Inquiry investigation team in Portapique, N.S.

Members of the Mass Casualty Commission team are visiting the small Nova Scotia community where last year's April tragedy began as part of its fact-finding work.

The Commission issued a community notice on its website regarding its visit to Portapique at the end of May. The notice says members of several teams with the Commission, including the investigations, legal, research, and community engagement teams are part of the group.

"We plan to spend time walking around the roads that make up the Portapique community," the Commission writes. "Some members of the team may be there most of the day, depending on their role."

The site visit began at 9 a.m.

“Today, the focus is on the work that Nova Scotians expect us to be doing,” said Barbara McLean, Investigations Director with the Commission.

“It’s important for those most impacted, it’s important to Nova Scotians, to see we’re in the community, advancing the work of the Commission. We recognize these tragedies…happened in several communities,” said McLean.

“I would like to thank the residents of Portapique very much for allowing us to be in their space, to do our work.”

Tom Taggart, the municipal councillor for District 10 in Colchester County, which includes Portapique, says he has been helping the Commission liaise with members of the community.

“I think that they understand the trauma that's sometimes created when strangers arrive in their community,” said Taggart.

Taggart said he and residents of the area are glad to see the Commission's experts on the ground doing their work.

He has high expectations for the inquiry when it comes to bringing Nova Scotians the answers they’ve been seeking.

“I want to hold their feet to the fire,” he said. “I have questions I want them to answer.”

The Commission says staff with the joint federal/provincial body are considered essential workers under COVID-19 public health restrictions.