Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Green Party of Canada, I would like to extend our deepest condolences. Our hearts go out to each and every Nova Scotian and to all those across Canada affected by this horrific tragedy.
Premier Stephen McNeil has said, “We will not be defined by this tragedy, we will be defined by how we deal with it.” Provincial interim Green Party leader Jo-Ann Roberts added that, “As Nova Scotians, as Canadians, we will reach out to each other, we will support the families of those who died. We will make muffins, sing and say prayers, we will provide counselling, we will love, and we will remember.”
Nova Scotia is a province where there are close connections. Everyone will be affected. My colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands, a former Nova Scotia resident and proud Cape Bretoner, knows a family member of one of the victims. Nova Scotians have had their sense of security and safety shattered, but they are strong and resilient and will support each other through this.
In our mourning, we are united. Our hope for a brighter tomorrow is rooted in knowing that we are greater than this tragedy. Our love and prayers go to the loved ones of the 18 Nova Scotians who have died.
I am impressed with the way Nova Scotians are responding to this tragedy, showing love and support even in this time of COVID-19 physical distancing. As a musician myself, I am feeling the comfort from shared music on the virtual Nova Scotia kitchen party. Citizens are lining the highway, while staying two metres apart, leading to the local RCMP station. A virtual vigil is being planned for Friday, art is being shared and friends and loved ones are calling each other and supporting each other in so many ways.
The names of the deceased so far are Lisa McCully, a teacher; Heather O'Brien, a care aide; Kristen Beaton, a care aide; Sean McLeod and Alanna Jenkins, both corrections officers; Tom Bagley, a volunteer firefighter; Constable Heidi Stevenson of the RCMP; Emily Tuck and her parents, Jolene Oliver and Aaron Tuck; and Greg and Jamie Blair.
This is a poem that was written by Sheree Fitch, who lives in the area of the tragedy:
Because We Love, We CrySometimes there is no sense to things my childSometimes there is no answer to the questions whySometimes things beyond all understandingSometimes, people die.When it hurts like this my childWhen you are scared, suffering, confusedEven if we are not togetherTogether, let us cryRemember there is so much loveBecause we love, we cry.Sometimes the sadness takes away your breathSometimes the pain seems endless, deepSometimes you cannot find the sunSometimes you wish you were asleep.When it hurts like this, my childWhen you are scared, suffering, confusedEven if we are not together,Together, let us cry.Remember there is still so much loveBecause we love, we cry.Pray that I had answers, childPray this wasn't soThere are impossible things, childI cannot bear for you to know.When it hurts like this, my childWhen you are scared, suffering, confusedEven if we are not togetherTogether, let us cryYes, there is still so SO So much loveBecause we love, we cry.
This will be one of the hardest days for so many. I think of the children, but we are all children. I think of how all of us are traumatized and shocked. I think of West Grey and Fredericton. Let us go gentle into this day as we learn more, and learn more names of loved ones and realize who we know, but we are each other.