Advertisement

RCMP not escorting vehicle parade planned for N.S. shooting victims

Memorial drive scheduled to honour the victims of the April shooting
A memorial drive along the coast, from Chester to Peggy’s Cove is scheduled for this weekend. As Alicia Draus reports, it’s to honour the victims of the April shooting, organized by Harry Bond, son of Peter and Joy Bond.

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.

Read more: After backlash, governments agree to hold public inquiry into Nova Scotia shooting

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Graduates pay tribute to Nova Scotia shooting victims
Graduates pay tribute to Nova Scotia shooting victims

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.

Story continues below advertisement

“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.

Read more: N.S. Mountie faces questions over redacted warrants in mass killing case

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.