No complaints with RCMP, government response to N.S. mass shooting recommendations
The Canadian PressNews
By Michael Tutton
The head of the independent committee overseeing how governments and the RCMP are responding to recommendations from the Nova Scotia mass shooting inquiry says she has no complaints so far.
Linda Lee Oland said Tuesday her 16-member group heard updates this week from the federal and Nova Scotia governments and the RCMP on their work to implement the inquiry’s 130 recommendations.
The chair of the progress monitoring committee didn’t offer details but said her group will publish a report on its website in January about the two days of meetings.
Oland, a former Nova Scotia Court of Appeal judge, says that during the meetings the two governments and the Mounties offered specific details about their plans, including timelines, for completing the recommendations.
She says she doesn’t have any complaints and that no one was “dragging their feet.”
The inquiry’s 3,000-page report concluded that the RCMP were ill-equipped to deal with a gunman disguised as a Mountie and driving a replica police car when he fatally shot 22 people during a 13-hour rampage on April 18-19, 2020.
The federal-provincial public inquiry issued its recommendations in March, most of them aimed at improving public safety, reforming the national police force and addressing the root causes of gender-based violence. Oland took up her post in May.
Her committee, appointed by the federal and Nova Scotia governments, includes victims’ family members, community representatives, RCMP and government officials.
Among the inquiry’s recommendations were calls for an external review of the RCMP’s role in providing policing to municipalities across Canada. The inquiry’s three commissioners also recommended that the RCMP phase out their police academy, known as Depot, by 2032 and replace it with a new model that would be composed of three-year policing degree programs.
However, after the meeting at a Truro, N.S., hotel this week, Oland said the committee is still in the early stages of monitoring these and other findings.
“The objective is not to check the boxes and get to the finish line as quickly as we can. So, we are monitoring progress and as long as we are content that progress is being undertaken at a good rate and nothing seems to be left behind, we’re going to keep doing this work of keeping the governments and the RCMP accountable,” she said.
At this point, she said, the committee’s budget over three years has been submitted but has yet to be approved; she said she couldn’t provide a final figure to reporters.
The federal and provincial governments are splitting the cost of the committee’s work equally, with a total of $356,000 budgeted for this fiscal year, provincial government spokesperson Sarah Levy MacLeod said later in a statement to CBC News.
The estimate included meeting costs, renumeration for the chair and board’s travel and time as well as expenses related to the committee’s website, she said, adding that the committee’s work is estimated to cost $1.6 million over the next four years.
Given that some of the recommendations are far-reaching calls for societal changes — including those aimed at reducing gender-based violence — it’s unlikely that all of them will be implemented within three years.
“Assuming it’s three years, I don’t think I’ll be able to tell everybody here that all 130 recommendations have been completed. There are many recommendations that are very overarching some of this may not happen in the time I’m chair or it may not happen for quite a bit after that,” she said.
The committee’s next meeting is slated for this spring. Its deliberations are held in private, and the group is expected to meet no more than four times each year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2023.
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