12/29/2017 05:27 EST | Updated 12/29/2017 05:40 EST

Ottawa to work with N.S. on Desmond inquiry in bid to prevent similar tragedies

HALIFAX — The federal government says it will work with Nova Scotia on the inquiry into the deaths of Lionel Desmond and his family to ensure similar tragedies do not re-occur.

Last January, the retired corporal — diagnosed with PTSD and post-concussion disorder after completing two tours in Afghanistan in 2007 — shot his wife, daughter and mother before turning the gun on himself. 

Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan says in a statement Ottawa is prepared to share information about the federal care provided to veterans and their families, as well as how operational stress injuries are addressed and the continuity of care provided to former soldiers.

The province announced the inquiry Thursday, with a judge and terms of reference expected to be announced in the new year.

Nova Scotia's chief medical examiner Dr. Matthew Bowes recommended the fatality inquiry, calling the deaths in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., an "unimaginable tragedy."

Veterans' advocates have long called for a public inquiry into the deaths, and expressed hope that the investigation would bring closure to the family while sparking change for injured soldiers transitioning out of the military.