Ottawa, N.S. announce joint review into mass shooting

Ottawa, N.S. announce joint review into mass shooting
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HALIFAX -- Ottawa and Nova Scotia today announced a three-person panel to review the mass shooting that left 22 victims dead in April, though it will not be a fully public process.

Interim and final reports will be presented next year to federal Public Safety Minister Bill 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 public inquiry that would include a comprehensive look at how the RCMP handled the shootings of April 18-19 in central and northern Nova Scotia.

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 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.
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