Sask. government says Indigenous camp near legislature will 'disrupt' Canada Day events
Camp founder Prescott Demas says he has no plans to pack up
The province has issued an eviction notice to the Justice for our Stolen Children Camp that is set up in Wascana Park across from the Saskatchewan Legislature building.
The Provincial Capital Commission issued a notice to the group — in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice and Regina Police Service — that states the group must cease their activities under the Trespassing Act.
The notice says the tents, the teepee and all other property must be removed by 5:00 p.m. CST Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, the camp had been set up for 98 days.
"But as winter turns to spring and spring turns to summer, they have events planned here. Now that pushes (them) to get us out of here."
The government first issued notice on the first day of the camp, said Richard Murray, who is deputy minister of Central Services.
"To be honest with you, you know, we've kind of looked the other way for the last close to 100 days," he said.
Government cites Canada Day concerns
Murray said the government has acted now because of upcoming events and the security team scheduled to work Canada Day raised concerns.
There are several activities like a pancake breakfast, a human flag and beer gardens planned for July 1, so the camp's presence is "extremely disruptive to Canada Day events and you know, we're just not looking forward to having to move an event that frankly fills the entire park."
"It's disruptive. We're worried about security of everyone in the park on Canada Day and that's probably an unneeded disruption there."
Murray spoke with reporters prior to the 5 p.m. deadline and said an "appropriate course of action" would be decided come 5 p.m. should the group remain on the grounds.
Demas said there was an attempt made to meet with government last week but officials declined to meet in the teepee.
"The teepee in our minds is an illegal activity in the park."
Murray said he suggested meeting at the Wascana Place as a "neutral location" because it wasn't the Legislature Building.
The group could face criminal charges under the Trespassing Act if they don't, Murray said.
Demas said he doesn't know how long the camp will stick around and is calling on the government to listen to what the group is saying.
"This is all stolen land. That's how I feel about it," Demas said.