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Suspect facing charges in Canada church fire

A screen capture image from a video shows the alleged arsonist at Blessed Sacrament parish in Regina, SK Catholic Arena, on X

Suspect facing charges in Canada church fire

Jordan Willet, 31, was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday for allegedly conducting an arson attack on the Blessed Sacrament Church in Regina, Saskatchewan, earlier this month. Regina police on Saturday reported that Willet was facing charges of arson with disregard for human life, violating a probation order, and disguising himself with the intent to commit a crime. A video of the attack showed an individual wearing a mask while attempting to set fire to the building with a flammable liquid and a lighter. Regina Fire and Protective Services also determined someone intentionally set the fire.

Do church burnings happen a lot? Canadian newsgroup True North, associated with the think tank True North Centre for Public Policy, has a map—updated earlier this month—of 100 churches that arsonists have purportedly attacked. Earlier this month, Canadian MP Corey Tochor unsuccessfully sought a unanimous resolution on the floor of parliament to condemn the church burning of Blessed Sacrament.

Are people trying to justify this? The attacks on the churches have followed reports that authorities found unmarked graves of native children near residential schools. Those reports began in May 2021, when Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc, a group representing the interests of British Columbia's Indigenous population, claimed that the remains of 215 children had been found near the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. It was later determined that ground-penetrating radar had picked up anomalies consistent with unmarked graves, but no definitive remains were ever excavated. Another suspected site of unmarked graves, located near the while the  Pine Creek Residential School in Manitoba, failed to yield any evidence of human remains. The Blessed Sacrament Church that Willet allegedly attacked says on its website that it is on “Treaty 4 Territory” that originally belonged to native groups. 

Dig deeper: Read Sharon Dierberger’s report in WORLD Magazine about these church burnings.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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