Skip to main content

Hundreds call for immediate action after Saint John homeless encampment death


A moment of silence was held for Peter ‘Evan’ McArthur in Saint John’s Kings Square on Tuesday night, with about 300 people attending a vigil calling for immediate action on the city’s homelessness problem.

Evan McArthur died after suffering serious burns at a homeless encampment fire in the city on Saturday.

Street Team Saint John organized Tuesday night’s vigil and said the number of people who attended was encouraging.

“The more noise you make the more things come to the forefront, so I’m super pleased to see how many people were out here,” said Ivan McCullough, an organizer.

Street Team Saint John is advocating for immediate supports at homeless encampments, including the addition of washroom facilities, garbage pick up, and electrical connections. Politicians in attendance at Tuesday night’s gathering included Saint John Mayor Donna Reardon, along with Progressive Conservative MLAs Dorothy Shephard and Trevor Holder.

“What we heard tonight here is that it’s time to all start rowing in the same direction, it’s time to tear the silos down and make sure the left hand knows what the right hand is doing so we’re working together as a community,” said Holder, to reporters after the event.

Speaking earlier to CTV, Evan McArthur’s mother said she hoped anger and grief about her son’s death would be the catalyst for preventing any similar tragedy.

“I want them to be upset enough to think hard about how we can find a cohesive, united cause that we can all work together to achieve,” said Heather McArthur. “And not to degrade anything that already exists, because it is important and (it works) with very minimal dollars. But we haven’t got it right. We are not a community that has a united purpose, and that is what I want to come from Evan’s death.”

“He’s one of our own and he deserved better.”

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

Stay Connected