Help for re­mote com­mu­ni­ties may be part of bud­get: Goodale

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA / WORLD - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

There could be help for re­mote com­mu­ni­ties in the com­ing fed­eral bud­get, Saskatchewan’s lone cab­i­net min­is­ter hinted Mon­day as Par­lia­ment re­mem­bered the vic­tims of last week’s deadly shoot­ing in La Loche.

The re­mote north­ern town is just one of many iso­lated com­mu­ni­ties in need of help, Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale said af­ter the first ques­tion pe­riod of 2016 — one that in­cluded MPs bow­ing their heads for a mo­ment of si­lence.

“The lessons from La Loche will have broader ap­pli­ca­tion than just this one com­mu­nity,” Goodale said out­side the Com­mons.

“La Loche, ob­vi­ously, has par­tic­u­lar dif­fi­cul­ties but you will find sim­i­lar prob­lems in other com­mu­ni­ties as well.”

Mem­bers from all sides of the Com­mons spoke of the loss that still echoes from the tragedy, in which four peo­ple were killed and seven oth­ers wounded in La Loche, a re­mote north­ern town pop­u­lated pre­dom­i­nantly by First Na­tions mem­bers.

“The en­tire govern­ment and, in­deed, the coun­try, stands with the com­mu­nity of La Loche,” said Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau. “Our heart­felt con­do­lences go out to the com­mu­nity, to the fam­ily mem­bers and we of­fer all our sup­port.”

Sources close to the prime min­is­ter say Trudeau will travel to north­ern Saskatchewan to visit the com­mu­nity in per­son, al­though tim­ing de­tails were not im­me­di­ately avail­able.

In­terim Con­ser­va­tive leader Rona Am­brose de­scribed be­ing left “heart­bro­ken” by the vi­o­lence.

“For the fam­i­lies and loved ones of those killed, few of us can even imag­ine the pain, but we grieve along­side you,” she told a news con­fer­ence. “We of­fer our prayers for those who are in­jured for a fast and full re­cov­ery.”

NDP Leader Tom Mul­cair de­scribed the sense of shock left by the tragedy, and made par­tic­u­lar men­tion of rookie MP Georgina Joli­bois, the com­mu­nity’s for­mer four-term mayor who now rep­re­sents the sprawl­ing north­ern Saskatchewan rid­ing.

“We send out deep­est con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims, our thanks to the first re­spon­ders for their quick ac­tion and our love to the com­mu­nity that con­tin­ues to suf­fer this ter­ri­ble loss,” Mul­cair said.

Health Min­is­ter Jane Philpott promised more sup­port for the com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly for its men­tal health needs.

“The mat­ter of men­tal health needs in First Na­tions ... and other in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties is a press­ing mat­ter that I will pay full at­ten­tion to,” she said.

CP PHOTO

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and Lib­eral MPs stand for a mo­ment of si­lence for the Saskatchewan shoot­ing vic­tims dur­ing ques­tion pe­riod in the House of Com­mons on Par­lia­ment Hill in Ottawa on Mon­day.

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