Remarks on the shooting in Portapique, Nova Scotia
We are a country that stands united in our effort to defeat a pandemic, to save lives, and to help each other make it to a better day.
But yesterday, we were jolted from that common cause by the senseless violence and tragedy in Nova Scotia.
A gunman claimed the lives of at least 18 people.
Among them, a woman in uniform, whose job it is to protect lives even if it endangers her own. Constable Heidi Stevenson of the RCMP.
Constable Stevenson died protecting others.
She was answering the call of duty, something she had done every day when she went to work, for 23 years.
This happened in small towns.
Portapique, Truro, Milford, and Enfield are places where people have deep roots. Places where people know their neighbours and look out for one another.
There, everyone knows a Mountie because they’re everything from police officers to social workers to teen counsellors.
Now these communities are in mourning and Canada is in mourning with them.
To the grandparent who lost a child – the children who lost a parent – to the neighbour who lost a friend – we are so sorry for your loss.
Such a tragedy should’ve never occurred. Violence of any kind has no place in Canada.
We stand with you and we grieve with you.
And you can count on our government’s full support during this incredibly painful time.
Yesterday, at least 18 people were killed during the shootings in Nova Scotia, plunging their families and friends into mourning.
To the grandparents who lost a child, to the children who lost a parent, to the neighbours who lost friends – my thoughts and the thoughts of all Canadians are with you.
Such a tragedy should never have occurred. There is no place for violence in Canada.
We are all grieving with you.
Our hearts go out to you as you go through this very painful time.
I also want to wish a full and speedy recovery to all those injured, including another RCMP officer.
Canada is a vast and sweeping country, filled with long stretches of lonely roads.
With unwavering courage and compassion, our Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrol these roads to keep us safe as they have for over a hundred years.
I know that from coast to coast to coast, the women and men who wear the Red Serge in service to Canada are grieving deeply the loss of one of their own – and one of our best.
This tragedy is a painful reminder of the risks all of our first responders take to keep us safe.
Of the sacrifices they make every single day to protect our communities. Paramedics, doctors, nurses, firefighters, and police officers – they’re always here for us.
They’ve been stepping up through the pandemic and yesterday, in Nova Scotia, they showed that bravery.
I want to take a moment to thank them all for their professionalism and their courage.
Many of you are already working overtime because of this pandemic. Our communities need you now more than ever and I know that can weigh on you at times.
These are exceptional circumstances, yet you did what you always do.
You ran towards danger. Without pause, without hesitation, you put your life on the line.
On behalf of all Canadians – thank you for your service.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all the first responders for their courage and professionalism.
You are working very hard during this pandemic. We need you now more than ever, and this responsibility must weigh heavily.
Despite the exceptional circumstances, you did what you always do.
You did not hesitate to risk your own lives to save the lives of others.
On behalf of all Canadians, thank you for everything you do.
This day is made all the more difficult because of the precious lives lost and the senseless act of one person.
Just how could this happen? We may never know why.
But we do know this.
No one man’s action can build a wall between us and a better day – no matter how evil, how thoughtless or how destructive.
Canadians are kind and generous.
We are there for each other and we look out for one another.
As families grieve the loss of a loved one, all Canadians are standing with them.
The pandemic will prevent us from mourning together in person, but a vigil will be held virtually to celebrate the lives of the victims at 7 p.m. on Friday through the Facebook group “Colchester - Supporting our Communities.”
As we learn more about what happened yesterday, it’s important that we come together to support communities.
In the hours since the tragedy, I’ve spoken with Premier McNeil, RCMP Commissioner Lucki, Minister Blair, and many Nova Scotians, including our Nova Scotia caucus.
We will continue to work together to see this through.
I know that people have a lot of questions. This is an ongoing investigation, but I can assure you that the RCMP and local authorities will keep you updated.
I want to ask the media to avoid mentioning the name and showing the picture of the person involved.
Do not give him the gift of infamy.
Let us instead focus all our intention and attention on the lives we lost and the families and friends who grieve.
Although the pandemic is preventing us from gathering in person, there will be an online, virtual vigil at 7 p.m. on Friday on the Facebook group “Colchester - Supporting our Communities” Facebook page.
It will be an opportunity to celebrate the victims’ lives and to be there for their families and friends.
I hope that many of you will join in.
As we try to understand what happened yesterday, we must be there for one another.
Since the tragedy, I have spoken with Premier McNeil, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, the Minister of Public Safety, Bill Blair, and our Nova Scotia caucus, among others.
We will continue to work together on this.
I know people have a lot of questions.
The investigation is ongoing, but I can assure you that the RCMP and the local authorities will keep you up to date on the latest developments.
I would also ask the media to not mention the name or show the picture of the person who committed these terrible acts.
Let us not give him that gift.
Instead, let us focus on the victims and on their loved ones.
I want to close today by addressing all the kids in Nova Scotia and right across the country.
I know the world can seem like a mean and ugly place right now, but there’s a whole lot of good in the world, too.
You’ll see it in your neighbours and in Canadians in the days and weeks and months ahead.
This is a difficult time – and it can be a scary time too – but we’re here for you.
And we’re going to get through this together.