1. Here are 12 15 victims in yesterday’s mass killing

It will never make sense.

In coming hours and days, we’ll learn more than we’ll want to know about yesterday’s cross-province killing spree. We will get to know about the victims, the details and timeline of the horrors will be reported, and maybe even the warped motivations behind the mayhem will be hinted at.

But it will remain incomprehensible.

The enormous loss suffered not just by one family but multiple families, not just one community but multiple communities  — Portapique, Wentworth, Truro, Shubenacadie, Sydney, Dartmouth, and more — is so deeply painful as to be indescribable.

There are no words.

And to think that these families and communities won’t be able to mourn collectively because of the coronavirus restrictions is still more heart-breaking.

As of publication time, the Halifax Examiner has been able to confirm the identity of 12 of the 16 victims; they are:

Lisa McCully. Photo: Facebook

Lisa McCully, a school teacher who was instrumental in keeping the Debert Elementary School open;

Gina Goulet. Photo: Facebook and LinkedIn.

Gina Goulet, a denturist in Shubenacadie;

Lillian Hyslop, a resident of Wentworth;

Heather O’Brien with her daughter Darcy Dobson. Photo: Facebook.

Heather O’Brien, a nurse with the Victorian Order of Nurses;

Jamie and Greg Blair. Photo: Facebook

Greg Blair and Jamie Blair, a married couple, Greg worked at a propane company in Truro;

Heidi Stevenson. Photo: RCMP

Cst. Heidi Stevenson, an RCMP officer;

Alanna Jenkins and Sean McLeod. Photo: Facebook

Alana Jenkins, a Correctional Manager at the Nova Institution for Women in Truro, and Sean McLeod, a Correctional Manager at Springhill Institution, a couple;

Jolene Oliver, Emily Tuck and Aaron (Friar) Tuck. Photo: GoFundMe

Emily Tuck, a 17-year-old budding musician, and her parents, Jolene Oliver and Aaron (Friar) Tuck.

We also can confirm that another person, a man, was shot and killed in Wentworth, but as of publication time we have not been able to identify him.

There are three other victims unknown to us at this time, but we will update this post as we learn more.

Update, 10:10am April 20:

We can confirm that Corrie Ellison of the Debert area has also been killed.

Update, 11:40am: 

Tom Bagley. Photo: Facebook

Tom Bagley, retired firefighter;

Kristen Beaton. Photo: Facebook

Kristen Beaton, a continuing care assistant with the Victorian Order of Nurses.

The Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line is available 24/7 for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or someone concerned about them. Call (toll-free) 1-888-429-8167.

2. Five deaths at Northwood

The Northwood nursing home on Gottingen Street in Halifax. Photo: Halifax Examiner Credit: Halifax Examiner / Tim Bousquet

“Two more residents of the Northwood long-term care facility have died from COVID-19 related illness,” I reported yesterday:

The two newest deaths brings a total of five residents of Northwood who have died with the disease, and nine people who have died overall in Nov Scotia.

The disease is spreading quickly in nursing homes. Today, the Department of Health announced that a total of 147 people at nursing homes (93 residents and 54 staff) have tested positive for COVID-19; that’s an increase of 32 from 115 yesterday (67 residents and 48 staff). (That increase of 32 exceeds the provincial total increase of 26 announced today, but that’s because the two numbers have different daily reporting timeframes — see below [on the link] for more discussion of this problem.) Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said, however, that the problem is mostly concentrated at Northwood.

Yesterday, 26 more people tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 675. Eleven people are currently in hospital with the disease, four (one fewer than yesterday) of whom are in ICU; 200 people have recovered completely.

Click here to read “Daily COVID-19 update: Death and chaos at Northwood.”

3. The CFIB is suddenly a fan of big government

Writes Stephen Kimber:

Remember the time — two months ago! — when businesses were railing on about too high taxes, too much government, too much waste… Well, that was then. Whose hands are out now?

Click here to read “Let’s play Pandemic: Then and Now.”

4. Muskrat Falls delayed again

A Nalcor Energy schematic of the Muskrat Falls project.

“Nalcor blames COVID-19 for failing to meet contracted schedule of delivery of power to Nova Scotia Power, but there are also problems with software,” reports Jennifer Henderson. “As a result, Nova Scotia likely won’t meet its renewable energy targets.”

Click here to read “Muskrat Falls project delayed again.”

5. Food

Photo: Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia.

“For most of us, COVID-19 marks the first time we’ve had to worry about our food supply or even think about how the food chain works,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:

That was one of the insights shared by Nova Scotia farmer Katie Keddy on Thursday during a panel discussion hosted by Dalhousie University’s Open Dialogue Live online series.

The livestreamed discussion focused on the pandemic’s impact on food and our food systems and how things might change in a post-pandemic world. Speakers included local farmers Philip and Katie Keddy and Dalhousie University professor and food researcher Sylvain Charlebois.

Click here to read “A new way of thinking about food: We’re going from worrying the grocery shelves are bare to loving our local farmer.”


There is too much tragedy and pain.

I cut the ships today because I have too much to work on.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. Great reporting on Sunday’s events. I have heard many refer to it as a “tragedy”. The more I hear of the details the more I see it as an “atrocity”. A tragedy could be an accident. This was no accident. It was a volitional, cold-blooded action. So sad.

        1. Correct, but no doubt the experts deployed the vehicle in anticipation of it being of use in the then unkown extent of the danger.

  2. Tim and the Examiner team,

    Thank you for all your reporting during the pandemic and the unspeakable horror of yesterday’s killings. I’m taking a moment to give thought to what we ask police to do on our behalf. So often police make mistakes, even drastic and tragic mistakes, and overreach because of bias and other systemic problems, and we are right to continuously work to improve our police forces. On a day like today, though, it is worthwhile to give thought once again to those who go toward the harm. My grandfather was a policeman in New York City killed in the line of duty when my mom was 14. It changed her for good, and those changes rippled through generations. I never knew him.

    I’m heartsick today. Nova Scotia may never be the same. I moved here in the 80’s from Washington, DC, when the crack epidemic had led to frequent drive-by shootings. I never thought mass murder would happen here. I’m shocked and humbled by what gargantuan damage damaged human beings can do.

    It is a time to mourn, for all the lives lost, and for innocence lost, and the mourning will last, as it did after Westray, but here we have no corporate villain. It is a time of great sadness (all those families you depicted here!) and deep appreciation for genuine heroes who actually give their lives to save other’s lives.

  3. Being a journalist means having to deal with a lot of conflicting emotions – rage against injustice, frustration in the face of government / politics, the occasional happiness of talking about good people doing good things, and the deep sorrow of having the responsibility to report on things like this horrific event.

    Thanks, Tim, for doing what you do.