Families of Shooting Victims Disappointed by “Independent Review”
The “Independent Review” announced by Ministers Furey and Blair is wholly insufficient to meet the objectives of providing full and transparent answers to the families and the public, identifying deficiencies in responses, and providing meaningful lessons to be learned to avoid similar future tragedies.The choices of commissioners, and in particular Former Chief Justice Michael MacDonald, were thoughtful and appropriate for an inquiry. Former Chief Justice MacDonald is of the highest rank in judicial capabilities and is of unassailable integrity. That said, any decision- maker can only render decisions based on the information and evidence presented to them.
The announced “independent review” model, to be conducted in a so-called “non- traumatic” and “restorative” way, will prejudice the panel by restricting the evidence and information being presented.
In a public inquiry setting, such as was employed in the Marshall and Westray public inquiries, interested parties had the opportunity to question the witnesses. It is a very well- held maxim in our common law legal tradition, that cross-examination is the most effective truth-finding mechanism available. Without proper and thorough questioning, the panel will be left with incomplete and untested evidence upon which to base its decision. This is completely contrary to our Canadian notions of fair and transparent justice.
Most disappointingly, Ministers Furey and Blair 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. Minister Furey has spoken with the families, so he must know that they want to participate, not to be “protected” by an incomplete process.
The families want a full and transparent public inquiry. Why will Minister Furey not give them this? Why will he not give the citizens of Nova Scotia this? “We are all in this together” has been the slogan throughout 2020 - the families simply want us all, the public, to be in this together now to figure out a better tomorrow for families and the Province.
For further inquiries, please contact:
|Robert H. Pineo |
| || Sandra L. McCulloch |