(The Canadian Press)

(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.

Just Posted

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Million-dollar lotto ticket sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Carina Stokes, bar manager at Enderby’s Small Axe Bistro, was recognized as one of four exceptional B.C. restaurant workers by the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association Tuesday, June 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Enderby bar manager recognized as ‘stand-up’ B.C. restaurant worker

Small Axe Roadhouse’s Carina Stokes one of four to receive special recognition from the BCRFA

Okanagan Mission Secondary volleyball coach Paul Thiessen cheering his team on during the high school AAA playoffs. (Contributed)
OKM volleyball coach a provincial award winner

Paul Thiessen receives BC School Sports Merit Award for 2021-22

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read