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Structural Deficiencies with the Proposed Independent Review Panel for Nova Scotia Mass Shooting

The BC Civil Liberties Association is writing to express our grave concerns regarding the decision of the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia to not hold a public inquiry into the mass shooting that occurred in Nova Scotia on April 18 and 19, 2020, and, instead, to appoint a joint independent Review.

Since the events of April 18 and 19, the families of victims, legal experts, thirty-seven Canadian Senators, a coalition of nearly two dozen anti-gender-based violence organizations, the former provincial medical examiner, and over fourteen thousand Nova Scotians have all called for an independent public inquiry. Just last week, nearly three hundred friends and family members of the mass murder victims marched on the RCMP station in Bible Hill to demand such an inquiry. Despite all this, the Governments have instead opted for a review that no one has asked for.

The BCCLA has a number of concerns regarding the Review Panel:

First, the Review Panel is not independent. It is dependent on the very government institutions that it is ostensibly tasked with investigating. Second, the Review Panel is not transparent. As is clear from the Terms of Reference, it is explicitly forbidden from releasing all documents and information collected, received and considered during its work and in the preparation of its interim and final reports. Such an approach is directly contrary to the expressed wishes of the families themselves for a public inquiry. Third, the Review Panel is not impartial, or in the minimum, raises the likelihood of a reasonable apprehension of bias.

The Governments’ announcement of the Review Panel instead of a public inquiry represents a grave disservice to Canadians everywhere, but especially to the families and friends of those who died on April 18 and 19, 2020.

Read the full letter here.