So long, Dennis Daley, we didn’t know you at all – By Paul Palango – Frank magazine April 7, 2022
Seven months after he was named the new commanding officer of the beleaguered RCMP in Nova Scotia, Assistant Commissioner Dennis Daley has declined to take the job. Daley’s appointment was a secret inside the RCMP until Frank Magazine made inquiries about him last November. “On September 22, 2021, Assistant Commander Dennis Daley was named as the new Commanding Officer of the RCMP in Nova Scotia,” RCMP Corporal Lisa Croteau wrote to Frank at the time in response to a question submitted days earlier. “He will assume command when he arrives in Nova Scotia, which will be communicated publicly once the change of command date is confirmed.”
Daley was designated to replace Assistant Commissioner Leona (Lee) Bergerman who was in charge of the Nova Scotia Mounties on the weekend in April 2020 when demented denturist Gabriel Wortman killed 22 Nova Scotians in two rampages over a 13.5-hour period. In the intervening seven months, it appears that Daley never stepped foot into the mess that exists within the RCMP in Nova Scotia. A Frank tipster informed us that Daley had declined the NS C.O. job for personal reasons. “Curious if he thought the shit show was too much or something else in his life,” wondered the mole.
When the RCMP was asked about this recently, we received the following missive from RCMP spokesperson Cst. Guillaume Tremblay. “A/Commr. Daley’s personal circumstances have changed and he is not able to take on the Commanding Officer role at this time,” Tremblay said in an April 7 email. “The process for selecting a new Commanding Officer in the near term is underway,” Tremblay stated, adding: “C/Supt. Chris Leather is the acting Commanding Officer and will remain in the acting role until a new Commanding Officer is named.”
Chains and Gates; what went wrong at Bear Lodge April 18th 2020?
We’ll get back to this Leather thing in a moment or two, but first things first. Just like his appointment, Daley’s demise was not announced publicly by the RCMP. In the circumstances, with the controversy continually enveloping the force courtesy of disclosures from the ongoing Mass Casualty Commission and a reinvigorated media effort, the RCMP’s legendary secrecy should be under more scrutiny than ever. Nevertheless, it appears to be business as usual for the force. It doesn’t want to let the public know what it is doing and, oddly, governments and other RCMP enablers also don’t appear all that keen to push their way inside.
From the outset Daley’s appointment was viewed negatively by many who saw him as a long-time company man who was being sent in to smooth over the situation. Daley was coming with baggage. Last November, former Mountie Cathy Mansley showed me a human rights she had filed against him earlier that fall. She had sent it to Daley, with copies to Commissioner Brenda Lucki and Deputy Commissioner Brian Brennan, one of Daley’s mentors in the force. Was Mansley’s complaint the personal reason? Did the RCMP even know about it before Daley’s appointment was made? We don’t know. When told that Daley had now declined to come to Nova Scotia, Mansley had this reaction: “You’ve just made my day.”
The Daley debacle brings into focus the likely role being played behind the curtains by Deputy Commissioner Brian Brennan, who has otherwise escaped scrutiny as the ultimate officer in charge when the Nova Scotia massacres took place. From 2014 to 2019, Brennan was the commanding officer for the RCMP in Nova Scotia. In that position he oversaw the recruitment and appointment of those who would rise to positions of power and succeed him, particularly Bergerman and Chief Superintendent Janis Gray, who ran the Halifax County operations of the force, until her sudden retirement last year.
In 2019 Brennan moved to Ottawa where he became the Deputy Commissioner in charge of contract and indigenous policing across Canada. Contract policing is a subsidized federal service provided to provinces and municipalities outside Ontario and Quebec. Although the RCMP is nominally a federal police force, the majority of RCMP police officers work in contract policing. For that reason alone, as the commanding officer of that division, Brennan is considered to be second only to Commissioner Brenda Lucki in the force’s power rankings. “Brennan and his people are the ones pulling the strings in Nova Scotia,” one informed source says. “He put everyone in place there. He may be gone, but it’s still his show. He’s the guy who set up the systems and made most of the decisions that were in place in April 2020. He’s the one they are likely trying to protect in all this.”
Multiple sources say that the problem with finding a willing and competent replacement for Bergerman is a reflection of the dire situation that exists inside the RCMP. For decades the force’s promotion system has been criticized for its ineptitude. Rising to the top had little to do with merit and relied more upon nepotism, gender and identity politics, personal friendships and secret handshakes. A safe, risk-free and lucrative career path was more important than honour, duty and a commitment to public service. “The force is sinking,” said one source. “Right now, recruitment is down by 50 per cent. Nobody wants to be a Mountie and those that do, well, a lot of them aren’t properly qualified, but the force is prepared to hold its nose and let them in. They have no choice.”
A former RCMP Deputy Commissioner said in an interview that the RCMP model of policing is totally broken. “What’s going on within the RCMP is similar to what’s happening to the Ontario Provincial Police,” the former executive said. “Police recruits want to go to cities. They don’t want to live in rural areas where they can be moved around at will by their superiors. It’s a difficult and expensive way of life. Politicians have to wake up and recognize that the world has changed and that they are going to have to change with it. The RCMP has a $5.3-billion annual budget — $5.3-billion! – and it’s not doing it’s job. Yet, it wants more money. More money is not going to solve the problem. Rural communities can’t afford them now and the price is already going up 11 per cent due to pay raises. We need to rethink all this.” All of which brings us back to Chris Leather.
Leather was the Criminal Operations Officer at the time of the massacres. It’s impossible to forget his shaky performances at the first two press conferences after the massacres. He was the number two Mountie in the province, responsible for all operations, but yet seemed bewildered and confused, to put it mildly, about what had happened that weekend. But now Leather has been left as the man in charge. It seems implausible that such is the case. One would think that the provincial government would assert some control over the situation, but that’s not likely the case.
Premier Tim Houston is in a bit of a simple-minded political box. He’s “pro-police” and doesn’t want to upset the barking dogs in that community. But Nova Scotia taxpayers are footing the ever-increasing bill for ever-diminishing services. The RCMP in its capacity as a contract police force is subject to the provincial police act, but the government feels that it can’t exercise control over the RCMP because it is a federal police force. Nonsense.
We are paying for this police force and we, the citizens, must have control over it. What that means is that as long as the RCMP is policing this province we, the citizens, must have a say in who its commanding officers are – like we do with every municipal police force – and not have a nervous Deputy Commissioner in Ottawa foisting one of his loyal soldiers on us.
Paul Palango on the Rick Howe Show discussing Portapique
The Nova Scotia government and their partners attempt to cover up Portapique using domestic violence as a distraction
The Portapique Portal – Part 1; A cold dark night
A comprehensive timeline of the events leading up to and during the Nova Scotia Massacres on April 18-19 2020.
The Portapique Portal – Part 2; Where’s Wortman?
The Portapique Portal – Part 3; A lingering darkness
The Portapique Portal – Part 4; It’s Zero degrees outside!
Stones and Ghosts; The backstory of the Nova Scotia Massacre
A collection of articles to assist in building a backstory of everything leading up to the massacre
The Nova Scotia Massacre unpacked – chapter one
Shubenacadie; two cars without push bars
Paul Palango on the Nova Scotia RCMP and Portapique
The Nova Scotia massacres evidence compilation
The Cosmology of April 2020 and Portapique
Portapique – The Turning Tides of Justice
The ‘Big Stop’ – An Enfield Assassination
Orange Skies and RCMP lies; Portapique catches fire
Debert; the one that got away
The Peter Fonda movies that eerily reflect Gabriel Wortman’s life as well as the events that occurred on April 18th-19th 2020
Nova Scotia RCMP investigate (cover up) a mass shooting
40 Gallons And A Mule (Portapique in-sights)
135 Orchard Beach Drive
200 Portapique Beach Road – the cottage
The path of Gabriel Wortman during the Nova Scotia mass shooting – June 19 2020
ERT Guy and Mr Blue; The dm’s
Insider: Mass Casualty Commission, families ‘reluctant’ to examine Portapique criminal subculture
FRANK MAGAZINE FEB. 1, 2022 — by Paul Palango
On the evening of April 18, 2020, police, RCMP dispatchers and 911 callers were all openly speculating that the shooting and arson rampage taking place at Portapique Beach was part of a vendetta over the murders of two former members of the Hells Angels two decades earlier. The information is contained in so-called foundational documents being prepared by the federal-provincial Mass Casualty Commission empanelled to investigate the murder of 22 Nova Scotians by Dartmouth denturist Gabriel Wortman.
These new details are being provided to Frank Magazine from inside the MCC from a source we have named White Knight. The murdered bikers were Randy and Kirk Mersereau. “Within minutes of this going down, everyone is talking about the Mersereau trial… in a bizarre way from cops, 911 operators, locals calling in …. The common theme was that this is probably connected to the Mersereau trial,” White Knight said in an interview. “There is interesting chatter between the 911 dispatchers who were transfixed by the Mersereau angle. They were saying that what was going down in Portapique was because of Mersereau. Everyone seemed to be in the know. It was so strange.”
Lost in the shuffle was the fact that 911 call takers were told by three different victims that the shooter was Wortman, dressed as a Mountie and driving what appeared to be a fully decked out RCMP cruiser. The calls from Jamie Blair, her son, and wounded victim Andrew MacDonald came at 10:01 p.m., 10:16 p.m. and 10:26 p.m, respectively. Until 911 tapes were obtained by Frank Magazine in June 2021 from a source we dubbed True Blue, the RCMP had insisted that it did not know that Wortman was the shooter or dressed as a Mountie until the next morning. That’s when Wortman’s common-law wife allegedly came out of hiding in the woods at Portapique and told them about Wortman’s replica police car.
White Knight said the revelations shine a light on what he described as the largely hidden but substantial criminal subculture in the Portapique area. “I don’t know if there’s 100,000 documents but there’s a lot in the system,” he said. “There are so many people in Portapique who were witnesses in trials (and) others who were clearly members of organized crime or convicted members of organized crime.” White Knight also said that there are numerous links to the federal penitentiary at Springhill, west of Portapique. One of Wortman’s victims on April 19 was corrections officer Sean McLeod who worked at Springhill as a keeper. His girlfriend, Alanna Jenkins, was a keeper at the all-women’s Nova Institution in Truro. She too was murdered at their home on Hunter Road in Wentworth along with good Samaritan Tom Bagley.
Randy Mersereau was a Hells Angels leader in Nova Scotia before he left the gang and branched out on his own. He had put out contracts to kill three powerful Hells Angels leaders – David “Wolf” Carroll, Walter “Nurget” Stadnick and Mike McCrea. In a first attempt to kill Mersereau, on September 23, 1999, the Hells Angels bombed a car dealership he owned in Truro. Mersereau and six others were injured in the blast. RCMP informant Dany Kane was also assigned to kill Mersereau but he and his murderous partner, Aimé Simard, were stopped by police in Québec and prevented from carrying out the murder. In total Kane killed 11 people, including a young boy, while working undercover for the Mounties.
On Halloween Night 1999, Jeffrey Lynds and others kidnapped Randy Mersereau and murdered him with a machine gun. Mersereau’s body was buried by Lynds’s nephew Curtis Lynds in the woods of Colchester County. The skeleton was not discovered until December 2010. Meanwhile, Randy’s brother, Kirk Mersereau, took control of their criminal enterprise. On September 10, 2000, Kirk Mersereau and his wife, Nancy Christensen, were murdered at their farmhouse in Centre Burlington on the south side of the Minas Basin near Windsor, NS.
One of Kirk Mersereau’s killers, John Lawrence of Portapique, also murdered an innocent Portapique man, Charlie Maddison, who had given Lawrence a ride. Others involved in the murders included Dean Whynott and Les Greenwood. The connections to the Hells Angels and the Mersereau murders ran even deeper in the Portapique Beach community. The Lynds family and murder victims Greg and Jamie Blair were related by marriage. The RCMP seemed to have this on their radar, although there is no suggestion that the Blairs were involved in criminal activity.
A further connection on the other side of the story is with the Griffon family, which had ties to Randy Mersereau, who was a close family friend. Peter Griffon was convicted in 2017 of drug trafficking and weapons offences in Alberta. The RCMP in that province says Griffon was working with the Mexican drug cartel La Familia and the El Salvadoran street gang Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13, as it’s known. After being paroled from prison, Griffon moved back to Portapique where he became Gabriel Wortman’s helper, among other things, around his property. In that capacity he helped apply the RCMP decals to a decommissioned police cruiser that Wortman had bought from the government.
On the evening of April 18, 2020, amid two blazing nearby fires and in all the chaos, Griffon and his family were evacuated by the RCMP from their home at the foot of Portapique Beach Road one and a half hours before the police rescued four young children hiding in the basement of Lisa McCully’s home at 135 Orchard Beach Drive. Griffon was never charged with a criminal offense, but sources say that he violated parole and is currently back in prison. There are no details available at press time about the reasons for his reimprisonment.
Another victim who was involved with motorcycle gangs was Aaron Tuck, who had been associated with the Hells Angels rivals, the Outlaws MC. Tuck was shot and killed in his home on Cobequid Court along with his wife, Jolene Oliver and their 17-year-old daughter Emily Tuck. While the RCMP appeared to be focused on outlaw bikers and a possible hit team operating that night in Portapique Beach, White Knight said that despite the preponderance of evidence about criminal activities in the Portapique area, the Mass Casualty Commission is reluctant to either scrutinize or highlight what has been going on.
For example, Wortman had a significant personal and financial relationship with the late former Fredericton lawyer Tom Evans, as first reported by Frank Magazine in September of 2020. “As far as I can tell,” White Knight said, “Evans’ clients were mainly organized crime – the Mob.” Evans even represented Columbian drug cartel members who were caught in New Brunswick. All of this raises the issue of drug smuggling, one of Nova Scotia’s long-time favorite illegal water sports. “In terms of international drug trafficking you have one large port, Parrsboro, where there are lots of fishermen and pleasure craft in the summer,” White Knight said. “They are doing wet drops, dropping bundles off just outside the harbour and boats go out and pick it all up. Much of it goes straight from Parrsboro into the Springhill institution…. Wortman was clearly focused on Springhill.”
All of this, of course, raises the issue of whether someone inside Wortman’s circle, perhaps Wortman himself, was a confidential informant. “The police are saying that no one is a (confidential informant),” White Knight said. “But the RCMP undercover manual says the police can only admit to the existence of a C.I. to a judge sitting as a court,” I replied. “That’s the thing,” White Knight said. “The government lawyers won’t even comment. It’s hard to tell what’s really going on here. Wortman was a man who had a history of violence. He fired a gun in his own house in Dartmouth. He was involved in criminal activities all his life and all he had on his record was a speeding ticket. Wortman should have been on the radar much sooner.”
As intriguing as the organized crime angle might well be, there appears to be little appetite on behalf of the commission or the families of the victims to bring much of it into the daylight. The commission has made it clear to the public that there is not going to be much time spent on public testimony. As the commission put it in a recent press release, just about everything will be written down “limiting the need for lengthy proceedings and reducing the amount of verbal testimony required to do our work.” The commission says that key participants are being shown the available information and are being allowed to make comments.
The select group of key participants are governments, the RCMP and the family members of the deceased, each one of whom are being funded to the tune of $100,000 for their participation, according to White Knight. Even Wortman’s former common-law wife, Lisa Banfield, gets that money, even though there are serious questions about the credibility of her version of events. Almost all of those participants, with a few exceptions, have an interest in sanitizing what is to be discussed.
No one wants their dead loved ones linked to criminal behaviour, even if such revelations might better help the world understand what happened. White Knight confirmed that the issue of “The Lifestyle” – swingers – has come up as being an issue in the community. But nobody wants that discussed. “There’s certainly that angle,” White Knight said, adding: “And some of the victims are clearly ex-girlfriends he used to be able to sleep with, who would no longer sleep with him.”
He cited the case of Gina Goulet, the last person Wortman murdered on his spree, shortly after he had killed RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson and another Good Samaritan, Joey Webber, at a traffic circle in Shubenacadie. “Gina Goulet strikes me as an innocent victim. She was just an ex-girlfriend,” White Knight said. “He had been to her house, and she had been to his cottage visiting him at Portapique. She was someone who didn’t own a gun and he knew that.”
All this has left White Knight perplexed, the reason he has stepped forward. “The Commission has not been running smoothly, let’s make that clear,” he said, echoing the observations of other sources. The CBC’s Elizabeth McMillan recently reported that it has already spent $13-million dollars conducting the public hearing largely in private. Even though the Commission has doubled down recently promising to begin its public phase on February 22, White Knight is not convinced that is going to happen. “We get the feeling that it’s going to be cancelled again for some reason.”