Samson welcomes announcement of public inquiry into mass shootings

MP Darrell Samson, the representative for the Fall River area. (Healey photo)

FALL RIVER: The Liberal MP for Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook is welcoming his governments reversal in calling for a public inquiry and not an independent review into the April mass shootings.

Shortly after Public Safety Minister Bill Blair issued a statement saying the federal government, in collaboration with the province, will indeed proceed with a full inquiry, a statement welcoming the move came from Darrell Samson.

Last week, Blair and Mark Furey, N.S. Justice Minister and Attorney General, had announced a joint independent review with the Honourable J. Michael MacDonald, the Honourable Anne McLellan, and Leanne Fitch as review panelists. The three have agreed to assist in the Public Inquiry as Commissioners.

“I strongly welcome the Federal Government’s decision, in collaboration with the province, to proceed with a full public inquiry into the horrific events of April 18th and 19th,” said Samson in his release, sent after Blair’s statement was issued. “The magnitude of these events requires a broad and transparent public inquiry that has the confidence of Nova Scotian’s and the authority necessary to administer a thorough investigation.”

Blair’s statement said they had have heard calls from families, survivors, advocates, and Nova Scotia Members of Parliament for more transparency.

“The Government of Canada is now proceeding with a full Public Inquiry, under the authority of the Inquiries Act R.S.C., 1985, into the tragedy that occurred on April 18th and 19th,” he said. “This will include the power to summon witnesses, and require them to:

a) give evidence, orally or in writing, and on oath or, if they are persons entitled to affirm in civil matters on solemn affirmation; and

b) produce such documents and things as the commissioners deem requisite to the full investigation of the matters into which they are appointed to examine.

“Through these additional authorities, it is our sincere hope that the terrible tragedy of April 18th and 19th will be fully examined and that all relevant facts and evidence will be made public,” said Bliar.

Earlier Tuesday, Furey had issued a statement.

“I have heard from family members and many Nova Scotians who are opposed to a joint review of the tragic events of April 18 and 19 and would prefer a joint public inquiry,” Furey said. “Now, a number of federal MPs have come out against their own government’s decision to participate in a joint review.”

At the time, Liberal MPs Lenore Zann; Darren Fisher; Sean Fraser; Mike Kelloway; and Andy Fillmore had come out against their government’s initial decision for a review only. Their names were attached to a letter, sent out by Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois, in support of the review.

“The Nova Scotia Federal Liberal Caucus welcomes the announcement of a joint-review into the Nova Scotia mass shooting,” the letter said.

Samson said he had the chance to speak to numerous constituents across the riding of Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook regarding last week’s decision to hold a joint independent review.

“After discussions with constituents it is overwhelmingly clear they are in favor of a public inquiry, as their federal representative I support their position and echo their concerns,” said Samson. “I am encouraged by the decision to move forward with a public inquiry and know that it will deliver the answers that Nova Scotians deserve.