As La Loche begins to recover from the tragic shootings Friday that left four people dead and seven injured, federal, provincial, local and First Nations leaders are trying to identify ways to bring positive change to the community.
Speaking with Gormley on Monday, a number of leaders recounted subjects brought up in meetings in La Loche over the weekend.
“We start thinking about the gap that we always refer to between the quality of life between First Nations people and the rest of society,” Perry Bellegarde, chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said. “And this tragedy speaks to the need to really work together to develop that long-term strategy, provide hope for our young people and make sure there is a strategy to end that violence in our communities right across Turtle Island, north, south, east and west.”
Bellegarde said sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring people together to focus on the issue and find a way forward – and perhaps this may be one of those situations.
The meetings also discussed investment in education, shelter, infrastructure and community wellness. While no solutions have been mapped out as of yet, talk of the intention to do so was even brought up in the House of Commons Monday after MPs took a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting.
“The prime minister and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs, the Minister of Health and I have been very clear that we are going to listen very carefully to the messages from this community and work with them and work with the province and work with First Nations organizations to do what needs to get done,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said.
Goodale highlighted that there are similar issues in other communities, and hinted that there may be money in the upcoming budget for infrastructure shortfalls in isolated communities like La Loche.