Do you have thoughts on the state of policing in Nova Scotia? Now's the time to weigh in

Thousands of Nova Scotians have already shared their thoughts on the state of policing in Nova Scotia, less than 24 hours after the province's Justice Department first asked for feedback on the issue.

By 8:30 a.m. AT on Thursday, 2,886 people had completed an online survey that opened for public comment at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Justice Minister Barbara Adams told reporters that feedback was "one part of the very big puzzle" of a policing review but those opinions would carry considerable weight with the Houston government.

"When we hear directly from Nova Scotians, how they feel about anything, that is the essence of what I, as a public official, want to be doing — [taking] your voices and bring it to our government to make decisions," said Adams.

The province conducted a similar opinion survey last fall regarding efforts to protect Nova Scotia's coastline. Although only 1,007 people responded, most were in favour of the Houston government proclaiming the Coastal Protection Act, a piece of legislation that got all-party support in 2019.

The governing Conservatives decided not to bring the law into force, despite the survey results.

Asked by a reporter if the government's actions on that file might raise doubts about what it would do with this survey's results, Adams responded, "Not in my eyes, no."

Survey open until end of month

In a release Wednesday, the department said the survey will be active until July 31.

"Nova Scotians deserve to have their say about how this important service is delivered in our communities," Adams said in the release.

"I hope as many people as possible take a moment to share their experiences and ideas with us so we can create a law enforcement system that is responsive and meets the needs of the people it serves."

The province said it expects to complete the wider policing review by the summer of 2025.

The final report from the Mass Casualty Commission, formed in the wake of the worst mass shooting in Canadian history, called for the creation of a multi-sectoral council to review the structure of policing in Nova Scotia.

Public engagement sessions, which the province says will include representatives from government, police agencies, non-profit organizations, and Indigenous, African Nova Scotian and newcomer communities, will take place later this summer and into the fall.

The survey is available here.