Province Blamed For Death Of Garson Lake Elder

Thursday, December 15, 2005 at 16:11



The mayor of a northern hamlet is blaming the provincial government for the death of the community’s only elder earlier this week.


Donald Laprise says Johnny Janvier collapsed in Garson Lake on Monday, but was still breathing a couple of hours later before dying as he was being driven to La Loche.


Laprise says provincial funding for the hamlet’s only phone — used for emergencies — was halted by Northern Municipal Affairs officials earlier this year.


He says if the mobile phone had been available on Monday, a quick call to Fort McMurray would have seen a medical helicopter arrive within 20 minutes.


Laprise estimates the mobile phone has saved the lives of at least six residents in critical situations in previous years.


Laprise also claims he received assurances from provincial cabinet ministers at a roundtable meeting in La Ronge this past summer that emergency phone service would be restored within two weeks.


Laprise notes that was three months ago.