After the federal and provincial governments announced a joint independent review into the Nova Scotia shooting on Thursday, calls for a public inquiry are growing stronger.
One group says a review might not go far enough in ensuring full transparency, and in considering a feminist lens.
“We’ve been speaking ever since, trying to bring in the aspect of misogyny, and the connection between male violence against women and mass shootings,” says Linda MacDonald, an organizer for the Nova Scotian Feminists Fighting Femicide group.
The group has been advocating for a public inquiry into the shooting with a feminist lens.
But, on Thursday, Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey and Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced the governments will be doing a three-panel review of what had happened, instead of a public inquiry.
“That makes me very leery that the truth will not come out,” said Jeanne Sarson, a member of NSFFF.
“They have the power, they have the authority and they can control it,” MacDonald said.
Of the 22 victims in the April 18-19 shooting rampage, nine victims were male; 13 were female.
While part of the review’s commitments includes a look at the contributing and contextual factors, including gender-based and intimate partner violence, and police policies, procedures and training for gender-based and intimate partner violence, MacDonald and Sarson say that’s not enough.
“We’d been asking for a feminist analysis which is to look at women and women’s position and what violence against women means in Nova Scotia,” Sarson says.
“We’re asking that, from a feminist analysis, that you look at the position of women in general, and the violence that women endure, in general.”
On July 23, 10 members of parliament signed a letter supporting the review and applauding the inclusion of a feminist lens.
Saturday, MacDonald emailed the MPs saying:
“We are asking that you as Members of Parliament either retract your statement that the review includes a ‘feminist analysis’ or provide us with the written evidence that a ‘feminist analysis’ is included in the federal-provincial review mandate.”
Sarson notes that misogyny played a role in allowing the gunman’s violent past to slip through the cracks.
In 2013, Portapique resident Brenda Forbes raised concerns over the gunman’s domestic violence and reported it to the RCMP, but that complaint never went anywhere, she told Global News in April.
The NSFFF members say society as a whole failed to take these allegations seriously, and let misogynistic behavior continue.
“Brenda went to her boss, in the military, and told her boss she was being stalked, and he said ‘get used to it’,” said MacDonald.
“That’s the expansion of the misogyny beyond the police.”
MacDonald and Sarson say a public inquiry is needed to better understand how misogyny in our society can lead and contribute to violence against women and what can be done to prevent it.
A review, they said, cannot do the same.
“You’re not going to stop violence in silence, and that’s what this review is; it’s a silent process,” said MacDonald.
“We want an open participatory process.”
On Wednesday, July 29, advocates for a public inquiry are planning a peaceful march, “to support the families of the victims,” says the Facebook page.