Canadian News Apr 22, 2020 7:03 PM EST

Nova Scotians left in the dark while Americans were alerted to active shooter

US Consulate in Halifax has confirmed the CTV News' assertion that US citizens in Nova Scotia were alerted to the shooter's activities via email.

Nova Scotians left in the dark while Americans were alerted to active shooter
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC
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With many wondering why Nova Scotia did not use their emergency alert system during a shooting spree that saw 22 victims, the US Consulate in Halifax has confirmed the CTV News' assertion that US citizens in Nova Scotia were alerted via email warnings. This was more than what was done to protect Nova Scotians.

"The information we used in our emailed alert to US citizens on Sunday was taken from the Nova Scotia RCMP's Twitter account.  It is our protocol—when emergencies occur—to alert US citizens in the area to the situation," said Marcia R. Seitz-Ehler, a spokesperson for the Halifax US Consulate General to CTV News.

Alerts not sent during shooting

The RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather was pressed on the matter at the media conference on Monday. Leather initially responding that the alerts were sent, before being informed that they were only sent on Twitter and Facebook.

"We have relied on Twitter, as my colleague said, because of the instantaneous manner that we can communicate. We're aware that we have thousands of followers in Nova Scotia and felt that it was a way, a superior way to communicate this ongoing threat," Leather said.

A release from the RCMP explained, "As soon as we learned that the suspect was possibly in a replica police cruiser and wearing what appeared to be an RCMP uniform, we immediately informed the public. Nova Scotians can rest assured that the RCMP is committed to keeping the public informed and instructing Nova Scotians on how to protect themselves from threats to public safety."

Premier McNeil was never asked to send alert

When Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil was asked why an alert was never sent out through the province, he replied that he was never requested to do so.

"Well [the Emergency Management Office] needs to be ordered to put that out. Public Health ordered us to put the COVID one out, we were happy to support them. We have people in and ready. But we were not asked to put out that alert on the weekend," McNeil said.

"I can tell you, I'm not going to second-guess why someone or the organization did what they did or didn't do at this moment in time. This was an active environment, I can tell you. Deaths, gunfire. Let's give them an opportunity as an organization to explain that to you."

Prime minister to strengthen gun laws

Justin Trudeau would be asked on Wednesday whether new protocol should be set up to ensure that there are guidelines for active shooting and emergency incidents. Trudeau said that there were "questions about how things could have been different," saying that these topics would be addressed when the investigation is complete.

"We need to make sure we're doing everything we can, every step of the way to protect citizens in any circumstances and I know that those are things that we'll be reflecting on and talking about as a country… in the coming days and weeks."

Trudeau also addressed matters surrounding strengthening gun control laws in Canada, stating:

"We made some strong commitments in the last election campaign on strengthening gun control... We are resolute that we need to move forward on strengthening gun legislation and gun control in smart common sense ways, and on banning assault style weapons from this country. They have no place in our communities in this country, and that's why we're moving forward with legislation to ban them."

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