Sask. premier to reach out to Red Earth Cree Nation chief, but won't commit to visit

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said he plans on calling the chief of Red Earth Cree Nation, but would not commit to visiting the community.

“Anytime a leader, in any community, wants to speak to an elected official we try to make that happen,” Moe said Thursday. “I most certainly will reach out, as I understand that request has been made.”

The community has spent the past few weeks searching for five-year-old Frank Young, who was reported missing on April 19.

During Question Period Thursday, NDP Leader Ryan Meili said Red Earth Cree Nation’s chief invited both Public Safety Minister Christine Tell and Premier Scott Moe to come and visit the community.

“Chief Fabian Head did however express real disappointment that no one from the government had come to visit the community and seen the reality of the challenges they face,” Meili said.

Meili said he and MLA Doyle Vermette visited the community this past weekend.

“It was really a moving and difficult experience just to see the pain that the family is in and understand the heartbreak that the whole community has,” the NDP leader said.

The premier however, said he did not know whether he will visit the community.

“We’ve been in Regina for largely for the last number of months. As we know I’ll be on a mission next week,” Moe said. “I don’t know that one way or another.”

Moe said it is “highly likely” the minister attends the community, and that he has asked Carrot River Valley MLA Fred Bradshaw, the representative of the area, to reach out as well.

“This is a very serious situation, this is a five-year-old boy, and the family asked, and the chief asked, and my response was yes, and I think that’s what the premier should say as well,” Meili said.

“That’s what we need from our leaders, is to come and see the reality of the struggles people are facing.”

As of Wednesday, a 92-square-kilometre area has been covered, as RCMP and volunteers search the area around the community.

Young was last seen around noon on April 19, although he may have been spotted at a local playground around 2:30 p.m., according to police.

Abduction is not suspected and his disappearance does not meet the criteria for an Amber Alert.

Moe said he understands one of the concerns the community has is surrounding the lack of an Amber Alert.

“Whether it’s an Indigenous Amber Alert, or whether its enhancements to the Amber Alert that we have, that may be a conversation our minister could have with the RCMP potentially, as there’s other entities at this table,” Moe said.

“Anytime there’s opportunities for us to enhance some of the procedures around missing children, most notably on today May 5, Red Dress Day, it’s worth a discussion.”

The search for Frank Young entered its 17th day on Thursday. RCMP said it would be focusing on water searches in the Carrot River over the next few days.

Red Earth Cree Nation is located approximately 224 kilometres east of Prince Albert, Sask.