Inquiry into Nova Scotia Mass Shooting Provides an Opportunity for More Effective and Meaningful Systemic Reform

OTTAWA, June 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Police Federation is calling on the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia to ensure the recently announced joint federal-provincial inquiry has sufficient scope to look at all issues relevant to Canada’s largest-ever, tragic mass shooting in Nova Scotia.

NPF President Brian Sauvé is providing the two governments a list of questions that should be included in the currently undefined scope of any review to ensure its findings are meaningful and create real change.

“When a tragedy like this occurs, it’s short-sighted and insufficient to only look at the hours requiring an urgent police response,” said Sauvé. “If the goal of the review is to identify and understand all contributing factors and prevent future mass tragedies, the review must take a broader approach and look at all timelines and impacts that led to the culminating horrific act.”

Questions that NPF asserts must be part of the scope of any such review include:

  • What other interactions did the shooter have with provincial or federal agencies during their lifespan, and what were the nature of those interactions?
  • Did the shooter undergo any previous psychiatric assessment, and if so, what was the result or follow-up?
  • How did the shooter gain access to illegal weapons, their origin and what increased measures need to be put in place to stop illegal weapons from coming into Canada?
  • Has the shooter ever been charged with any other offenses, been subject to any probation ordered by the courts, and was it completed?
  • Did the shooter have a history of domestic abuse, and how was this addressed by the courts or government agencies?
  • Were there any services that could have prevented this tragedy which were unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions?
  • Has the funding model of the RCMP been reviewed and appropriate budget requests for manpower, training and equipment been implemented? Is there adequate funding to provide the level of service that Nova Scotians want?
  • Did the shooter have sufficient access to mental health supports and programs throughout his life and what improvements to adequate health supports are needed to improve reach and use?
  • Given the above, were existing laws and policies under which police operate sufficient to protect the public?

“Front-line RCMP Members bravely and professionally intervened during an on-going mass shooting that could otherwise have resulted in even more deaths,” added Sauvé. “If there are lessons to be learned about preventing or responding to situations like this in the future, the NPF supports a review to identify those improvements. But it is woefully inadequate to tell the brave men and women who are asked to respond to an active shooter situation that all that matters is the short period of time during which they are actively pursing the shooter and protecting the public. This approach ignores the factors that lead to a high-risk and volatile individual slipping through the cracks of our often chronically under-funded and under-resourced social support system for years.”

About the National Police Federation:

The National Police Federation (NPF) was certified to represent ~20,000 RCMP members serving across Canada and internationally in the summer of 2019. The NPF is the largest police labour relations organization in Canada, the second largest in North America, and is the first independent national association to represent RCMP Members. The NPF will focus on improving public safety in Canada by negotiating the first-ever Collective Agreement for RCMP officers, and on increasing resources, equipment, training and supports for our Members who have been under-funded for far too long. Better resourcing and support for the RCMP will enhance community safety and livability in the communities we serve, large and small, across Canada.

For more information:

Media contact:
Brian Sauvé
National Police Federation
T: 604-861-2684