CBC Forum: What can be done to help La Loche?

Residents of the northern Saskatchewan town of La Loche say more resources are needed to fight suicide among young people. A 17-year-old has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder after a school shooting there.

  • Welcome to CBC Forum, a live, hosted discussion where readers can talk about stories of national interest and the issues that arise from them.

    CBC Forum is here to encourage a different kind of conversation. Our aim is to have a thoughtful debate on issues that matter to Canadians and to reflect a diversity of opinion.

    Tell us your story. Give us your unique point of view. We will attempt to feature as many voices as possible in our discussion and we will showcase some posts and stories on other parts of CBCNews.ca.
    Comment ()
  • Good morning and welcome to the CBC Forum.
    Our topic this morning is La Loche, Sask. Residents of the town say faith, family, friends and hope have helped them cope in the wake of last Friday's deadly shooting.
    Comment ()
  • But the mayor and some other residents are calling for more to be done to help the community deal with its ongoing youth suicide crisis.
    Comment ()
  • Mental Health Services in Saskatchewan are pitiful. I have been waiting for a new psychiatrist since 2010. It took me finally finding a new family doctor (all of the referals my previous family doctor in another city gave me came to naught) to finally get some additional support.

    I'm in Regina. Imagine how hard it is in La Loche. Not to mention that to access a lot of the resources in this province you have to have the means to leave your community, which is something not everyone in La Loche has.

    Health Care is a provincial responsiblity. Hear that Mr. Premier? This is YOUR crisis and you have had over a decade to fix it.
    Comment ()
  • I really wish I had a perfect answer for this, yes there has been responders and support but, the vast distance this community is from a major centre posses huge challenges. Right now honestly I think the friends and family not only need but deserves answers and this young man needs to be psychologically evaluated thoroughly.

    Rampant suicide exist in many rural communities like these and reservations. Large scale substance abuse is prevalent but, how does one tackle these problems for a community without being seen as an interloper or, do we continue to just toss money at the problem which is evidently not fixing the problem(s).
    Comment ()
  • La Loche"s loss is an open manifestation of the larger issue of what First Nation communities have endured over many years of indifference and neglect from Federal and Provincial levels of government. No more quick fixes--- till the next time. A national plan for improving living conditions from housing, water to mental health care is needed, and not just for La Loche.
    Comment ()
  • Comments are closed on La Loche stories for legal reasons. The accused can not be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. As well, we have temporarily closed comments on stories about indigenous people

    When will the CBC "allow" comments on news items related and halt censoring? Are you afraid of what you'll read?DWBat 8:30 AM

    Comment ()
  • Canada has not made a good enough effort to make villages and towns in remote areas of Canada livable and affordable and the results are most desperate and most obvious in first nations communities. Canada needs a policy much like Diefenbaker envisioned (Roads to the North) and a system of providing the necessities of life at prices equivalent to prices in the more accessible southern communities. We need the north to be inhabited, therefore there need to be opportunities for employment and affordable necessities of life in the north. We cannot let the north be inhabited by people whose living conditions and problems make them choose death over life.
    Comment ()
  • I think that in any community, change and development is best started from the bottom up. People living in La Loche are more than capable, and know what they need. Governments should respectfully listen and be willing to provide "lots of resources" and support, rather than impose ideas. Let's start listening to people rather than telling them what they need.
    Comment ()
  • As someone who has worked on reserves, the best way to fix this problem would be to discuss the integration of first nations into society, and get them off of reserves. I would not wish living on a reserve to anyone. Burnt houses, packs of wild dogs roving around, very little law and order. Terribe conditions. Make it beneficial and affordable to come into the cities where culture and language could still be practise if they choose.
    Comment ()
  • There is a good reason why population all over the world is moving towards cities (urbanization). Cities are much more advanced for providing employment, networking and entertainment comparing to small rural communities. Instead of desperately trying to maintain the "old ways", we should help people to adapt to the new ways. Provide help for relocating and settling in cities, instead of throwing good money after bad money. Teach people to fish, instead of providing endless support of canned tuna.
    Comment ()
  • I get very tired of hearing how 'provincial and federal governments have neglected' First Nations. The issue is one of isolation and this is a problem in isolated communities anywhere in Canada. No amount of money will change that problem. As was the case with the cod fishery disaster, rural communities in Newfoundland had to move in order to both find work and join a viable community. It's about time we faced this dilemma head on.
    Comment ()
  • I think it's disgusting the way this heinous crime, perpetrated by a 17 year old, is being used as a fund raiser by the mayor of La Loche and other aboriginal leaders. Oh yeah, let's tear down a high school and rebuild it; that's the cure. Let's throw millions (nay billions) of dollars at it. That's what worked in the past, didn't it?
    Comment ()
  • I recall listening to a priest who had worked for years with gang members in an economically challenged area of Los Angeles - he said, "Nothing stops a bullet like a job." I would say we all need to accept that money should be poured into education of youth in any challenged Canadian community - with an end-goal of good employment prospects. That can lead to work somewhere - maybe on or off the reserve. Let's face it, you can look anywhere in the world where youth are lacking engagement or a reasonable future and the result will be the same: trouble and tragedy.
    Comment ()
  • "I want that school to be rebuilt. Torn down, rebuilt ... because of the trauma," acting mayor Kevin Janvier said Sunday. 
    Why exactly do they want their new and beautiful school torn down and rebuilt?Edmund Burkeat 9:05 AM

    Comment ()

  • 6 years ago my 18 year old nephew died by suicide on a reserve. He left a 1 year old son behind. Attending the funeral I was appalled by the conditions there. I wondered why my brother would keep his family in such a horrible place. The problem is us on the outside who have yet to accept them. They only see that leaving they are subjected to ridicule and our society lacks the love they have in their own surroundings. Some how we have to give them back the pride and self esteem those residential schools took away.
    Comment ()
  • Perhaps a memorial would be more appropriate than ripping down and rebuilding the school. This could be added on to built with in the existing school.
    Comment ()
  • Most of these young people only get to see the world through the web and tv - I would think, with few exceptions, the 'outside' is vastly more interesting and exciting to them than daily life in any northern town or reserve.

    Preparing the youth to leave is the hard part. they need to speak an 'official' language well, need education that isn't 'no child left behind' but actually teaches them skills, and they need supportive parents and systems to help them find further education, work and opportunity.
    Comment ()
  • In regards to mental health services - Saskatchewan spends only five percent of the total health budget on mental health. The national average is 7 percent. And that is lower than almost all other developed countries. My question is why the government bothered to commission a mental health report if they had no intentions of acting on any of the recommendations? It is all well and good to want help for LaLoche and other communities, but the government's lack of commitment to mental health means that those who need help will not get it.
    Comment ()
  • I would like to know the numbers of young people who died this year from suicide in La Loche and across northern Saskatchewan and grieve for them along with the victims of the current crisis. We have a lot of grieving to do. I hope it turns into supportive action.
    Comment ()
  • Healing is not a one time event. As a Psychologist and Social Worker, I have had the opportunity to work with people in various stages of healing in relation to trauma. In my many years of practice, I have also had the chance to work with indigenous communities and the wisdom for healing is within the community. If the community identifies that they need more resources, then they do. Maybe there can be a way to bring indigenous healers, and other professionals together that can support the trauma aspect in a collaborative response that can engage the core of this suffering? Trauma forever changes people. It can call in a deeper need for healing that goes beyond individuals and communities and goes to societal healing around oppression, violence, racism and the burden of suffering. There needs to be steps, strategies and humanness involved. Every voice matters, and the communities voice is the most important. The young need to know that the adults have a plan and the young need to be apart of it. In order to heal trauma every day, every decision and every action will matter.
    Comment ()
  • Nothing, that has not already been done or tried, did any Government to anything when this happened in Southern AB, not, they have to change within, I grew up in Northern AB life then is the same as it is today. They do not want to change, from generation to generation the lifestyle persists.
    Comment ()
  • Charles Beale is exactly right. Self-exile in isolation fails in Canada as it has everywhere else. Govts here should promote integration, not apartheid. We are ALL indigenous to Canada, for goodness sake. Unconditional subsidies obtained purely on the basis of ancestry have no place in a modern democracy. It insults all of us struggling to make it through tough economic times esp youngsters burdened by student debt who can't find work or financing to start a business. The appalling call by community leaders to tear down and rebuild the school where the incident occurred tells us very clearly that residents did none of the planning, tax-raising or construction, made none of the payments for that school. They sound like spoiled children. The truth is, self esteem, reasonable health and lasting happiness are the rewards of hard work, real accomplishment, discipline and conscious, sensible family planning and parenting. The problems in this community are addressed not by money but by FN making the decision to join the rest of the country to participate as equals.
    Comment ()
  • If people are in places that are remote, no jobs, no future, they need to come out of there. The Indian Act and the culture of despair it has fostered is wrong. The Indian Act was brought in in 1868. It is 2016. Let's move forward.
    Comment ()
  • Bringing Sandy Hook Elementary into the conversation is rather shallow and in poor taste. Two adults were killed in the school, not 20 children as was the case at Sandy Hook. Both tragedies are terrible however not equal. Destroying a school will only cause more difficulty to the children.
    Comment ()
  • La loch has some serious problems. This incident is just one of them. For example my niece and husband who live there won't let any guests walk the streets. In daylight they will drive them where they need to go even a block away.
    Comment ()
  • The shooting in La Loche is a tragedy no matter where it happened. We have so little information to work with here and won't be getting any as it is suppressed by the juvenile justice system. That the alleged perpetrator had mental health issues is obvious and so like health services across the nation there were insufficient funds allocated to this great unfilled need. Where is the responsibility though of the parents? How did this minor obtain access to the firearm he used? Why was it not stored under lock and key, and if it was, why did this minor have access to it? Yet somehow this horrific tragedy is being used to beat up the rest of Canada for injustices perpetrated against indigenous people since first contact. The issues this alleged perpetrator had may have been related tangentially to the history of interaction between European-Canadians and Indigenous peoples, but let's put the blame where it clearly belongs.
    Comment ()
  • We haven't shut down discussion. This is the discussion. There was also a CBC Forum on the topic on Saturday. 
    I don't agree with CBC policy regarding no comments. Given that other stories on CBC of a sensitive nature are regularly moderated or may be legal in nature, I see no reason for CBC to shut down discussion. If anything we need more communication to better understand what is needed in the community.Something wrong with...at 10:11 AM

    Comment ()
  • As much as I feel for this community and the youth issue's therein, they are no different than any inner city issues. As for tearing down the school, I certainly hope that as a leader in the community he was speaking with emotion and not with any expectation this will actually be done. I don't know if that would be a traditional means of dealing with this sort of tragic event, but I wonder if they'll now want to burn down the home where the 2 boys were killed for the same reason? It might even be said this is a classic response by old school aboriginal leadership. My heart and thoughts are with the community as they heal and return to normal life. May the people heal and move forward.
    Comment ()
  • This community needs help. First Nation's have a rich cultural tradition that needs to be brought to the children so that they can find pride in where they come from!! If I had that bloodline I would feel honoured. If my children were First Nation I want them all to have Status Cards to keep who they are real through time. History is too important to ignore!!
    Comment ()
  • As to this new format of discussion I find it a great improvement when dealing with controversial issues. I don't envy your task of moderation in this subject as any discussion involving First Nations brings out the vile hatred so many people spew from behind walls of anonymity.
    Comment ()
  • The issues concerning the aboriginal community are important and should be dealt with. At the same time, please don't forget that one of the people killed was not aboriginal, was from Ontario and had gone to LaLoche to teach there. Communities like this need to be made safe for people like him too.
    Comment ()
  • Instead of tearing down the school and building a new one, as suggested by the Mayor and MP for the region, take the money and build a rec center.
    Comment ()
  • Demolishing the school is nonsense! What if there's another shooting in a couple years
    Comment ()
  • I too believe that the desire expressed to demolish the school and rebuild would be a great mistake. The resources could be so much better utilised to provide a quality hospital with mental health facilities. I also believe that a plaque commemorating this tragedy and the continued use of the school would better demonstrate the resilience & fortitude of the people of La Loche.
    Comment ()
  • Implore the Federal Government immediately invest infrastructure funding in First nations Communities across Canada. Invest in safe water services. Invest in gymnasium and covered ice rink facilities to provide healthy activities for youth and to help instill some hope for their future. Partner with universities and colleges and sports associations to implement practicums for students to work in First Nations Communities as part of degree programs and to encourage mentorship. The issues in La Roche are only the "tip of the iceberg". Partnering and investing in First Nations Communities could be an enormous economic opportunity as the people in these communities are a valuable asset to the rest of Canada. Assisting First Nations Communities with legitimate investment in their future is most certainly the right thing to do in a country like Canada that claims to be one of the best places in the world to live in... unless you happen to live in a remote first nations community.
    Comment ()
  • The problem is not a La Loche problem. The problem is systemic for the First Nations. It is not their fault. It is the systems fault in thinking that the 1800's view of the world can work in these times. The reservation system simply cannot work. There is no way it will ever work. I'm sorry, but the traditional way of life no longer exists. Trying to force it to happen will continue to lead to despair and destruction.
    Comment ()
  • I have been at a number of norther reserves in the Yukon Territory and northern Alberta. The single most appalling aspects of my observations of those locales was two-fold: First, the stratification that occurred in a good many of the reserves I visited whereby the Chief and a small circle of cronies benefited visibly from Federal money, while much of the rest of the people lived in abject poverty. The second was a palpable lack of purpose that wove its way through the body of the rez like a cancer. A collection of bored people with little to occupy them but for the alters built around the TV in most private homes, and a series of well-meaning but ultimately temporary government and local initiatives that provided an even more temporary boost in local morale. Where there is no vision, the people perish. In my view the entire reservation system is both expensive and divisive. Isolating a segment of our population is counter-productive. At the same time some responsibility must fall on the internal leadership. Where strong, directional leadership exists on reserves, hopelessness and suicide are greatly reduced,as is their evil step-sisters, drug use and alcohol abuse. In addition, First Nations leadership should face reality.There is no returning to "the old ways" in a modern global society, neither was there anything noble in the condition when it existed as a norm in this country. First Nations should deeply consider that perhaps the first and best course of action for the benefit of their own people and all Canadians, is to bring the best of who they are and add it to the Canadian Mosaic as so many different cultures do so now in this land.
    Comment ()
  • A hugely complex and ancient problem whose answer/s will come from many directions but primarily from within the community and within individuals. Clearly mental health is a massive issue here and all need to be honest and address it authentically. Isolation of an individual, a community and/or a culture means devastation for all.
    Comment ()
  • Ask the good people of La Loche. That would be a start.
    Comment ()
  • There should be an opportunity for people in remote areas to experience life in the city in a safe and productive way. Then they might better appreciate what they left behind. FN families should have both their traditional land, as well as their own residential facilities in the big city. That way the people would not feel isolated and trapped and could move back and forth as required. Ideally everyone should have this capability to really get to know this great country. A good blend of traditional and modern education, not just the politically correct stuff, is required. Unfortunately big city life is very structured and artificial, and you need to be aware of the dangers to stay safe. The wilderness is just as risky for city folk.
    Comment ()
  • I when stated that all they do it sit in their rooms inside playing with their technology and they are not used to working out side........

    well that's a parenting problem not a government problem. Kids only get away with what their parents allow them to get away with. If most people are living in poverty how are they even paying for this luxury.

    Like I stated the youth sitting around on phones ect is a parenting issue not a government issue.

    Parents start doing YOUR JOB!!! Parents need to take responsibility of the way THEIR children are turning out. Its your job to raise well rounded, well behaved, PRODUCTIVE members of society, not anyone else's job.
    Comment ()
  • Thanks to everyone who took part in our discussion this morning. We'll have another CBC Forum this afternoon. 
    Comment ()
Powered by ScribbleLive Content Marketing Software Platform