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MP Viersen: Churches Support Community

June 23, 2023


Ottawa, ON: This week, Arnold Viersen, MP for Peace River – Westlock, made a statement in the House of Commons acknowledging the important role of churches and the recent church burning in Grouard.

“Churches are strongholds of safety and comfort during difficult times. In our riding, while one church was recently hosting wildfire evacuees, another was attacked and burned down,” says MP Arnold Viersen. “I had the opportunity to visit both churches and I want to extend my deepest sympathies to all affected by this act of intolerance and recognize the important and historical contributions of these churches in their communities.

“At St. Bernard’s Church in Grouard, I was able to meet with Father Bernard and Father Michael to offer my condolences and support. I also spoke with the head firefighter who worked hard with his team to make sure the fire was contained.”

Text of statement in the House of Commons on June 21, 2023:

Mr. Speaker, every week Canadians attend worship services across this country. I had the opportunity to visit St. Joseph church in Whitecourt recently, where it was hosting evacuees from across the country. Children were playing in the church hall, parents were consuming meals that were put on by the community, and we thank the community for its support.

    That same week, I also had the opportunity to visit the community of Grouard, where St. Bernard church, one of the oldest churches in Alberta, had burned down. Community members were gathered there and remembered the funerals, the baptisms and the weddings that had taken place in that community. This community is mourning.

    Since 2021, 68 churches across this country have burned down, but, do not fear, churches will continue to be places where people can gather, come together to worship and enjoy communion and fellowship.

The statement can be viewed online here.