'Their actions are speaking louder than their words': Lawyer for families criticizes lack of progress in N.S. shooting inquiry
Family and friends of victim Joey Webber attend a march demanding an inquiry into the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia that killed 22 people, in Bible Hill, N.S. on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
HALIFAX -- The families of the people murdered and injured in Canada's worst mass shooting say they are feeling "victimized" by the lack of progress by the Nova Scotia and federal government on starting a public inquiry.
"It has now been more than six months since the murders took place," lawyer Robert Pineo said in a news release. "It has been almost three months since the two levels of government changed their position and ordered a full public inquiry into the murders rather than their earlier-ordered 'review.'"
Pineo is a lawyer with Patterson Law, which is representing the families of 16 of the murdered Nova Scotians and four people injured by the shooter. He says they have "waited patiently" for federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey to appoint the third and final commissioner to the inquiry panel. "The public inquiry cannot begin until this is completed," Pineo said. "This delay is causing the families to feel ignored and abandoned by the very governments that have continually made statements of sympathy to them … their actions are speaking louder than their words."
Because of this delay, Pineo says his clients now want the federal and provincial governments' deliberations leading up to the public inquiry to be revealed and examined at the inquiry.
"These governments, represented by Ministers Blair and Furey, have acted secretly and not in the best interests of the families," Pineo said. "That is the only way that the families and the public will gain a full understanding of the governments' mishandling of the Public Inquiry from its inception and ensure that in the future, such processes are transparent, fair and conducted in a timely manner."