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Sask. premier says CMHO deserves apology for racist remarks at health order protest

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe took to Twitter Sunday morning, posting that the comments "were beneath contempt.". Twitter / Screenshot

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the provincial chief medical health officer deserves an apology from the person who made degrading racist remarks at a rally opposing public health orders.

Moe, speaking on the Roy Green Show Sunday afternoon, said the comments against Dr. Saqib Shahab were uncalled for.

“He’s working literally 20 hours a day in the best interests of not only himself and his own family, but in the interest of all of the people that he serves and he certainly doesn’t deserve that kind of treatment,” Moe told the radio host. “I think there’s an apology that should be warranted with respect to the individual who said those words.”

A video from an anti-COVID restriction rally shows a crowd of people in front of the legislative building gathered Saturday afternoon as one of the speakers delivered an expletive-laden speech. The man started by saying, “I have a message for Scott Moe and what’s that, what’s that public health minister’s name…”

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The speaker went on to intentionally mispronounce Dr. Saqib Shahab’s last name and then made other racist comments that Global News has decided not to publish. 

Read more: More Canadians say racism is a ‘serious problem’ today than 1 year ago: Ipsos poll

The vast majority of people who have engaged on social media have condemned the commentary.

Twitter user @JasonRister, described it as “absolutely despicable.”

Another one, @rochelleknox, wrote: “Racism. It’s not ‘over there.’ It’s here. It’s not ‘them.’ It’s us. But it doesn’t have to be.”

Read more: Regina police issue two ‘Freedom Rally’ organizers $2,800 fines

Click to play video: 'Regina police issue two ‘Freedom Rally’ organizers $2,800 fines' Regina police issue two ‘Freedom Rally’ organizers $2,800 fines
Regina police issue two ‘Freedom Rally’ organizers $2,800 fines – Dec 12, 2020

Prior to his radio interview, Moe called the comments “beneath contempt” in a tweet Sunday morning.

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The premier, in his tweet, shared a video of the province’s former health minister, Jim Reiter, praising Shahab. Moe appealed to people to circulate it instead.

“Dr. Shahab chose Saskatchewan as his home and Saskatchewan chose Dr. Shahab as our doctor,” Reiter says in Moe’s video.

“We are confident that under the direction of Dr. Shahab, we will make it through.”

Read more: Canucks anthem singer Mark Donnelly axed for appearance at anti-mask rally

The Regina Police Service issued two organizers of Saturday’s event each $2,800 fines for violating public health orders.

Current regulations limit outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 30 people. Hundreds attended the rally.

With the coronavirus caseload continuing to surge, the premier has said last week that more restrictions to try to bring it under control could be on the way this week.

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