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Should kids be allowed to buy lighters?

Winnipeg politician says no; a ban would reduce arson

A Winnipeg city councillor is suggesting banning the sale of lighters to minors could prevent arson.

Coun. Paula Havixbeck floated her idea Wednesday on Twitter and Facebook.

Havixbeck said the lighter question was prompted by a comment from police that 90 per cent of arsons are started with lighters.

She concedes that banning the sale of lighters to minors would only be a short-term fix, adding Winnipeg has struggled with an arson problem for 20 years.

The councillor says part of the solution is keeping youth engaged in positive activities during long, hot summers.

Her question was posed before there were four suspicious fires within a one-hour period in the span of five blocks on Thursday morning in the North End.

``It prompted a lot of discussion, which I thought was great,'' Havixbeck said.

``Lots of people just said no, no, noa but a lot of other people had suggestions and significant comments related to parenting, and they delved into some deeper issues about what kids are doing with their time," she said.

The arson strike force is investigating the fires. No injuries were reported.

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