the public.
"Yes, absolutely," he told Bresnahan.
"We need all the information we can get. Otherwise, we won't be able to find what causes these problems, and we won't be able to fund solutions that will protect Canadians, and that's what we want to do."
With files from La Presse Canadienne