Knife attacks in Saskatchewan: House committee to study

MPs agreed to call Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and the Chairman of the Parole Board of Canada to testify as part of a House of Commons committee study into the mass murders in Saskatchewan.

In a closed meeting on Tuesday, members of the House Public Safety and National Committee voted to undertake a study into mass stabbings in the James Smith Cree Nation and nearby Weldon that have leaves 11 dead – including one of the suspects Damien Sanderson – and 18 injured.

Amid the manhunt for the second suspect, Myles Sanderson, The Canadian Press reported – citing Parole Board of Canada documents – that he had been wanted since May for failing to report to his parole officer after his release from lawful prison was revoked in August 2021.

It raised questions about why officials initially granted his release, saying Sanderson would not ‘pose an undue risk to society if released’ despite his nearly 20-year criminal record and 59 convictions. , including for assault, assault with a weapon, assault on a peace officer. and theft.

In addition to Mendicino and the chair of the Parole Board of Canada, Jennifer Oades, the committee wants to hear from the Commissioner of Correctional Services of Canada, Anne Kelly.

Mendicino has previously announced that the Parole Board of Canada and the Correctional Service of Canada are conducting a joint investigation into the circumstances surrounding Sanderson’s release.

“I know there will be a lot of questions about our parole system. I think it’s very appropriate, and it’s important that we think about how this system works. And as I have said, we will continue to review the laws, policies and resources needed to keep our communities safe,” he told reporters on September 15.

According to the Conservatives, the motion to undertake this study was their initiative, with the aim of examining the decisions of the courts, the parole board and corrections officials.

“Many questions surrounding this horrific tragedy remain unanswered,” Conservative MP and public safety spokesperson Raquel Dancho said in a statement.

“Canadians deserve a justice system that protects them from dangerous criminals. James Cree First Nation families deserve to know why our justice system has failed them so horribly and how Parliament will ensure it never happens again,” Dancho said.

The committee has not yet announced the date for these hearings, but as part of the motion to undertake the study, it has agreed—as is the routine for committee studies—to submit a report containing its conclusions in the House of Commons.

The federal government is being asked to file “a comprehensive response” to their findings.

This study adds to the ongoing police investigation and two recently announced coronor inquests into the tragic incidents – one focusing on the murders, including that of one of the suspects, while the other will examine the death in custody of Myles Sanderson.

With files from CTV News Saskatoon and The Canadian Press