QUEEN’S PARK - Doug Ford must listen to First Nations calling on the provincial and federal governments to support communities that urgently need fire resources to prevent any more tragic fire deaths, said Sol Mamakwa, MPP for Kiiwetinoong and NDP critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations.
“The deaths of three young children in a fire in Sandy Lake has devastated the community and has broken the hearts of people across the province and the country,” said Mamakwa. “We cannot allow this to happen again. There can be no more jurisdictional games played with the lives of First Nations children.”
According to the Ontario Chief Coroner’s Table on Understanding Fire Deaths in First Nations, First Nations children aged zero to nine years have a fire-related mortality rate 86 times greater than non-First Nations children in Ontario, making them the group with the highest death rate.
“The people of Ontario want to help. Canadians want to help. It is time for the Ford government to listen and provide the fire fighting resources needed in First Nations communities now,” said Mamakwa. “First Nations are asking for the same level of fire protection afforded to all Ontarians.
“Right now, too many communities are relying on volunteers and insufficient equipment to fight fires because they do not have the funds and resources for paid firefighters and fire prevention services. The province must help protect families with fire safety action plans and ensure that all homes and infrastructure are safe.
“If the government doesn’t act now, more tragedies will happen. How many children will we lose to preventable fires before this government takes action to save lives?”