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Kenney, Trudeau condemn burning of church in Morinville

Last Updated Jun 30, 2021 at 1:39 pm MDT

Premier Jason Kenney on scene in Morinville to survey the damage at a church that was burned down, Wed. June 30. (PHOTO: RodMaldaner, CityNews Edmonton)

MORINVILLE, Alta – Alberta’s premier is condemning what is suspected to be arson at a church in Morinville.

Police and firefighters were called to St. Jean Baptiste church in the town near Edmonton in the overnight hours Wednesday for a blaze that would consume the whole building.

READ MORE: Church near Edmonton burned to the ground; Mounties, fire dept. investigating

A shell of the 114-year-old church was all that was left standing Wednesday afternoon and firefighters continued to douse flames and manage the rubble.

Premier Jason Kenney surveyed shortly after the lunch hour and calling the suspected act of arson a cowardly attack on the freedom of religion.

“This is unacceptable in Alberta. It is unacceptable in Canada. These attacks targeting Christian churches are attempts to destroy the spiritual sites that are important to people of faith across Alberta, including many Indigenous people,” he said in a release.

“The Canada we know is not one where hate-motivated arson attacks targeting religious communities are commonplace or allowed to continue.”

Kenney announced that the province would be doubling funding to protect churches and other targets of hateful violence or violence.

He also said police in the province would be stepping up their efforts to monitor places that could become targets.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also spoke on the matter Wednesday, saying the targeting of places of worship must stop.

“We must work together to right past wrongs. Everyone has a role to play.”

He says Canada should be used as a day of both celebration of Canada’s triumphs and reflection on the work that needs to be done.

“We need to pledge to ourselves and to all Canadians that we will be part of working together to build a better future for generations to come.”

Morinville’s mayor said the town would be cancelling Canada Day celebrations in wake of the church being burned down.

-with files from Darcy Ropchan