Families of victims of Canada’s deadliest shooting have called a planned review of the April incident “wholly insufficient”.
The shooting, where a gunman posing as a police officer went on a rampage across Nova Scotia, left 22 dead.
A three-member panel will review what occurred, the police response and recommend preventative measures.
But many family members are concerned about the limits of the inquiry and say they feel excluded by it.
“I’m not really happy. I really feel that a full inquiry is necessary,” Charlene Bagley, who lost her father, Tom Bagley, in the shooting, told the CBC.
“We all deserve the truth and full transparency and I don’t feel like we’re going to get that.”
Since the shooting, the families of the victims, as well as conservative and progressive lawmakers, have been calling for a public inquiry into the tragedy.
But concerns were raised in early June when Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey intimated the province, in partnership with the federal government, would take a “restorative justice” approach and would not be fully public.
Their fears were confirmed when the review was announced Thursday. Mr Furey said the review would be “restorative” and “trauma-informed”.
In a letter, lawyers representing family members in lawsuit against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the gunman’s estate called the review “wholly insufficient”.
“(Government officials) have hidden behind their contrived notion of a ‘trauma-free’ process to exclude the full participation of the families under the guise of protecting them from further trauma. This is not how the families wish to be treated,” the letter said.
Some of the main concerns raised are:
- The panel will not be able to compel testimony or subpoena witnesses
- Interested parties will not be able to cross-examine the witnesses
- The review process will not be fully public: The findings will be made public after they have been presented to the provincial justice minister and the federal minister of public safety; an interim review will also be made available
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.
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.
More on the Nova Scotia shooting:
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.