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Teepees erected in Wascana Park in solidarity with Walking With Our Angels

Click to play video: 'Teepees erected in Wascana Park in solidarity with Walking With Our Angels' Teepees erected in Wascana Park in solidarity with Walking With Our Angels
WATCH: More teepees went up outside the Saskatchewan legislature in Regina on Thursday. Prescott Demas helped set up the structures to show support for the Walking With Our Angels Camp while also marking World Suicide Prevention Day. Daniella Ponticelli reports. – Sep 10, 2020

On Thursday, two teepees stood on the east lawn of Wascana Park, outside the Saskatchewan legislative building, in a show of solidarity with the Walking With Our Angels camp.

This comes on World Suicide Prevention Day and served as a gathering place for those looking to remember their loved ones.

Read more: Saskatchewan government tells ‘Walking With Our Angels’ protest camp to leave Wascana Park

“I have family members that have taken their lives…very close family members…and I think today is a day to reflect and remember them,” advocate Prescott Demas said.

A Unifor committee received a one-day permit for up to five teepees on the east lawn, just across the garden from Tristen Durocher’s ceremony Walking With Our Angels.

While the two demonstrations are not connected, Demas said it’s about support.

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“Tristen has been here for almost 40 days, sitting here quietly. A lot of comparison has been made between Justice for Our Stolen Children camp and his camp, but he’s come down with a purpose,” Demas said.

“It’s about Bill 618, the suicide prevention bill, and he’s here doing his fast for 44 days.”

Read more: Hunger strike begins at Sask. legislature following 635-km suicide prevention trek

In mid-June, the Saskatchewan NDP attempted to pass Bill 618, a private member’s bill, to recognize suicide as a health and safety priority.

After failing to get support from Sask. Party MLAs, the bill was voted down by a count of 43-13 on June 19.

While Saskatchewan doesn’t have suicide prevention legislation, the provincial government released a plan in May.

“We’ve always said that plan is a starting document. That is a document we’re going to be basing all of our strategies, all of our plans, all of our discussions going forward,” said Warren Kaeding, Saskatchewan Rural and Remote Health Minister.

On July 31, Durocher walked more than 600 km from Air Ronge to address the high suicide rates in Saskatchewan.

Read more: ‘Political and spiritual’: Judge reserves decision over Saskatchewan teepee camp

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The province is currently seeking an injunction for the removal of the Walking With Our Angels camp, for breaking bylaws and a court decision is pending.

The province is investing $1.2 million in suicide prevention this fiscal year. But critics say it’s still not enough to meet the urgent need to save lives.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan seeks court order to remove teepee from legislature lawn' Saskatchewan seeks court order to remove teepee from legislature lawn
Saskatchewan seeks court order to remove teepee from legislature lawn – Aug 13, 2020

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