Nova Scotia

More senators join call for public inquiry into April mass killing in N.S.

In June, Nova Scotia senators sent two letters to both federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey asking them to join forces for a public inquiry. Now, senators across Canada have joined the call to action.

Senators argue lack of action could erode public trust

On April 19, RCMP shot and killed the gunman at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., after a rampage that left 22 victims dead. (Tim Krochak/The Canadian Press)

More than 30 Canadian senators are now urging an inquiry into April's mass killing in Nova Scotia that left 22 victims dead.

In a media release Saturday, the senators argue the lack of action is putting public trust "in jeopardy."

Nova Scotia senators sent letters to federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey on June 7 and again on June 29 to ask them to join forces for a public inquiry.

Now, senators from across Canada have joined the call to action by sending a third letter.

They're calling for a joint federal/provincial public inquiry to address the "complexities of this massacre."

A surveillance camera still image released by the RCMP on April 28, 2020, shows the replica RCMP cruiser that the gunman used during the shooting rampage. Here, the car is travelling through Truro, N.S., at 10:17 a.m. on April 19. (RCMP)

"As of now, three months after the event, action on this has not been taken and there is no clear public explanation as to why," the letter said.

Expanding call to action

In addition to the federal public safety minister and Nova Scotia justice minister, the third letter is also addressed to Minister of Justice and Attorney General David Lametti and Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Development Maryam Monsef.

The letter is also addressed to Kelly Regan, Nova Scotia's minister responsible for the advisory council on the status of women.

"We are expanding our call to action … to further highlight the importance of ensuring that a feminist lens is employed as part of this investigation so as to ensure that a fulsome picture of the events that led to this atrocity are understood and ultimately addressed," the senators said.

The gunman's rampage started with an assault on his common-law spouse, who police said escaped into the woods.

A volunteer firefighter douses hotspots near destroyed vehicles linked to the deadly shooting rampage on April 20, 2020 in rural Nova Scotia. (Tim Krochak/Getty Images)

"Nova Scotians and Canadians need to know what happened or did not happen and what might have been done to identify and act on warning signs that might help to prevent such tragedies in the future," the senators said.

'Innuendo and gossip'

The delay in launching an inquiry is fuelling speculation and resulting in "innuendo and gossip" which erode public trust, the senators said.

The senators don't mention any specific rumours, but the RCMP have been trying to quash speculation after a story by Maclean's alleged the gunman was acting as a confidential informant or agent for the police organization.

RCMP have repeatedly said they had no relationship with the gunman, and called the allegations "very sensational and factually incorrect."

The senators said an inquiry needs to be "comprehensive, open, and fully transparent."