HALIFAX: In separate releases, both N.S. PC leader Tim Houston and N.S. NDP leader Gray Burrill voiced their disappointment and displeasure that the province and federal governments chose to do an independent review and not an inquiry into the April mass shooting that killed 22 people.

The province announced the review and it’s three-member panel on July 23.

Here is the statement from Burrill:

“It is hurtful and disappointing that the Independent Review Panel falls so far short of the full-fledged public inquiry which has been called for by the families of those whose lives were taken in the mass shootings of April 18-19. 

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“A public inquiry would have the authority and power to compel the testimony of witnesses under oath. The Independent Review Panel has the power only to inform the Minister and the public when those it wishes to hear from are not forthcoming. In comparison to the full-fledged public inquiry that has been called for, the Review Panel is constrained in both openness and scope.

“Across Nova Scotia, many organizations and experts, the public in general, and most significantly, the families, have properly called for a public inquiry into the worst mass shooting in our country’s history. The government is mistaken in deciding to do something less.” 

Here is Houston’s statement on the review choice:

“This review is a complete and utter abdication of responsibility by two separate levels of government. No reasonable person will see this as anything other than an attempt to deliver the answers that the government wants – rather than those that grieving Nova Scotians deserve.

“I attended a rally yesterday in Colchester County in support of a fully open and transparent public inquiry. No one was marching for a review.

NS PC leader Tim Houston. (N.S. PC photo)

“Premier Stephen McNeil promised Nova Scotians that by waiting for months, the chosen mechanism would ensure change across the country. We now know that wasn’t true.  This review cannot compel testimony, it ensures recommendations are non-binding and toothless, and that information and materials gathered for the review can be kept confidential.

“Nova Scotians should be angry, not only because they have been cheated out of an inquiry that is essential to getting answers, but because their Premier and Prime Minister are attempting to fool them into thinking this direction is in their best interest.  We need to know who will be held accountable for this short-sighted decision.

“Premier Stephen McNeil has spent months attempting to silence the media, and with this decision, he has attempted to silence Nova Scotians in the same way. There is no transparency in this review.

“This is ‘cover your ass’ politics at its worst. Nova Scotians will not be silenced and we will get answers.”