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January 8th will be the ten-year anniversary of the fatal fire at a makeshift police detachment in Kashechewan. Two men, Jamie Goodwin and Ricardo Wesley, burned alive while locked in a jail cell in a building without a sprinkler system, fire extinguisher, or even a smoke alarm.

Yet, ten years later many of the 86 recommendations of the coroner’s inquest remain unmet, including those that would put First Nations communities on par with every other Canadian community to meet the minimum standards of fire safety.

Charlie Angus says issues of fire and police protection in First Nations must be addressed.

There isn’t anything more terrible than attending the funeral of a young person who died needlessly in a fire because there wasn’t adequate fire protection. No Canadian should have to worry that their community lacks basic fire or police protection.”

As a recent government report stated, almost half of First Nations across Canada live with “little to no fire protection”. Angus says we need to get serious about ensuring that every community has the infrastructure needed to keep residents safe.

“We owe it to the families of Ricardo Wesley and Jamie Goodwin who died so tragically to honour their memory by making sure that such things never happen again.”

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