PBCN hosts top public safety officials

Photo by Tina Pelletier/PBCN Group photo of PBCN leaders, staff and members with dignitaries and guests at the cultural centre in Pelican Narrows

Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) welcomed a top public safety official to Pelican Narrows on Thursday.

Adrian Walraven, the Director General of the Indigenous Affairs Branch at Public Safety Canada and Matt Mirasty, the Executive Director of First Nations and Indigenous Policing were in attendance to speak with PBCN leadership.

The meeting comes after PBCN’s call to Ottawa over escalating violence and crime rates in the community.

“Engaging with Mr. Walraven marks a key step toward addressing the safety challenges in our communities.” PBCN Chief Peter Beatty said in a press release. “Pelican Narrows is under tremendous strain – we are dealing with a Crime Severity Index six times above the province’s average with violent crimes having doubled in the past four years. It’s clear that our situation demands immediate action.”

According to a press release issued by PBCN, recent statistics have shown a tripling in weapons charges and a 154% increase in justice administration offenses which include court appearance breaches, which now sit at a rate of 33,444 per 100,00 people.

The spike coincides with a 30 percent deficiency in RCMP staffing in the community which only employs 10 officers, with authorization to carry 15.

During the visit which included a tour of the community, discussions focused on issues like housing shortages, understaffing of the RCMP, the necessity for federal financial support for anti-gang and violence prevention initiatives and enhancing local infrastructure for emergency responses.

“The collaboration between our nation and federal partners is vital for the safety and future prosperity of our community,” said Chief Beatty. “We look forward to the swift implementation of our discussions and are hopeful for the continued support from Mr. Walraven and the federal government.”