Man who lost parents in N.S. shooting says RCMP won’t lead memorial drive for victims
MAHONE BAY, N.S. -- It’s hard for Harry Bond to find much peace these days.
"I'm not doing good. I'm not going to lie. When people ask how I am, sometimes I'll say good because I don't want a bunch of questions. But, 90 per cent of the time, I'll tell them I don't know anymore, I don't know how I am, it's day to day,” he said.
Harry lost his parents, Peter and Joy Bond, in April’s mass shooting in Nova Scotia -- a nightmare he relives daily.
"No one thinks about something like that happening in your backyard or in the province or even in the country,” he said.
“It's something you watch on TV, it's a horror movie, you shut it off and you go to bed. We can't shut this off, Every time we close our eyes, the horror movie turns on. So, I know for myself, when I close my eyes to try to go to bed, I picture my parents being shot."
For the last three months, Bond has been organizing a memorial drive, set for this Saturday.
The event is a way to remember the 22 victims and unborn child killed during the rampage. It will start in Chester, N.S., and see people drive to Peggys Cove.
"I chose Peggys Cove because it's an icon. My mother loved lighthouses, it's along the coast and along the coast it's peaceful, you can hear the waves crashing and where are you going to find angels? You're going to find them where it's peaceful,” said Bond.
The weekend has special significance for Harry, as it would have been Joy and Peter Bond’s 44th wedding anniversary.
He applied for a permit with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal and even bought insurance for the event.
Although he says he had been discussing the upcoming memorial drive with RCMP, he found out Thursday morning that RCMP will not lead the memorial drive or block intersections along the route,
"I don't want them to think for one minute that I thought I needed them. I can make this happen without them. I wanted to be respectful, they did lose an RCMP officer, so I wanted the police there,” he said.
“Down the road, the shooter's name will be mentioned because he created the largest mass shooting in Canada. The 23 victims won't be heard of unless somebody does something about it."
Cpl. Lisa Croteau said the RCMP is supportive of memorial parades as a way of family members honouring their loved ones and that their Traffic Services Unit is happy to work with organizers when planning events like the memorial drive to ensure that public safety aspects are considered.
“We have been liaising with the family member who is organizing the memorial and have expressed safety concerns regarding the planned route of the event given the potential number of vehicles and people using certain areas of the route, such as around Queensland Beach, on Saturday afternoon,” Croteau said in a statement.
“We are more than open to working with the organizers when planning and coordinating an event to ensure it's carried out safely. The RCMP's role is to ensure public safety in the communities that we serve.”
Bond calls it disrespectful for RCMP not to participate in the memorial drive.
"This whole thing has been a fight, that shouldn't be a fight. We had to fight for the inquiry, we had to fight for the truth. Now, I have to fight to have RCMP lead a memorial drive, block the intersections for a memorial drive, to be respectful. But what's this come to? For me personally, and I know there's going to be a lot of public agree with me, for me, personally, my trust is just going downhill with the RCMP,” he said.
Even without the RCMP, Bond says the event is still happening.
"We're leaving Chester at 11 o'clock, be by the roads, be out watching us. We're getting on Trunk 3, taking Trunk 3 right to Tantallon and then we're going down to Peggys Cove. We'll be down to Peggy Cove, they're will be a bagpiper down there playing there for us."
Once at Peggys Cove, Bond says there will be refreshments for people, compliments of a local company.