Roundup: Families walk out as Banfield testifies at shooting inquiry, long-awaited Trenton park opens, Lunenburg art society marks 50 years, bhangra and bagpipes, COVID update

Twitter celebrity and Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher recently visited Peggy's Cove yesterday, teaming up with a local bagpiper for a unique performance. Photo: YouTube

Plus: The wonder drugs — therapists in Halifax want to offer their patients psychedelics, as healers have for millennia. Will the federal government let them? 

The common-law wife of the gunman testified on Friday at the Nova Scotia mass shooting inquiry, saying she understands the victims’ families’ anger, but had no role in planning or executing the attacks.

Banfield told police previously of the abuse she suffered at the gunman’s hands throughout their 19-year relationship, including having gotten into a fight the evening of April 18. She said the gunman handcuffed her in the back of a replica RCMP cruiser, but she escaped and hid in the woods overnight.

“This is what haunts me,” says Banfield. “I feel like he was targeting me and my family. If I didn’t get out of that car, would any of those people died? That’s what haunts me all the time: that they weren’t targeted, that he was looking for me in the beginning.”

Banfield only faced examination from Mass Casualty Commission lawyer Gillian Hnatiw, with other participating lawyers forced to submit their questions for approval, an unusual practice in most public inquiries. That move led to several victims’ families boycotting the testimony.

“I don’t know if Ms. Banfield is lying. I don’t know if Ms. Banfield is telling the truth. I don’t know if Ms. Banfield is mistaken because we don’t have an opportunity to ask her any questions,” says Michael Scott, a lawyer representing 14 of the families.

Raissa Tetanish has more for the Reporter.

The wonder drugs
For years, Dr. Grayson Lloyd has used ketamine to help put people under for surgery. Then, he realized maybe it could do more. 

An anesthesiologist at the Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, Lloyd is also co-owner of Novaket, a ketamine infusion clinic in Halifax, where patients receive the drug intravenously at sub-anaesthetic doses to treat depression and PTSD. 

“It’s a marvellous drug,” he says. “I still find amazing things about that drug every time I use it.” 

He’s learning what generations of healers before him have: psychedelics are a useful medicine to treat a wide variety of conditions. But Canadian regulators haven’t gotten the message, meaning treatments are often unavailable to the people who need them most.

Philip Moscovitch reports for Unravel Halifax.

Bhangra and bagpipes
Gurdeep Pandher lives in the Yukon, but has built a global Twitter audience of more than 200,000, showcasing his Bhangra dancing talents and sharing a message of joy and positivity. Yesterday, he visited Peggy’s Cove for a rendezvous with a local bagpiper, pairing his footwork with “Scotland the Brave” for a unique performance.

Trenton park opens
A long-awaited new park is finally open in Trenton.

Jen Bethell, one of the organizers, began pushing for the $3.8-million project after a 2012 visit to Truro’s Victoria Park.

“An idea can be intimidating and overwhelming at the same time, given the magnitude of the endeavour,” she said. “Someone said to me, ‘Nobody is going to want to give money to a park.’ I can stand here today and tell you with great pleasure that that person was mistaken.”

The Pictou Advocate reports.

Fifty years of art
The Lunenburg Art Gallery Society is hosting 50 events to mark its 50th anniversary this year. Up next is a picnic at the town bandstand on July 23.

Founded in 1972, the society’s original mission was to display the works of prolific local artist Earl Bailly (1903 to 1977). Paralyzed in his arms and legs after a childhood bout of polio, Bailly manipulated the paintbrush with his mouth.

“He had tremendous difficulties in his life, but it didn’t stop him at all,” says Wendy Muise, president of the art society.

Kevin McBain has more for LighthouseNow.

COVID update
The World Health Organization reports 377,203 confirmed new cases of COVID worldwide in the last 24 hours. So far, COVID is known to have killed at least 6,361,157 people, including 41,932 in Canada and 456 Nova Scotians.

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