The Queen and Prince Philip send condolences to Canadians over Nova Scotia shooting rampage

By Zach Harper

The Queen and Prince Philip have sent a special message of condolences to Canadians, expressing their sadness after what has become one of the deadliest mass murders in Canadian history.

On April 19, a gunman went on a rampage in Nova Scotia killing at least 20 different people at 16 locations. The spree began in Portapique and ended in Enfield. The two towns are nearly 100 kilometres apart.

"Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Nova Scotia, and we send our condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of those who have lost their lives," Her Majesty's message, which was sent on her 94th birthday, reads.

"I also pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other police services who selflessly responded to these devastating attacks, and to the emergency services who are supporting those who have been injured and affected.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nova Scotia and all Canadians at this tragic time."

The message was sent to Governor General Julie Payette and Arthur Joseph LeBlanc, Nova Scotia's Lieutenant Governor. It was also posted on the Royal Family's official Twitter account.

Her Majesty has visited Nova Scotia many times, and was last there in 2010 to celebrate the Royal Canadian Navy's centenary. The Royal Family itself has a long history of visiting Nova Scotia – Prince Charles and Princess Diana travelled to the province for the bicentennial of the arrival of United Empire Loyalists there in 1983. The Loyalists were Americans who resettled in British North America during or following the American Revolution of 1776.

Flowers and a Canadian flag are seen outside a RCMP detachment in Enfield, N.S., where a shooting rampage in the province concluded on April 19. A RCMP officer was one of at least 20 people killed. Photo: © Tim Krochak/Getty Images

Cst. Heidi Stevenson, a RCMP officer, was among those killed in the rampage. The violence also claimed the lives of a teacher, two health care workers and an entire family. Heidi was a 23-year veteran of the RCMP who had experience working at the force's beloved Musical Ride in Ottawa.

That this violence came during the coronavirus pandemic has been even harder for the province and the country, since public gatherings such as vigils remain banned due to states of emergency in many Canadian provinces. Public gatherings in Nova Scotia continue to be limited to no more than five people to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"The best way that we can honour the victims of this tragedy is to continue to act in a way that protects our fellow Nova Scotians," Premier Stephen McNeil said on April 20.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will update Canadians on the latest measures the federal government is taking to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Posted by CBC Politics on Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also addressed the violence during his April 21 COVID-19 update outside his residence in Ottawa. He said he had reached out to many of the families who were affected, along with RCMP officers who were involved.

"Since yesterday I've had the chance to speak to Cst. Chad Morrison, who was injured, as well as Cst. Heidi Stevenson's family," he said. "On behalf of all Canadians, I thank them for their service and sacrifice."

"This week, we are all Nova Scotian," he said.

The Queen and Philip would agree.

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