Saskatchewan’s premier says the Regina police should remove teepees that protesters have set up on the legislature grounds.
“It will be our expectation, in light of the meeting on July 2, in light of the voices being heard, in light of the government of Saskatchewan continuing with the positive relationship with First Nations communities and First Nations leaders across the province that the message has been heard, and it would be the expectation that the camp would be dismantled,” Premier Scott Moe told reporters Thursday morning.
Moe said there are laws that cover the park surrounding the provincial legislature to ensure that it’s available to everyone.
“It isn’t lost on me that we are, in the southern part of the province here on Treaty 4 territory. But it also isn’t lost on me that we have laws here in the park so that it is available for everyone’s enjoyment,” Moe noted.
“As we move forward I would encourage all to ensure we are in that park on Canada Day and other days enjoying the park, and all of the people, in a collaborative nature,” he continued.
The Justice for Our Stolen Children camp was set up to protest racial injustice and the disproportionate number of Indigenous children apprehended by child-welfare workers.
“It isn’t lost on me, the reason or the voices of some of the individuals that are raising concerns that are so very important to them. There are parents, across the street that are raising their voices with respect to the fact that they have lost loved ones,” Moe acknowledged.
“The voices that I think have been raised have been heard by the government of Saskatchewan. We’ve had multiple ministers that have visited the park over the course of the last number of months on various occasions,” he added.
A formal meeting between the province and the camp is scheduled for July 2 in Fort Qu’Appelle at the Treaty 4 Governance Centre in the glass teepee.
The camp started in late February and was dismantled last week before being set up again last Thursday with more teepees.
The Provincial Capital Commission has already called on police to remove the teepees to make way for a Canada Day concert stage and beer gardens.
“The protest that we see across the way is breaking laws here, and those laws should be enforced,” Moe said.
“It will be our expectation that at [the July 2] meeting, or prior to, or after that meeting that those teepees will be removed. If the teepees are removed previous to that, that would be positive as well.” he added.
The police have said they don’t see the need to step in at this point, noting there is a meeting scheduled for Monday between the protesters and the government.
Five government representatives will attend the July 2 meeting in Fort Qu’Appelle, but Moe will not be among them.
The premier said he was already scheduled to be in the northern edges of the province, but did note that he will continue to talk to First Nation leaders across the province.
© 2018 The Canadian Press