Saskatchewan

Judge moves hearing about teepee on legislature lawn to 9 days before man plans to leave

The Saskatchewan government is seeking a court order to have a young man's teepee removed from the lawn of the provincial legislature. Now, they're going to have to wait. 

Sask. gov't seeking court order to have Tristen Durocher's teepee removed

The government is taking matters to court when it comes to Tristen Durocher's camp, set up on the legislature grounds. (Declan Finn/CBC)

The Saskatchewan government is seeking a court order to have a young man's teepee removed from the lawn of the provincial legislature. Now, it is going to have to wait. 

A judge at Court of Queen's Bench in Regina has pushed Tristen Durocher's hearing to Sept. 4. 

Durocher is camping at Wascana Park in a political action, calling on the province to address the high suicide rates in the north. Durocher has previously told CBC he plans to finish his 44-day tea fast on Sept. 13 and leave the park that same day.

In court on Thursday afternoon, Durocher's lawyer Eleanore Sunchild asked for more time to get her case together, while provincial lawyers were asking for the matter to be dealt with sooner. 

More than two dozen supporters stood outside, although Durocher didn't attend court in favour of remaining at the camp. 

Tristen Durocher, 24, is calling on the Saskatchewan government to improve its response to the province's high rates of suicide. He has set up camp on the lawn in front of the legislative building and is on a 44-day tea fast. (Germain Wilson/CBC)

The 24-year-old walked more than 600 kilometres from northern Saskatchewan to Regina.

Local activist Florence Stratton said his call for justice has galvanized people. 

"He's put his life and his time on the line and his call for justice. I will follow it as far as I can," Stratton said. 

Durocher has said grieving families have been coming to the site.

Court documents filed by the province say the man doesn't have a permit and that overnight camping and fires are prohibited in the park.

The documents say Durocher has been made aware of the rules and Regina police won't enforce them without a court order.

In its application, the government says the camp poses "public health and safety risks" and those who are there "have no intention of abiding by the reasonable limitations on the use of public space."

It's the second time in two years that the government has gone to court to get Indigenous protesters and teepees off that section of lawn.

In 2018, a group set up what it called the Justice For Our Stolen Children camp after acquittals in the high-profile deaths of Indigenous youth Colten Boushie in Saskatchewan and Tina Fontaine in Manitoba.

Protesters spent months there calling attention to racial injustice and the high number of Indigenous children in care, until a judge ordered the camp dismantled.

With files from CBC News

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