Manitoba

Tina Fontaine honoured with moment of silence at North End meeting

A group that works to build ties and end violence in the North End held a moment of silence Friday for Tina Fontaine and her family.

Police arrested Raymond Cormier Dec. 9, charged him with murder in teen's 2014 death

Meet Me at The Bell Tower founder Michael Redhead Champagne speaks to a crowd at Friday's meeting on Selkirk Avenue. (CBC)

A group that works to build ties and end violence in the North End held a moment of silence Friday for Tina Fontaine and her family.

Winnipeg police announced Friday that a suspect in the teen's death had been arrested. Raymond Joseph Cormier, 53, has been charged with second-degree murder in Fontaine's death. Her body was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg in August last year.

Meet Me at the Bell Tower hosted its weekly meeting at the bell tower on Selkirk Avenue Friday, where organizer and founder Michael Redhead Champagne discussed what the arrest in Fontaine's case means to the community.

"We hope that this piece of justice that is being spoken of today can only be the beginning of future opportunities for us as a community, to take leadership on and participate in the justice we feel is needed for all missing and murdered indigenous women," Champagne said.

Raymond Cormier, 53, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine, 15, whose body was found in Winnipeg's Red River in August 2014.

"The important thing for us to take into consideration at this time is that this individual is from the East Coast, spent some time in central Canada and was caught on the West Coast, underscoring the truly national nature of the challenge that our law enforcement agencies [face]," he said.

Champagne said Fontaine's death sparked outrage across the country and sent shockwaves through Canada's indigenous communities.

It has even influenced how some indigenous parents talk to their kids about the potential dangers they may face in the world simply as a result of who they are, he added.

"When do we as indigenous community members have that conversation with our children, that you are at risk, you are in danger?" he asked.

"And how much emphasis do we put on indigenous women to have to protect themselves? Or is it the responsibility of the rest of us as the village to ensure that they don't have to?"

Cormier was arrested Wednesday and remains in police custody.

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