Feb 14, 2023
Treaty 5 and Homeland of the Red River Métis, Thompson MB—A year after a tragic fire that claimed the lives of three children in Pimicikamak Cree Nation, the NDP is asking the province to update Manitobans on their efforts to support fire safety and housing initiatives on First Nations.
“I wish I could say the February 2022 fire in Pimicikamak was the last in northern Manitoba, but there have been lives lost since then. As a parent, these losses are unimaginable,” said NDP MLA for Thompson Eric Redhead. “These are entirely preventable deaths, but it takes collaboration between the provincial and federal governments to commit to fire safety programs that decrease the risk of fires and strengthen emergency response teams in communities.”
The fire that broke out in a residential home in Pimicikamak Cree Nation killed three children under the age of 17. The community met with the Premier in the following days to ask for the provincial government’s help in advocating for more fire suppression tools on reserve and more support for local firefighting units. Chief Monias urged the Premier to live up to the Northern Flood Agreement, which aims to eliminate poverty and housing inequality on reserves.
During budget committee meetings in May, that were attended by members of the children’s family, NDP Leader Wab Kinew asked the Premier if she would write a letter to the federal government asking for support on fire-related programs including: distributing smoke detectors to communities, building a fire hall in Pimicikamak, investing in provincial programs for fire prevention on First Nations and raising wages for firefighters. The Premier indicated she would direct her Minister to write the letter and she committed to following up with Pimicikamak Cree Nation and the Legislature on any federal response.
“Every child deserves to be safe and free from risk,” said Redhead. “The Premier has said her government will advocate for more fire prevention, and update these communities on her efforts, so we are asking her to do so today.”