Nearly three months after a deadly stabbing rampage, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Saskatchewan Monday to visit a First Nation community rocked by the tragedy.
Trudeau is in James Smith Cree Nation for meetings with leaders and community members. On Sept. 4, 11 people were killed and 18 others were injured in the community, as well as in the nearby village of Weldon, Sask., which are northeast of Saskatoon. Myles Sanderson, 32, the suspect in the attacks, later died in police custody after ingesting drugs following a four-day long manhunt.
The slayings amplified calls for more Indigenous-led policing, and Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has promised to “work around the clock” to table legislation this fall that would declare Indigenous policing an essential service.
James Smith Cree Nation Chief Wally Burns has been among the voices calling for tribal policing, and has also said the community needs funding for housing, especially for those reluctant to return to where family members were killed.
Trudeau will meet with Burns and other officials after paying his respects to the victims earlier in the morning, his public itinerary states. Following the meetings, Trudeau will participate in a grand entry ceremony with James Smith Cree Nation members. He will then make an announcement and hold a media availability in the afternoon.
On Sept. 28, Gov. Gen. Mary Simon visited the Saskatchewan cemetery where most of the victims killed in the rampage are buried, stopping a few minutes at each burial site. Simon also stopped for 10 minutes at a ditch where retired military veteran Earl Burns died in his school bus that rolled off the road after he was attacked.
Focus Saskatchewan: First Nations Policing
Saskatchewan’s chief coroner has said two public inquests will be held into the stabbing rampage — one that will focus on the 11 deaths, and another that will focus on the death of the suspect in police custody.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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