July 24th, 2020
New Democrats call for a full public inquiry into Nova Scotia mass shooting
ST.JOHN’S—Today, NDP Public Safety Critic, Jack Harris, called on the government to conduct a full public inquiry into the mass shooting deaths of 22 people in Nova Scotia this past April, not the review announced today.
“These shocking killings affected the entire country and raised many questions about gun violence and the ensuing police response. A full public inquiry is what victims and their families asked for and it’s what they’re owed,” said Harris.“This was the worst mass shooting in Canadian history and it’s not appropriate or acceptable that the government would cut corners here. Canadians want to know what happened and what action can be taken to ensure this never happens again.”
The review process the Liberals have committed to will not guarantee public hearings and witnesses cannot be compelled to speak under oath. Once completed, the report will be made public, although information collected to compose the report "shall be kept confidential.”
“There is no good reason to conduct a review this way. We have a perfectly good Inquiries Act designed to guide these kinds of inquiries. The Act doesn’t impose unnecessary limitations or preclude any restorative justice actions –there is no downside to moving forward with a full inquiry,” said Harris.
Harris points to the review’s secrecy as a huge failure of transparency and accountability for the victims and their families but also for public safety and building trust in the police.
“There are a lot of unanswered and important questions and this review will not have to tools or teeth to answer them. This is step in the wrong direction. The government must begin a full, public inquiry attempt to answer the questions and seek to build the trust that police forces need from the communities they serve.”