PBCN welcomes Public Safety Canada director to discuss public safety concerns in Pelican Narrows

Photo courtesy of Tina Pelletier Chief Peter Beatty discusses community safety issues in PBCN communities with Director General Adrian Walraven of the Indigenous Affairs Branch at Public Safety Canada.

Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) leadership welcomed Adrian Walraven, Director General of the Indigenous Affairs Branch, Public Safety Canada to Pelican Narrows Thursday April 25 “to discuss urgent community safety issues,” according to an April 26 PBCN news release.

The meeting came following PBCN elections where the incumbent, Karen Bird was defeated, and former Chief Peter Beatty was returned to office.

The meeting followed PBCN’s urgent call to Ottawa concerning increased safety and climbing crime rates in one of the Band’s communities, Pelican Narrows.

“Engaging with Mr. Walraven marks a key step toward addressing the safety challenges in our communities. Pelican Narrows is under tremendous strain – we are dealing with a Crime Seventy 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,” Chief Peter Beatty is quoted as saying in the news release.

Recent documented statistics indicate a 154 per cent increase in Justice Administration offences, such as court appearance breaches,, “which now sit at a rate of 33,444 per 100,000 people.’

At the same time, there is a 30 per cent deficiency in RCMP staffing in the community, “which currently operates with only 10 officers, despite being authorized for 15.”

The group, which included Matt Mirasty from the provincial Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, toured the community before meeting.

Discussions focused on housing shortages, RCMP understaffing, “the necessity for specialized policing strategies, the call for federal financial support for anti-gang end violence prevention initiatives, and the need for enhancing local infrastructure to strengthen emergency responses and alert systems,” also quoted from the news release.

Dominic LeBlanc, federal minister of Public Safety previously acknowledged the. PBCN request for assistance “highlighting recent investments in First Nations policing intended to support the transition to self-administered policing services and the improvement of community policing.”

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

In recent months the former PBCN Chief and Council took some steps to address increasing violence in the PBCN community, Pelican Narrows.

They held a press conference in Prince Albert to begin to address violence, which included daily gunshots, increased injuries, several transported south, and action by the RCMP units from La Ronge and Prince Albert which resulted in arrests, weapon and drug seizures. PBCN hired Troy Cooper, former Saskatoon and Prince Albert police chief, as the community’s safety director.