July 12, 2018 5:46 pm

Premier Moe’s stance remains firm as protest camp gains momentum

More than a dozen teepees stand in Wascana Park as the Justice for Our Stolen Children camp.

Taryn Snell / Global News
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Saskatchewan’s premier says he has no plans to visit a protest camp that has been set up across from the legislature for almost five months.

“I don’t think I’ve visited any protest that has been in front of the legislature and I won’t be visiting this camp,” Moe said Thursday.

The Justice for Our Stolen Children camp was started to protest racial injustice and the disproportionate number of Indigenous children apprehended by child-welfare workers.

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The provincial government and the protesters met on July 2 and campers want another meeting. Moe said that the government doesn’t plan on meeting with the protesters “at this time.”

Protester Robyn Pitawanakwat said Wednesday that campers need to see a number of changes to Child and Family Services before they will leave. They are also looking for updates to the police and coroner’s act, which Pitawanakwat said is old.

READ MORE: Indigenous protest camp staying put at Saskatchewan legislature after meeting with ministers

“We want to see change. We want to see that families are being reunified,” Pitawanakwat said.

“We want to see that cases that have previously been not ever investigated or investigated poorly … we want to see a more robust investigation _ definitely into Haven Dubois’s death.”

Dubois died in 2015 from what was ruled an accidental drowning although his mother, Richelle Dubois, wasn’t satisfied with a coroner’s report into the 14-year-old’s death.

The campers have provided the government with a letter outlining the issues they want addressed. They say they are expecting a response shortly.

READ MORE: City of Saskatoon supports peaceful Indigenous protest camp in Victoria Park

Camps such as the one in Regina have started to appear elsewhere in cities such as Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

“The provincial government definitely has a lot of work to do and it isn’t just work that they can do directly with the (Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations) or tribal councils,” Pitawanakwat said. “It has to be a little bit more broad-reaching than that.”

Opposition NDP critic Carla Beck said she’s not sure what to think about Moe not visiting the camp.

“I mean if we really want to talk about reconciliation, that starts with respectful relationships,” Beck said.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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