Prime Minister Trudeau announces mental health supports in James Smith Cree Nation
I appreciate you letting me be here with you today, letting me grieve alongside you and continue to support in the very difficult healing process you’re all going through.
In September, all Canadians were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific attacks in this community. I know you’re still reeling and still processing what happened and what took place, and I know from the conversations I had that members of the community are still grappling with it every single day.
Earlier today, I got to sit down with a number of family members to hear your pain, to hear your anger, to hear also your hope for the future and your doubts that it will get better. I know this isn’t easy. I know how overwhelming this still is for all of you, and I know too that as happens, news continues to happen elsewhere across the country and Canadians who were standing with you and heartbroken during those first weeks of September are now reflecting on other things.
So, this opportunity to gather in front of Canadians, all of us, and remind them that this is a community still grieving, healing, a community still resilient, strong enough to talk about your feelings and your anger, and sharing your stories with me, continuing to share your stories with Canadians, some for the very first time.
Thank you for sharing the stories of the people you love, who have each contributed so much to the community. Stories about Bonnie Burns and Gregory Burns. Earl Burns. Lydia… Gloria Burns was rushing to help. Carol Burns and Thomas Burns, who were in visiting and weren’t supposed to be here this weekend, that weekend. (inaudible). Lana Head and Christian Head. Christian’s brother asked me to share a picture of him, and they talked about how much of a gap and the whole in their lives and their heart has been left by his absence. Wesley Petterson and Robert Sanderson.
These are not just names, these are not just part of a number of people in this horrific attack; they’re all individuals whose stories, the future, the past and people who loved them, people who will be remembered.
Today I met with families of the victims here in James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. I thank them for sharing stories about the loved one they lost in this tragic event. We will always remember them.
Earlier, I also met with the chiefs and council members. I told them that our government is here to support the community.
Today I met with the chiefs and council members, Chief Burns, Chief Sanderson, Chief Head and council members. I thanked them for their leadership through difficult times. We talked about how the community has been affected and what it was like in the days and weeks that followed, and what they're still going through now. We also talked about the need for improved policing and community safety, and the need for better mental health and wellness care. And our government is here to help, both in the immediate and in the longer term.
Proper care and interventions can help avert crises, this is why access to culturally grounded mental health and addictions care are so important. All members of our communities should have access to the type of support they need, and today we're taking action to improve access to care for the people of James Smith Cree Nation. We'll invest $40 million over six years to build a new wellness center here in the community and to repurpose the existing Sakwatamo Lodge to address immediate needs. Today's announcement will enable James Smith Cree Nation to develop and design the programs that best serve the needs of its members.
Today I am announcing that we will invest $40 million over six years to build a new wellness centre here in the community of James Smith Cree Nation. The funds will also serve towards the repurposing of the Sakwatamo Lodge to address immediate needs.
Our government will also invest $2.5 million over five years to increase access to holistic treatment and healing services in the community. This includes traditional and cultural supports and long-term care for those struggling with substance use. More access to mental health and addictions care will help create a safer and healthier community for everyone.
Everyone should be safe no matter where they live. That is why we launched the Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities Initiative earlier this year.
Earlier this year, we launched the Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities Initiative, which builds from our government's commitment in implementing the Federal Pathway to end violence against Indigenous women and girls. With this initiative, we're supporting Indigenous communities so they can develop community-based safety and wellness projects. And today, we're committed to doing even more; we'll invest a further $20 million over four years to top up the Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities Initiative. This means that more Indigenous communities across the country will have access to funding for their projects to keep people safe.
And of course, an important part of supporting community safety is also policing. Our government knows we need to work together to improve policing and community safety services. Last month, Minister Mendicino was here and he talked about some of the work we're doing with First Nations in advancing First Nations police services legislation. With the Prince Albert Grand Council, he announced the development of a community safety plan that meets the specific needs of your community. We will continue to collaborate to ensure that First Nations policing is recognized as an essential service.
Our shared goal is to make sure that people feel safe. In the aftermath of tragedy, you've shown remarkable care and resilience for one another. Healing is something that takes time, but as you continue along the healing journey, as people, as families, as communities, our government will be your partner every step of the way.
(Speaks in Indigenous language)