Question Period: Report of the Mass Casualty Commission

By: The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard

Share this post:

Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.

Senator Gold, as we heard from my Nova Scotian colleague Senator Coyle, yesterday marked three years since the harrowing mass shooting in Nova Scotia. Today, I wish to ask a question about a time-sensitive matter covered in Volume 4 of the Mass Casualty Commission report.

The commission recommends — under Recommendation C.13 entitled Reversing the Course: Addressing the Public Health Emergency in Colchester, Cumberland, and Hants Counties — that:

(a) By May 1, 2023, the Governments of Canada and Nova Scotia should jointly fund a program to address the public health emergency that exists in Colchester, Cumberland, and Hants counties as a result of an unmet need for mental health, grief, and bereavement supports arising from the April 2020 mass casualty.

(b) This program should be developed and implemented by a local multidisciplinary team of health professionals with the ability to draw on external resources as needed.

(c) The program should provide concerted supports on an urgent basis and transition to long term care over time.

(d) Mi’kmaw communities should have the opportunity to participate in the program either on a joint or an independent basis.

(e) The program should be funded to carry out needs and impact assessments in 2023, 2025, and 2028.

My question, Senator Gold, is as follows: The community members of Colchester, Cumberland and Hants counties are in urgent need of mental health supports right now. Is the government currently on track to follow this urgent recommendation made by the commission to have a program funded in two weeks from now?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question, and, as I responded yesterday, our hearts and sympathies go out to the families and communities of Portapique and Truro, as well as all who are suffering and need help.

Senator, I simply don’t know the status of the discussions between the federal government and the Nova Scotia government, and, therefore, I’m not in a position to provide an answer regarding the timeline or the progress that’s being made on this initiative. I will make inquiries and try to provide an answer as quickly as I can.

Senator Bernard: I’ll just say, Senator Gold, that we would appreciate if you would make inquiries and report back to the chamber. Thank you.

Share this post: