On 5th anniversary of mass shooting, Sask. premier calls La Loche 'a beacon of hope'
SASKATOON -- Premier Scott Moe says La Loche “will be a beacon of hope for future generations across Saskatchewan.”
Moe issued a statement on Friday commemorating the five-year anniversary of the shooting at Dene High School in La Loche, in which student Randan Fontaine killed four people and injured seven others.
“Everyone in this community felt the impact and everyone in the province shared your grief; but during this time we also saw great courage, we saw compassion, we saw a community united and determined to recover and rebuild in the face of adversity that most of us could never imagine,” Moe said.
“Today, is a day of remembrance; remembrance for Dayne Fontaine, Drayden Fontaine, Marie Janvier and Adam Wood. Four lives cut tragically short. And to remember those still bearing injuries today – be it physical or spiritual. Today is also a day of reflection, reflection of the healing that has taken place over the past five-years, and the healing that will continue on.
“There is a long road ahead, and what was lost five years ago can never be recovered, but to the family, friends, colleagues and class mates of Dayne, Drayden, Marie and Adam: please know that we will not forget them, they will be in the hearts and minds of Saskatchewan people as you continue down this road of healing.”
The school also posted a video commemorating the shooting, which included messages from students.
In the video, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he wished he could be in La Loche in person.
“I want you to know that you’re not alone. Even from afar, I stand with you and I mourn with you.
“We all wish we could turn back the clock, that we could change what happened that day. Of course, we can’t change the past. We can only change the future. And that means listening to you on what will help your community heal.
“Whether it’s new programs and resources for your school, funding cultural and language-based programs, on-the-land activities or mental health services for students, we will always be here for you.”
Grade 12 student Mya Ruelling said many positive things have happened at the school since 2016 including the arrival of a modular farm which provides fresh produce, and which students help maintain.
An elders’ room, where people can speak with an elder or do beading, has been popular, she said.
“I really like it. It’s very calming.”
A wellness centre and an increase in counsellors have also helped a lot of students, while an outdoor education class helps students connect to their culture and be with nature, she said.
In 2018, Fontaine received an adult sentence of life with no chance of parole for 10 years.