Police are following up on new leads related to a church fire that happened last week in Rose Prairie, B.C.
Cst. Chad Neustaeter told True North Wednesday that investigators will speak to witnesses over the next few days about the fire at Upper Pine Gospel Chapel.
“They’re trying to determine if it’s suspicious or not,” said Cst. Chad Neustaeter of Fort St. John RCMP.
Upper Pine Gospel Chapel was the 71st instance added to True North’s list of churches that have burned or been vandalized since the middle of 2021.
On Monday, police of Hamilton, Ont. said they arrested a 49-year-old man of no fixed address after he allegedly attempted to burn a 168-year-old church on New Year’s Eve.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a year ago responded to a wave of arson and vandalism that targeted churches across Canada. He denounced the acts as wrong, but then said the underlying emotions were understandable.
“I understand the anger that’s out there against the federal government, against institutions like the Catholic church,” he said. “It is real, and it is fully understandable given the shameful history that we’re all becoming more and more aware of.”
At the time, many speculated the wave of arson and vandalism against churches was a cultural response to the apparent discovery of human remains near a former Kamloops, BC, residential school.