THE Anglican Church of Canada released a statement on Monday expressing solidarity with the victims of the fatal shooting in the town of Portapique, in Nova Scotia.
The Primate of Canada, Dr Linda Nicholls, said: “Once again communities in Canada have been struck by inexplicable violence. Once again someone has lashed out at the world around them with arson and murder across a swath of Nova Scotia near Halifax. The death toll makes it the worst mass murder event in recent Canadian history. . .
“Even as Canadians are coping with the anxiety and fear created by the stealth of Covid-19, we are devastated by these acts of seemingly random violence.”
The shooting and arson attacks on Saturday and Sunday left 22 people dead, including a nurse, a teacher, and a social worker. The perpetrator, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, was dressed as a policeman. Little is known yet about his motivation. He was shot dead during a stand-off with police on Sunday morning.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada also posted a response: the Moderator of its General Assembly, the Revd Amanda Currie, said: “Especially in this current context of staying home and physical distancing, may the Church find faithful and creative ways to share God’s love with those who are grieving.”
The lead pastor of Faith Baptist Church, in Nova Scotia, Steve Adams, also said: “The whole situation with Covid-19 and the limitations that the restrictions place on us for meeting and for providing a sense of presence and comfort in people’s lives — I think we’re all struggling to figure out what that looks like.”
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, called for unity. “No one man’s action can build a wall between us and a better day, no matter how evil, how thoughtless, or how destructive. As families grieve the loss of a loved one, all Canadians are standing with them.”
The number killed is higher than in the 2018 massacre in Toronto, in which ten people were murdered by a man driving a van; and the 2017 shooting at the Islamic cultural centre in Quebec City, in which six people were killed.
A vigil is due to be organised on Facebook today at 7 p.m. to commemorate those killed at the weekend.