(The Canadian Press)

Review of mass shooting in Nova Scotia to be conducted by three-person panel

The review panel is to complete its interim report by Feb. 28, 2021

Ottawa and Nova Scotia announced Thursday that a three-person panel will review the mass shooting that left 22 victims dead in April, though it will not be a fully public process.

Calling the killings “shocking and deeply concerning to all Canadians,” Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair noted many people have called for a comprehensive review.

“They want to know about all the circumstances that led to it, and perhaps most importantly, they want to know what we must do to make sure it does not happen again,” he told a news conference.

The panel’s interim and final reports will be presented next year to Blair and provincial Justice Minister Mark Furey before being made public. However, it appears little — if any — of the review will be conducted in open hearings.

The panel’s terms of reference don’t contain provisions to compel witnesses to speak under oath, and they say information collected in the preparation of its report “shall be kept confidential.”

The panel will be led by the former chief justice of Nova Scotia, Michael MacDonald, who will be joined by former federal Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan, and Leanne Fitch, the former chief of police in Fredericton.

Family members of victims have called for a full public inquiry that would include a comprehensive look at how the RCMP handled the April 18-19 shootings in central and northern Nova Scotia.

Furey said he expects the panel to take a “hard, broad and objective look” at what happened.

“We’ve heard the calls for answers and know that the survivors, families of the victims and the broader public want a process to get answers that is independent from government and will make recommendations in an impartial and transparent manner,” Furey said. “This review responds to those needs.”

ALSO READ: Over three dozen senators demand ‘open, transparent’ inquiry into Nova Scotia shooting

On Wednesday, close to 300 relatives of victims and their supporters marched to the local RCMP headquarters in Bible Hill, N.S., emphasizing their desire for a transparent and open inquiry.

A news release from the federal and provincial governments says the panel’s mandate is to conduct a broad review that includes the causes of the tragedy, the response of police and the way families of victims and affected citizens were dealt with.

The review panel is to complete its interim report by Feb. 28, 2021 and a final report by Aug. 31, 2021.

According to the terms of reference, the governments will consider the panel’s recommendations and commit to implementing them, “where reasonable,” within a reasonable time.

In a statement the RCMP’s commanding officer in Nova Scotia, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman, said the force welcomes the review.

“We support the independent review and will co-operate fully,” she said. She said April’s unprecedented events had forever affected victims’ families foremost, but also RCMP employees across the province, particularly those who were involved in the incident.

“We owe it to the memory of those we lost to learn as much as we can from this terrible tragedy,” Bergerman said.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File image)
Vehicle collides with propane line causing explosion in Thornhill

Driver sustained severe burns, was taken to Lower Mainland in air ambulance

The plan to build a staircase to the Bench includes a channel to more easily transport bicycles up and down. (Photo courtesy City of Terrace)
Staircase to Bench subject of City grant application

Would connect lower Eby St. to upper Eby St.

The car was trapped, with its driver inside, in a ditch off Hirsch Creek Main near Onion Lake overnight Monday (Oct. 19). Oct. 20, 2020. Kitimat RCMP photo.
Man found after spending overnight stuck in car in a ditch near Onion Lake

Kitimat RCMP said the man was stuck there overnight for about 10 hours

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More calls come in for Cullen’s removal as NDP candidate

Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs demand Cullen’s removal. Ellis says, There’s no place in B.C. for racism

Martin Holzbauer, independent, Nicole Halbauer, BC NDP, and Ellis Ross, BC Liberal Party, are the candidates for the Skeena riding in the upcoming provincial election. (Terrace Standard/BC NDP)
Skeena candidates talk northwest education

Online learning access and early childhood education were common themes

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

The Anonymous YVR is an Instagram page that reviews restaurants and other establishments around B.C. based on how well they adhere to COVID-19 rules. (Instagram)
Anonymous Instagram page reviews COVID-19 safety measures at B.C. businesses

There are a number of public health orders various types of establishments must follow to slow virus’s spread

Most Read