Canada announces inquiry into deadliest shooting

Federal and provincial leaders in Canada have announced an investigation into the Nova Scotia mass shooting that left 22 people dead this April.

The shooting, where a gunman posing as a police officer went on a rampage for 13 hours on 18-19 April, is the deadliest in Canada’s modern history.

A three-member panel will review what occurred, the police response and recommend preventative measures.

Officials have been criticised over the delay in beginning the public inquiry.

The governments of Canada and Nova Scotia say the joint independent review will look into central questions surrounding the mass shooting, including “the causes, context and circumstances giving rise to the incident, the response of police, and steps taken to inform, support and engage victims, families and affected citizens”.

Access to firearms, police response and communications with the public, as well as gender-based and domestic violence are some of the topics to be reviewed, according to officials. Both the interim and final reports will be made public.

Retired Nova Scotia Chief Justice J Michael MacDonald will chair the panel. He is joined by Anne McLellan, a public policy lawyer, and Leanne Fitch, the former Fredericton chief of police.

“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,” said Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair.

For months, the families of the victims, as well as conservative and progressive lawmakers, have been calling for a public inquiry into the tragedy. Nearly 300 people rallied in Nova Scotia on Wednesday to demand answers.

Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have been criticised for relying on social media to alert residents of the manhunt for the gunman.

Some family members of victims have questioned whether a provincial alert could have prevented some of the deaths.

Police have defended the lack of an alert, saying they were preparing one when the suspect was shot and killed, and that officials were trying to process fast-moving information.

The victims of the April shooting include a 17-year-old, a pregnant healthcare worker and a veteran RCMP officer.

On Thursday, Nova Scotia’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mark Furey said the government is committed to ensuring answers come in “a timely manner”.

“We anticipate this Review will generate recommendations that will make our communities safer. We will continue to support and care for the families throughout this process and on the journey ahead.”

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