Council Grand Chief renews calls for police force after latest fire in Kanesatake
KANESATAKE -- The Mohawk Council of Kanesatake Grand Chief has renewed calls for the territory to have its own police force following an early morning house fire on Friday.
That fire is just the latest in a series that have claimed the former police station, the youth centre and a cross fit gym and targeted cannabis dispensaries.
“It’s too many for a small community like ours. Some might be acts of arson, some are just accidental but we don’t have any concrete evidence yet,” said MCK Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon.
The latest fire severely damaged a home owned by Simon’s cousin, Sharon Simon, who owns a cannabis dispensary in the territory. Oka firefighters called the scene suspicious and the investigation has been transferred to the Surete du Quebec.
Sharon Simon’s lawyer Franco Shiro questioned why the fire was deemed suspicious.
“How come it took the fire department two hours to respond to 911 calls? It’s strange when it would take, from the city centre of Oka, approximately 15 minutes,” he said. “She’s had no issues with anybody, no threats, so obviously when they say a suspicious fire… I don’t know who said that or where they’re getting it from.”
Grand Chief Simon said the community is in need of its own police service to keep its residents safe. The Kanesatake police force was dissolved over a decade ago.
“Being subject to SQ patrolling has jurisdictional headaches too, when you have provincial police coming into federal jurisdiction,” he said. “But our own self-governing abilities are limited when the federal government won’t take its fiduciary duty to provide for our own community.”