After increased pressure from victims and families to provide more transparency into the investigation, the federal government has now committed itself in proceeding with a full public inquiry into the Nova Scotia mass shooting. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, said on Tuesday that the government would work thoroughly with the people affected by the incident to get the critical answers and make sure such an event will never occur again.
Bill added that they have heard calls for more transparency from families, Nova Scotia Members of Parliament, survivors, and advocates.
Under the authority of the Inquiries Act, the federal government is now following a full public inquiry, and the power to summon witnesses will be included. This about-face comes after the announcement made on Tuesday by his provincial counterpart Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey, that he was supporting the calls for a full inquiry into the shooting.
He cited the political pressure from some parliamentarians. Furey said he had heard the calls from Nova Scotians and “several federal MPs who had emerged against their own government’s decision to opt for a joint review. He also indicated that he would support it if the federal government agrees to pursue instead of an inquiry that would see the RCMP and other federal agencies testify.
Senators tabled a formal question looking for answers from the federal government in response to the review. Led by Independent Sen. Kim Pate, they requested an answer from the federal government for the decision. The question reads,
“Why hasn’t the government chosen the only option guaranteed to provide the answers so desperately sought by survivors of the victims and the public? And, will the government revert its position and convene a public inquiry?”
MP Darren Fisher indicated in a statement posted on social media that “the gravity of this tragedy demands a greater response, while he is pleased the shooting and response is being reviewed.” Fisher said he had made his voice heard on this issue to the government’s decision-makers on this file, and with the ultimate goal being the announcement of a public inquiry, he remains determined that greater authority will be given to this issue.
MPs Sean Fraser and Lenore Zann have joined the calls for an inquiry by indicating that the current plan is not enough. Also, Andrew Scheer stated that those who deserve answers and transparency more are the families and loved ones of the 22 Nova Scotians who carelessly lost their lives in this horrifying attack. The review format failed to let for witnesses to be obliged to attest under oath, public hearings were not anticipated, and the provisional report from the independent review panel was to be handed over to the federal and provincial governments before being released.