Sunday January 24, 2016

What is your reaction to the school shooting in La Loche?

La Loche Community School is shown in an undated photo.

La Loche Community School is shown in an undated photo. (Canadian Press)

Listen to Full Episode 1:53:00

The prime minister described it as, "Every parent's worst nightmare."  Four are dead and an unknown number injured after a gunman opened fire in a school in the northern community of La Loche, Sask. What are your thoughts? With guest host Diana Swain.

Flags are lowered across Saskatchewan this week to show support for the small northern community of La Loche, where four people were killed and seven injured in a mass shooting on Friday.

Diana Swain

Checkup guest host, Diana Swain (CBC bio photo)

The attack began at a home where two brothers, 13 and 17 years old, were shot dead. It continued at the high school, where a teacher and a teaching assistant were killed. Seven others were hurt. A 17-year-old boy was taken into police custody at the school.

Saskatchewan's premier, government officials and indigenous leaders are gathering to support the community of La Locheā€”a town with a population of about 3,000 mostly Dene people.

The point has been made that these kinds of shootings are extremely rare in Canada compared to the United States. But the question being asked by people in La Loche and beyond today is: why did it happen there?

The tragedy has put the spotlight the community of La Loche and some of the tremendous challenges for people who call it home.

The town has the highest suicide rate in Saskatchewan. Unemployment is high, with over half the population without a job, and facilities are few. A similar reality is faced by many northern indigenous communities across this country.

Our question: "What are your thoughts on the shootings in La Loche, Saskatchewan?"

GUESTS

Buckley Belanger
MLA for Athabasca - the riding that includes La Loche

Duncan McCue
CBC national reporter
Twitter: @duncanmccue

Connie Cheecham
La Loche, Sask. resident
She works in the band office as the Human Resource coordinator and in the past has worked in area schools on and off reserve as a language developer.

Chief Ernie Crey
A social worker who has worked in remote northern native communities. He is the elected chief of the Cheam First Nation near Chilliwack, BC. Co-author of "Stolen from Our Embrace: The Abduction of First Nations Children and the Restoration of Aboriginal Communities"
Twitter: @Cheyom1