South Peace News
Anyone found convicted of burning a church should be brought to justice, says Peace River – Westlock MP Arnold Viersen.
In an attempt to reach his goal, Viersen introduced a motion at the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Committee to condemn the arson attacks on over 80 churches across Canada.
Viersen’s motion also called for the government to extend condolences to the affected communities.
“We’ve seen over 80 church buildings that have been reported burnt in this country,” cited Viersen in an Oct. 26 news release.
“Most of these have been on First Nation reserves and were used by local Indigenous people,” he added.
“Over the summer, one of the oldest churches in Alberta (St. Bernard Church) was burnt down in Grouard and had many members from the Kapawe’no First Nation.”
Viersen’s motion was stopped by the committee when Liberal and NDP members called for adjournment of debate on the motion, preventing any further discussion or a decision.
“It’s outrageous that churches are being burnt down across the country,” said Viersen, expressing his disappointment with the Liberals and NDP to condemn the burnings.
“These losses of church buildings have been devastating to these communities as these churches are places of milestones – weddings, funerals, baptisms, that sort of thing. Community members have come to me and showed me their displeasure for this.”
Two men charged with burning St. Bernard Church go to trial May 21, 2024. Charged with arson are Gerald Kenneth Capot and Randy Ferguson who were 50 and 56 years old respectively at the time of the fire May 22. Both men call High Prairie home.