2 more arrested in connection with Évangéline assault

·2 min read
The incident happened following a dance connected to the Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)
The incident happened following a dance connected to the Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)

Two more people have been arrested in connection with an assault in P.E.I.'s Évangéline region over the weekend that has been characterized as a racially-motivated attack.

Two people were sent to hospital with non life-threatening injuries after two immigrants reported being attacked in the early morning hours of Saturday, following a dance held by the Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival in Abram-Village.

A total of four people have now been arrested in connection with the attack, and police say assault and mischief charges are expected.

One of the victims of the attack — a newcomer to the area who community groups say relocated from another country to live and work in Évangéline, and was targeted as an outsider — has already left the region as a result.

Karine Gallant's daughter attends the local francophone daycare, where the victim worked.

"It's a bad example of what it is like in our community," she said.

"Other people that we want to bring here ... it's not just to be welcoming ... the community needs these people and they are important roles and we are going to grow with them."

'We condemn racism'

Wellington Mayor Alcide Bernard said local employers are looking for workers — and attracting and retaining newcomers is vital.

"Immigration is important to us as we move forward, and we want to be there to support any new people that arrive in our communities."

We condemn racism in all its forms, but a simple condemnation does little to alleviate the concerns. — joint statement from Wellington Mayor Alcide Bernard and Abram-Village Mayor Roger Gallant

Bernard and Abram-Village Mayor Roger Gallant issued a joint statement on Friday, denouncing what they described as offensive behaviours and saying they regret that the acts involved newcomers to the community.

"We condemn racism in all its forms, but a simple condemnation does little to alleviate the concerns," the statement said.

"This sad event shows us that we have a long way to go to overcome this challenge."

The mayors said they contacted the victims on Saturday morning to offer what support they could, and are looking forward to the results of the RCMP investigation.

'Let's make a commitment'

Ensuring that newcomers are supported, integrated into the community, and welcomed with hospitality isn't just a focus of local municipalities, but groups that support Francophones as well.

Sarah MacMillan/CBC
Sarah MacMillan/CBC

"We want the success of the immigrants who settle here, so let's make a commitment, together, to do the work necessary to make everyone feel welcome and know they have a place in our community, just as every Islander does," the Société acadienne et Francophone de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard said in a written statement.

Police continue to appeal to anyone with information about the incident to come forward.