Nova Scotia Journal

Saturday, December 2, 2023

The expense of N.S. mass shooting investigation rises past $20M

Nova Scotia

Key takeaways: 

  • Nova Scotia government has paid $12.8M, and expenses are divided with Ottawa.
  • Michael MacDonald, commission chair, is flanked by fellow commissioners Leanne Fitch and Kim Stanton at the Mass Casualty Commission investigation in Halifax on March 9, 2022.

Initial figures for the joint regional and federal investigation into the April 2020 slaughter in rural Nova Scotia show that prices have risen to almost $20 million with six months left in the commission’s order. 

The Nova Scotia Department of Justice confirmed it had spent $12.8 million to date on the Mass Casualty Commission. This is up from $5.9 million in late January, though the region could not say whether the $6.9-million difference was all incurred in the final quarter of the 2021-22 fiscal year that ended March 31.

The federal share of the prices has not yet been finalized, and a study of the expenditures will be posted later this year, according to Pierre-Alain Bujold, who speaks for the Privy Council. At the start of the year, the federal government had spent $7.1 million.   

Read more: Province declares almost $20M for Halifax, Sydney airports to draw new flights

rural Nova Scotia show that prices have risen to almost $20 million with six months left in the commission’s order

Because Ottawa is sharing the expense of the investigation, the total costs to date are possible to be well beyond $20 million. Senior counsel for the commission, Emily Hill, said more details might be available the following week after the federal government shuts its books.

Wayne MacKay, teacher emeritus at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law, has been following the commission’s work closely and stated it’s hard not to think the estimate of almost $20 million is a lot of cash.

But MacKay said the complexity and scale of the commission’s order, its focus on a trauma-informed approach, and on developing foundational documents that layout its initial findings, as opposed to mainly concentrating on witness testimony, make it a particular type of investigation.  

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