Families could get some news this week about N.S. mass shooting inquiry
DEBERT, N.S. -- Families of the victims of the Nova Scotia mass shooting may find out more this week about the long-awaited public inquiry into what happened.
The provincial and federal governments says details are being finalized and some family members who are struggling to find closure six months after the fact think the probe can't come soon enough.
A new puppy to care for is a welcome distraction these days for Amielia McLeod, whose life took an unexpected and tragic turn exactly six months ago.
Her father, Sean, and the love of his life, Alanna Jenkins, were among the victims of the Nova Scotia mass shooting, which claimed the lives of 22 people over April 18 and 19 -- making it the worst mass killing in Canadian history.
Due to COVID-19, the funeral service was delayed until this past weekend and it was "a bittersweet goodbye," she says.
In some ways, it doesn't feel like half a year has gone by.
"It kind of went by quick, but at the same time really slow," McLeod says. "Just kind of feels like we're going day to day."
Getting answers has been an uphill battle for the families, who had to protest initial plans for a joint, independent review of the tragedy.
A full, public inquiry was announced in late July, but the silence has been deafening since then.
"I think both the federal government and the Nova Scotia government are at fault for this outrageous and indefensible delay," says law professor Wayne MacKay, who points to many unanswered questions, including the terms of reference and the identity of the new commissioner
Government, he says, initially argued for a simple process to provide quick answers for the families.
"Obviously, that desire for speed has completely disappeared, and we have this outrageous delay, which is not only unkind and unfair, but raises new suspicions about what are they hiding," MacKay said.
The province says both levels of government are putting the final details in place before formally appointing the commissioners.
A spokesperson says officials are well aware this is hard on families, but they will be first to know when everything's been finalized.
The public safety minister told the House of Commons an announcement should come this week.
None of this is soon enough for family members like Ameilia McLeod, who's not surprised by the delays.
"I am disappointed," McLeod said. "I would like to have answers, and I would like to know what's taking so long, and what are they trying to hide that's making them take so long to come forth with it."
Other families also have questions. Nick Beaton, whose wife Kristen was killed by the shooter in Debert, said he has left messages with both the justice and public safety ministers about the status of the inquiry.