Manitoba First Nation to demolish 2 homes suspected of meth production
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV News’ Manitoba Bureau Chief Jill Macyshon
Published Tuesday, May 14, 2019 10:00PM EDT
The elders of a First Nation in Manitoba have taken extreme measures to combat what they’re calling a “meth crisis” in their community.
The elders of Sagkeeng First Nation, approximately 126 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, have decided to shut down two houses suspected of meth production by evicting at least five people who live inside and demolishing both homes.
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The First Nation’s chief and council issued the eviction notices on Monday and plan to demolish the homes by the end of the week.
“Today we are delivering an eviction notice to two homes in Sagkeeng and the community is ready to take a stand against drugs,” one of the leaders said in a Facebook video as they issued the eviction notice.
Under the Indian Act, First Nation councillors have the jurisdiction to evict residents from the community. Even so, elders have contacted the RCMP, who will have officers on standby if things get out of hand.
The people living at the homes slated for demolition will not be kicked out of the community. They will be allowed to choose where they live.
Marilyn Courchene, a former band councillor and resident of Sagkeeng First Nation, told CTV Winnipeg she believes the evictions will help slow down the meth problem in her community.
“I think it’s excellent,” she said. “I think it’s something we should’ve done a long time ago.”
Councillors say meth has a taken a strong hold on the community in the past two years -- to the point where children as young as 13 are being affected by the drug.
The community isn’t alone in struggling with meth addiction, however. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction, meth use is on the rise in Canada’s western provinces.
In its April 2019 report, the organization said meth use has nearly tripled among those accessing the services of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba. Meth is also the second-highest reason -- behind alcohol – for why Manitobans seek addictions treatment.
An illicit drug task force in Manitoba is expected to release a report in June with a plan to tackle the issue in the province.
With files from CTV Winnipeg’s Beth Macdonell