Families of N.S. mass killing victims push for public inquiry
'You can't grieve if you don't have answers. You can't grieve if you don't have the whole story'
People who lost loved ones in April's mass killing in Nova Scotia are asking the province and Ottawa to launch a public inquiry after three months of waiting for answers.
Close to 300 people marched peacefully to the RCMP detachment in Bible Hill, N.S., Wednesday morning. It was the command centre during April's rampage when 22 people were killed in a span of 13 hours.
"We want answers, we deserve answers," said Nick Beaton, whose wife, Kristen Beaton, was one of the victims. "We're done sitting back just letting things go."
The families of the victims want a full public inquiry, Beaton said. He said they would not support a restorative justice approach, which is usually private.
"We deserve transparency, we deserve the whole truth, and to know where it's coming from," said Darcy Dobson, whose mother, Heather O'Brien, was killed during the rampage.
Beaton said when any new information comes out about the investigation, the families learn about it through the media.
"That's frustrating because these are our loved ones and we deserve to have those details before the rest of the world does," Dobson said.
Dobson said the longer families go without answers, the more it fuels speculation.
Beaton brought up the killer's large withdrawal of cash from a Brink's depot. An article in Maclean's alleged the withdrawal pointed to the shooter being a police informant or agent. RCMP have repeatedly denied those allegations.
Beaton said he's even heard speculation the killer could still be alive.
"When you don't have answers, your mind creates questions," he said.
Dobson said she doesn't think the RCMP did everything right in responding to the incident, and a public inquiry would give them the opportunity to do better next time.
"There is so much to be learned here," she said.
Without answers, Dobson said none of the families can find closure.
"You wake up every morning hoping you're gonna wake up from a nightmare," she said. "You can't grieve if you don't have answers. You can't grieve if you don't have the whole story."
Beaton said a public inquiry would help make sure nobody else has to go through what he and the rest of the surviving family members are going through.
"This has been absolute hell these last three months," he said.
The families have been contacted by Mark Furey, Nova Scotia's justice minister, once in the past three months.
Beaton said they had an online meeting scheduled for Wednesday where they expected to be able to ask the minister some questions.
Later on Wedenesday, The Canadian Press reported Beaton said he'd been informed that the province will make an announcement about an inquiry Thursday.
Beaton told the Canadian Press he is "not fully pleased" about the planned format, but declined further comment.
In an email, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said it is actively engaged with the federal government and an announcement is "forthcoming."
"We recognize the families, those most impacted, and all Nova Scotians are looking for, and deserve, answers about the tragic events that happened in April," the statement said.
With files from Steve Lawrence and The Canadian Press