The Current

Amid COVID-19, rural N.S. mayor vows to support families of shooting victims 'by whatever means we have'

The weekend’s shooting rampage in Nova Scotia is one of the deadliest attacks of its kind in Canadian history. We talk to Colchester County Mayor Christine Blair about the shockwaves rippling through her community.

Community 'trying to get our feet back under us,' says Christine Blair

Christine Blair, mayor of Colchester County, said her community is 'resilient.' (CBC)

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The COVID-19 pandemic will add an extra layer of difficulty for those left reeling by this weekend's mass shooting in Nova Scotia, according to the mayor of the county where the violence occurred.

"It's a very difficult time for families, when you know that what you want to do is walk up to someone and give them a hug and say, 'We're here for you,'" said Christine Blair, mayor of Colchester County.

"But we still have to recognize that we do have a health crisis here," she told The Current's Matt Galloway. 

Nova Scotia has been in a state of emergency since March 22, with physical distancing measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A virtual vigil is being planned, to take place later this week. Blair said when the pandemic has passed and the province's state of emergency is lifted, she expects there will be gatherings to remember those killed, and connect with grieving families.

A tribute is seen at RCMP headquarters in Dartmouth, N.S. on Monday. Police say at least 17 people are dead, including RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson, after the shootings at the weekend. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

"In the meantime, we do the best that we can possibly do, by whatever means we have," she said.

"Whether that is dropping something off on the doorstep or coming to the house and speaking from a distance, whether it's phoning or emailing or Skyping or FaceTime — whatever we can do in order to show the families that [they] have support." 

RCMP say at least 19 people have died, including an RCMP officer and the suspected shooter, in a rampage that started Saturday night in Portapique, a community about 40 kilometres west of Truro. It ended late Sunday morning about 90 kilometres away in Enfield, N.S.

Blair said right now the community is "trying to get our feet back under us."

With about 38,000 residents in Colchester County, she thinks the small community will rally to support one another.

Rural Nova Scotia mayor describes 'heartbreak' in wake of shootings

2 years ago
8:52
A Nova Scotia shooting spree that claimed the lives of at least 16 people was spread across several communities in the northern part of the province. 'No words can describe the surreal situation, the pain, the heartbreak,' said Christine Blair, the mayor of Colchester County, N. 8:52

"You have people who know each other. They're family members. They're related in some way. They work together. They live in the same community," she told Galloway.

"We are strong. We are resilient," she said.

"But it still makes it extremely difficult for the residents of a small rural community — that's close-knit, friendly, outgoing, welcoming in a beautiful, picturesque part of our province — to be faced with the horror of something of this nature."


Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Samira Mohyeddin, Caro Rolando and Mary-Catherine McIntosh.

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