The Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission

The Commission

A memorial for Cst Heidi Stevenson at the Cole harbour RCMP detachment.

Paul Palango is a Nova Scotian

Mass Casualty Commission Twitter profile

Mass Casualty Commission Twitter profile link

Mass Casualty Commission Facebook page

The Commissioners

Leanne J. Fitch – Commissioner Fitch The Honourable J. Michael MacDonald. Commissioner MacDonald – Chair Dr. Kim Stanton – Commissioner Stanton.

The Honourable J. Michael MacDonald

The Honourable J. Michael MacDonald served as Chief Justice of Nova Scotia until his retirement in 2019. As Chief Justice, he led and championed several judicial outreach initiatives with Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaw and Black communities. He also led initiatives to enhance diversity on Nova Scotia’s benches, including a judicial mentorship program for Black and Mi’kmaw lawyers and justice day camps for students from Nova Scotia’s marginalized communities.

Leanne J. Fitch

Leanne J. Fitch (Ret. Police Chief, M.O.M.) retired from 34 years in municipal policing in 2019 after serving seven years as Chief of Police for the Fredericton Police Force. Commissioner Fitch has a bachelor and master’s degree in sociology from the University of New Brunswick.

Dr. Kim Stanton

Dr. Kim Stanton is a lawyer at Goldblatt Partners LLP in Toronto.Raised in southern Alberta, she has worked at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development in West Africa, practiced constitutional law in British Columbia and Ontario and served as an adjudicator on two provincial administrative tribunals.

Commission Team

Ronda Bessner has taught for many years at law school, done extensive policy work, worked in law reform, served as an adjudicator at the Consent and Capacity Board, and has played key roles in several public inquiries”.

Public Inquiries in Canada: Law and Practice (By Ronda Bessner)

Dr. Emma Cunliffe – Research and Policy Director

Dr. Emma Cunliffe is a professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and a Visiting Professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. Her research focuses on the investigation and fact-finding process in complex criminal matters, particularly those regarding violence against women and Indigenous people”.

Kate Kehoe – Senior Policy Advisor

Kate Kehoe joins the Mass Casualty Commission as a lawyer and consultant with experience in gender-based violence, victims, restorative justice, and the integrity of police investigations”.

Nichole Elizabeth – Policy Advisor

“Nichole Elizabeth was born and raised on the South Shore of Nova Scotia and has experience working as a registered nurse in emergency medicine in Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories.”

Christine Hanson – Executive Director and Chief Admin Officer

Christine Hanson has joined the Mass Casualty Commission from her role as the Director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She was appointed Chair of the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies in 2019.”

Barbara McLean – Investigations Director

“As Deputy Chief, Toronto Police Service, Barbara McLean is a senior police leader with over 31 years of experience with the Toronto Police Service.”

Mary Pyche – Mental Health Director

Mary Pyche has worked in the field of Mental Health and Addictions for more than thirty ‎years and her passion remains for this work. She obtained a Master of Social Work Degree and since 2009 has taught part-time at the Dalhousie School of Social Work”.

Maureen Wheller – Community Liaison Director

Maureen Wheller has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Saint Mary’s University and worked for the former Children’s Aid Society in Halifax. As VP of Marketing for Cochran Entertainment Inc., she developed and licensed award-winning children, family, and documentary programming and products worldwide”.

Sarah Young – Chief Engagement Officer

Sarah Young has been providing communications leadership and counsel for private and public organizations across Canada for over 25 years. She has a strong background in community building, and brings to the Mass Casualty Commission the experience of her previous role as Managing Partner, NATIONAL Public Relations (responsible for Atlantic Canada).”

Commission Counsel

Thomas Cromwell – Commission Counsel Director

Justice Cromwell earned degrees in Music and in Law from Queens University, an ARCT Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Civil Law from Oxford University. While not appearing before the Commission, he will be supervising and directing the work of the counsel team”.

Roger A. Burrill – Commission Counsel

“Nova Scotia is home for Roger A. Burrill. Since admission to the Nova Scotia bar, he has worked exclusively with the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission providing criminal legal services to Nova Scotians unable to afford a lawyer.”

Jennifer Cox – Commission Counsel

Jennifer Cox was born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia and has been a practising lawyer in both Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan for the past 25 years”.

Emily Hill – Commission Counsel

Emily Hill joins the Mass Casualty Commission most recently as the Senior Staff Lawyer at Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) in Ontario”.

Gillian Hnatiw – Commission Counsel

Gillian Hnatiw comes to the Mass Casualty Commission as the Principal of Gillian Hnatiw & Co. in Toronto.”

Anna Mancini – Commission Counsel

Anna Mancini was born and raised in Cape Breton and was called to the Nova Scotia bar in 2017. She comes to the Mass Casualty Commission as a criminal defence lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid, representing clients in Halifax Provincial Court, Nova Scotia Supreme Court, and Nova Scotia Youth Court.”

Lee Seshagiri – Commission Counsel

Lee Seshagiri joins the legal counsel team at the Mass Casualty Commission on a leave of absence from his appellate practice at Nova Scotia Legal Aid. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in 2007 and in Nova Scotia in 2010.”

Rachel Young – Commission Counsel

Rachel Young comes to the Mass Casualty Commission on secondment from the Enforcement Branch of the Ontario Securities Commission, where she prosecutes fraud-related offences”.

Commission Investigators

Joel Kulmatycki – Team Lead Investigations

Joel Kulmatycki is a recently retired Detective (Staff) Sergeant with the Toronto Police Service’s Homicide Unit.”

Brian Corbett – Investigator

Brian Corbett is a seasoned intelligence analyst having spent 14 years with the Canadian Army. He has a background in Psychological Operations, Intelligence Collection, and Intelligence Production.”

Will Crews – Investigator

“A native of North Sydney, Will Crews is a recently retired Toronto police officer, with 33 years of experience predominantly in the investigative fields. With a strong investigative and surveillance background, he was a Detective (Staff) Sergeant of the Major Crime Task Force in Toronto, responsible for kidnapping and murder-for-hire investigations, including surveillance on organized crime members”.

Wayne Fowler – Investigator

Wayne Fowler retired from the Toronto Police Service with just over 30 years of policing experience. His career includes over 20 years in the investigative field with seven of those years working in homicide investigation, including the Homicide Cold Case Unit.”

Stephen Henkel – Investigator

Stephen Henkel is a decorated, bilingual law enforcement professional with 32 years of experience with the Toronto Police Service”.

Dwayne King – Investigator

Dwayne King has 27 years of experience in law enforcement with more than eight years investigating money laundering and proceeds of crime as part of the Financial Crimes Unit of the Toronto Police Service.”

Christopher Lussow – Investigator

Christopher Lussow is a decorated 33-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service, with twenty years dedicated to the Emergency Task Force (ETF/SWAT).”

Liz Montgomery – Investigator

Liz Montgomery was born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. She is a seasoned investigator, spanning 30 years of law enforcement experience, with over 10 years specializing in sexual assault investigations, child exploitation, threat and risk assessment, and high-risk offender management.”

Scott Spicer – Investigator

Scott Spicer recently retired from the Toronto Police Service following a 30-year career. He spent his last 17 years working in Specialized Operations, where he received ongoing specialized training through police, fire, paramedic, military experts, and national security scientists.”

Paul Thompson – Investigator

Paul Thompson is a recently retired Detective Sergeant from the Ontario Provincial Police with 33 years combined police experience. Paul’s career accomplishments include criminal investigations and drug enforcement, including joint forces in the Simcoe and Muskoka regions of Ontario.”


The Eagle’s Nest – Part 1

The Eagle’s Nest

The Eagle’s Nest – Part 2

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