The son of two victims of the Nova Scotia mass killing says watching the motorcade, held for shooting victim RCMP Cst. Heidi Stevenson, on the news left him feeling uncomfortable.
The motorcade was organized by first responders on April 22, to pay tribute to one of their own.
Harry Bond said he decided to plan a second vehicle parade, meant to honour all the victims.
“There was 22 all together, but you did have an unborn child so that is 23 lives, and not one life is greater than the others, plain and simple,” said Bond, son of Joy and Peter Bond who were among the 22 Nova Scotians killed by the gunman.
Bond said organizing the event is personal. He says he thinks about his parents every day, and doesn’t sleep much anymore either.
The memorial parade is scheduled for Saturday, starting in Chester and ending at Peggy’s Cove, N.S.
“I just think it’s a very scenic route,” said Bond.
“I believe 23 angels that gained wings, they’ll be there watching us.”
Bond has already obtained a permit for the event from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, and paid for insurance.
However, Bond says he hit a road bump when he asked RCMP to lead the parade and help with road closures, saying police wouldn’t give permission.
In a statement, RCMP say they had been liaising with the family member and expressed safety concerns regarding the planned route.
“We are more than open to working with the organizers when planning and coordinating an event to ensure it’s carried out safely,” read the statement.
Bond says RCMP would not negotiate with him about safety, and flat out denied his request.
“What’s the bigger safety issue, us going with RCMP leading, or us going without RCMP?” he asked.
He says the event must go on even without RCMP. This means there will be no road closures, and all drivers will have to obey traffic signs and signals.
Bond says he’s okay holding the event this way, but says he feels it’s disrespectful of RCMP to decline the invitation.
“I wanted to be respectful. They did lose an RCMP officer, so I wanted police there,” he said.
If anything changes, Bond says he will be happy to have RCMP take part, but the most important thing is to honour those who lost their lives and give those left behind another way to honour them.
“I pray it gives us some healing, and if nothing else, the 23 people that gained wings at least put a smile on their faces as they look down on us,” said Bond.
The memorial drive parade will start at 11 AM at the Chester Curling Club, heading along Nova Scotia Trunk 3 to Tantallon, and then to Peggys Cove.
Bond says he is inviting anyone who wants to come and stand along the route to show their support.