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Protests in two Nova Scotia locations over mass shooting review decision

Last Updated Jul 27, 2020 at 12:28 pm MDT

Protesters gather in Halifax's Victoria Park to demand a public inquiry into the deadly mass shootings that claimed 22 lives in Nova Scotia last April, on Monday, July 27, 2020. The federal and provincial governments have announced a review of the massacre that will not be able to compel witnesses or testimony, no power to subpoena evidence and won't be able to make binding recommendations to the government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX — Hundreds of people gathered at a Halifax park and in the riding of Nova Scotia’s justice minister today to demand a public inquiry into the April mass shooting that killed 22 people in the province.

The protests followed last week’s announcement by the provincial and federal governments of an independent review, which has been criticized by victims’ family members as lacking transparency and legal heft.

Feminist community activists and advocates spoke to more than 100 people at Victoria Park in Halifax at noon, saying the panel created by the federal and provincial justice ministers is destined to work behind closed doors.

Emily Stewart, executive director of Third Place Transition House, which serves several counties where killings occurred on April 18 and 19, said only a public inquiry could effectively expose the role that domestic violence played in the mass shooting.

Meanwhile, in Bridgewater, N.S., organizer Desiree Gordon estimated about 100 people marched to the riding office of Justice Minister Mark Furey, joined by the provincial Progressive Conservative and NDP leaders.

Activists, lawyers, Nova Scotia opposition parties and senators from across Canada have joined the call for an inquiry in recent months, expressing disappointment in the governments’ chosen format.

The federal and Nova Scotia governments said last week that a three-person panel would be established to review the killings and the police response.

That review body will be led by Michael MacDonald, a former chief justice of Nova Scotia, and includes former federal Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan, and Leanne Fitch, the former chief of police in Fredericton.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press