Greens applaud decision to hold full public inquiry into Nova Scotia mass shooting

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada applauds the decision to hold a public inquiry into the mass shooting that took place in rural Nova Scotia on April 18 and 19, 2020. Twenty-two people were killed during this tragic event.

“We welcome the news that the federal and Nova Scotia governments have decided to do the right thing and conduct a full public inquiry,” said Interim Green Party Leader Jo-Ann Roberts. “However, the survivors and families of the victims should not have had to protest in the streets to get here. They should have been listened to from the beginning.”

Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Nova Scotia Minister of Justice Mark Furey announced last week that an independent review panel, to be chaired by former Chief Justice of Nova Scotia Michael MacDonald, had been appointed to examine the events of April 18 and 19. The review panel also includes former deputy prime minister Anne McLellan and former chief of the Fredericton Police Force, Leanne Fitch. Yesterday, Minister Blair announced there will be a full public inquiry.

“The members of this panel are well chosen, respected and very capable. I have great faith that now that they have the right tools their work will help victims, their families, Nova Scotians and all Canadians understand how this tragic event happened and to prevent it from ever happening again,” said Ms. Roberts.

“The families of victims demand answers, but so too do all Canadians,” said Green parliamentary leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Far too often RCMP failures evade accountability and in this terrible tragedy, large questions remain. Why was the public not warned when the killings continued to take place, that a killer was still at large disguised as an RCMP officer? In order to get these answers RCMP officers must be required to testify under oath.”

Ms. May points out that in numerous cases, calls for an inquiry into the conduct of the RCMP have been evaded. These include the case against former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli, for interference in the 2005 federal election campaign; the October 22, 2014 shootings on Parliament Hill; arrests at Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick in 2013, and in Wet’suwet’en territory in 2019.

“We honour and mourn the loss of officer Heidi Stevenson,” continued Ms. May. “We acknowledge that, like Heidi, the vast majority of RCMP officers risk their lives for us every day. However, it does not serve or protect the interests of RCMP officers to avoid answering the hard questions.”

“I’m pleased that the government of Nova Scotia will be proceeding with a public inquiry. I hope that, like the intended review, it will consider gender-based and intimate-partner violence as part of the context motivating the gunman’s actions,” said Jenica Atwin (MP, Fredericton), Green Party critic for women and gender equality. “Casting light on intimate partner violence, coupled with enhancing supports for those experiencing it, will save lives.”

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