‘It’s not the end’: Wascana Park protestors stay committed despite eviction notice
The Justice for our Stolen Children camp has been set up in Wascana Park across from the Legislative Building for 98 days. They were expected to be out of the park by 5 p.m. on June 5.
One of the camp’s organizers, Prescott Demas, said the eviction notice was posted to a nearby tree Saturday. He has no intention of leaving.
“What happens now is after five we’ll still be here,” Demas said.
“It’s not the end of the fight because these issues are always going to be here and they’ve always been there. It just took the Gerald Stanley case to bring it out front and centre. That grabbed national attention, but those issues are there and have always been there.”
The 5 p.m. deadline came and went with no immediate response from the provincial government or Wascana Centre Authority. In response, the campers held a BBQ with hot dogs and ginger ale.
One of the campers, Richelle Dubois has long been critical of the investigation into her son Haven’s 2015 death. She rejects the police finding that he “greened out” on marijuana and drowned. She has long questioned the investigation, pointing to suspected gang ties to his death.
She said that for now the camp will continue as is, as they wait on the government’s next move.
“Time will tell. We’ll see what happens. We are getting our ducks in a row as well, and you know what, I’ve been waiting for three years for answers on my son. It’s his birthday tomorrow. This is the way we’re spending his birthday,” Dubois said.
The camp formed shortly after Stanley was acquitted in the Colten Boushie murder trial. Raymond Cormier being found not guilty in the case of Tina Fontaine’s death in Winnipeg also motivated the camp.
In an early interview, Demas said that other issues of systemic racism in the child welfare, justice and corrections system are issues the camp wants to bring to light.
The eviction notice did not come as a surprise to the camp. On May 24, Central Services Minister Ken Chevedayoff said the camp was violating park bylaws and would soon be evicted so the sprinklers can be turned on.
A meeting was scheduled to happen between the ministers and campers, but that did not happen.
Demas said some of the campers did meet with Cheveldayoff’s deputy minister Richard Murray.
In addition to Cheveldayoff’s comments, the site of the camp is routinely occupied by the annual Canada Day festivities that take place in the park.
“Now we’re in the way of Canada Day? I mean how much do they teach about real Canadian history? Why not include Aboriginals, First Nations in Canada Day celebrations?” Prescott asked.
“We have to go back to the history and learn all that still.”
The eviction notice said that failure to comply is contrary to The Trespass to Property Act, and will be dealt with accordingly.
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