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NICK BEATON: Politicians took credit, but families forced inquiry

Nick Beaton, Kristen Beaton's husband, and the families of the Nova Scotia mass shooting in April hold a march of thanks Wednesday, July 29, 2020, after public inquiry called.
Nick Beaton, Kristen Beaton's husband, and the families of the victims of Nova Scotia's mass shooting in April hold a march of thanks on July 29, after public inquiry was called. - Eric Wynne

There has been a lot of discussion over the last few weeks about the public inquiry into the events of April 18 and 19 that led to families losing mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and wives.

Local politicians like provincial Justice Minister Mark Furey and MPs Lenore Zann and Sean Fraser are claiming victory. But let me be honest: what we watched happen doesn’t match up with their version of events.

Losing my wife and my unborn child is a pain I hope no one reading this ever knows. Knowing that it likely could have been prevented with proper use of the emergency alert system makes it even more difficult. Inquiries answer those kinds of questions. They give families closure.

So why did the federal and provincial governments make this process so hard on us? Why did it take the backlash from a review that nobody wanted for all the Liberal politicians to crawl out of the woodwork? And why, after they finally spoke up in July — about something that happened in April — is everyone trying to give them credit?

Zann, Fraser and others didn’t lift a finger before politics started to hurt them. They stayed quiet when we needed their voices. In Furey’s case, the initial announcement of the “review” demonstrates that he never fought for an inquiry.

"I felt like I was watching pro wrestling. Everyone pretends to fight and make demands, the referee is distracted, and someone gives in, and someone is the hero, but no one really gets hurt. Except for us."

Nick Beaton, Kristen Beaton's husband, gets ready to lead hundreds of people on a march to the RCMP detachment in Bible Hill on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, as an effort to keep the pressure on the provincial and federal governments to call a public inquiry into the mass shooting on April 18 and 19. - Nicole Munro
Nick Beaton, Kristen Beaton's husband, gets ready to lead hundreds of people on a march to the RCMP detachment in Bible Hill on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, as an effort to keep the pressure on the provincial and federal governments to call a public inquiry into the mass shooting on April 18 and 19. - Nicole Munro

Based on statements that have been issued and interviews that have taken place over the last two weeks, one would be left to believe that Nova Scotia Liberal MPs were the ones who got us our inquiry. In reality, they didn’t say a word about wanting an inquiry before a review was announced. Then they signed off on a letter supporting a review, not an inquiry.

Make no mistake: it was the families who ensured we got an inquiry. We made this happen. My fellow Bluenoses made this happen. Sympathetic Canadians across the country, whom I’ll never meet, and who saw something wrong, spoke up and made this happen.

Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair subsequently reversing the review decision all felt staged, to be honest. I felt like I was watching pro wrestling. Everyone pretends to fight and make demands, the referee is distracted, and someone gives in, and someone is the hero, but no one really gets hurt. Except for us.

Can Mr. Furey, Ms. Zann and Mr. Fraser show a little bit of humility and just say, “We were wrong,” instead of trying to take credit for doing something someone else did? Is being a Liberal more important than being a Nova Scotian? I’m overwhelmed with the love this country has shown me and the other families, but I’ll never understand why Liberals in positions of power have continued to add to our pain.

Ms. Zann was recently quoted as saying, “Please don’t patronize us by making assumptions for the victims’ families.”

Politicians like Ms. Zann, Mr. Fraser and Mr. Furey shouldn’t be patronizing the families by pretending they were on our side all along; it wasn't until it was politically convenient.

Nick Beaton lives in Onslow Mountain, Colchester County.

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