Crack Appears in Federal-Provincial Justice Solidarity
Nova Scotia’s Minister of Justice has broken ranks from his federal counterpart over the backlash against a review panel look at the events surrounding the Portapique shootings.
Just last week, Mark Fury stood with the federal Minister of Public Safety, Bill Blair, to announce a review, but response was overwhelmingly negative and grew from family and friends of the shooting victims, along with some senators and Members of Parliament, including Lenore Zann, the Liberal MP for Cumberland-Colchester who says she was not consulted despite the fact the horrific events occurred in her riding.
Today Furey said, “If the federal government agrees to a joint public inquiry, I will support that and so will our government.”
The turnabout follows protests outside his Bridgewater constituency office and a growing backlash that suggests the government may have something to hide.
In a statement that suggests Furey is feeling the heat, he says, “If the federal MPs agree that their government should conduct a joint public inquiry rather than a review, they should take that up with the federal minister and their federal colleagues.”
It is a stunning turnaround for the minister who so staunchly defended the decision to conduct a review with no power to insist that witnesses appear and give their testimony under oath.
The public outcry echoes the call from friends and family of the victims who began asking for a full and open public inquiry in the days following the brutal and senseless slayings in mid April.
The only support for a review was voiced by the RCMP, a group that has and continues to face many unanswered questions.
A joint public inquiry would have the power to compel federal agencies to testify, with teeth to bring consequences on any that do not truthfully share. The agencies involved include the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, Criminal Intelligence Services Canada, Canadian Firearms Registry, and the Public Alert Ready System.
Furey’s announcement today puts the issue squarely on the shoulders of the federal minister who oversees some of those agencies.
Nova Scotia's opposition leader agrees with the need for a public inquiry. Tim Houston argues the two levels of government, both Liberal, are playing politics with the issue. He says, "What the Minister isn’t telling you is that the Province has the authority to call a full public inquiry without the federal government."
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