(Ed note: Two releases, the RCMP response is below)
The tragedy that occurred on April 18 and 19 in Nova Scotia left families and communities across the province suffering unimaginable trauma, pain and loss.
Today, July 23, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mark Furey and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair announced a joint independent review into the tragedy.
“I know the victims’ families and survivors continue to experience a level of trauma and grief that most of us cannot imagine,” said Mr. Furey. “The Government of Nova Scotia is committed to ensuring that they, and all Nova Scotians, get the answers they deserve. We have heard the calls for an independent and impartial review into why and how this happened, and for timely recommendations that will make our communities safer. This joint review will achieve these outcomes.”
This review – to be conducted by a panel that will operate independently from government – will involve a broad investigative analysis of the April 18-19 events.
Three members have been jointly appointed to the panel to conduct the review and report back on its findings and recommendations. The panel members are the Honourable J. Michael MacDonald (chair), the Honourable A. Anne McLellan and Ms. Leanne J. Fitch. They will consider the causes, context and circumstances that led to the shootings, the response of police and steps taken to inform, support and engage victims, families and affected citizens.
The review will address a variety of issues relating to the perpetrator, police and other law enforcement agencies, as well as victims and families. Topics to be reviewed include:
— contributing and contextual factors including the involvement of gender-based and intimate-partner violence
— the perpetrator’s access to firearms
— police response
— police communications with the public, victims, their families, the Alert Ready Program and other law enforcement agencies
Ministers Furey and Blair have committed that all agencies and organizations under their respective jurisdiction and authority will participate fully in this review, ensuring the panel has what it needs to fulfill its mandate. These include, but are not limited to, the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office, the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner’s Office, all municipal police forces in Nova Scotia, the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canada Firearms Program, the Criminal Intelligence Service and the national Alert Ready Program.
“The devastating loss of life in Nova Scotia will not soon be forgotten, and all Canadians stand with Nova Scotians as they mourn and search for answers. This review by the three-member independent Review Panel will provide a better understanding of what happened and provide recommendations to help prevent such tragedies in the future.”
– The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
— the review panel will carry out its work and processes guided by restorative principles in order to do no further harm, be trauma informed and be attentive to the needs and impacts upon those most directly affected and harmed
— both the interim and final report outlining findings and recommendations will be made public
Joint federal-provincial news release:
Backgrounder: Independent Review Panel for April Tragedy: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-safety-canada/news/2020/07/independent-review-panel-for-april-tragedy.html
Independent Review Terms of Reference:
The RCMP welcomes today’s announcement of a joint review into the devastating incidents of April 18 and 19, 2020. We support the independent review and will cooperate fully.
What took place in Northeast Nova Scotia was unprecedented and has forever affected victims’ families foremost, but also RCMP employees across Nova Scotia, particularly those who were involved in the incident, community members and Nova Scotians from one end of our province to the other. We owe it to the memory of those we lost to learn as much as we can from this terrible tragedy.
The confirmation of a joint review does not shift our focus in relation to the ongoing H-Strong investigation. Our priorities will continue to be the victims’ families and learning more about why the gunman did what he did and what help the gunman received leading up to the incidents.
The Nova Scotia RCMP will work closely with Public Safety and the Department of Justice to ensure that the review has all available information required.
– Commanding Officer, Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman