Saskatchewan

Regina mall singers make a point about 'unwelcome guests' law

A group of people donned holiday garb and used a traditional Christmas carol to show their disagreement with the application of a law regarding unwelcome guests.

Group says law leads to potential stereotyping by business owners

Mall singers down on 'unwelcome guest' law

7 years ago
Duration 1:48
A group of people gathered to sing at a Regina mall, to make a point about a law concerning unwanted guests.
A group of people used a Christmas carol to express their disagreement over a law police use to deal with unwelcome guests in places that are open to the public. (CBC)
A group of people donned holiday garb and used a traditional Christmas carol to show their disagreement with the application of a law regarding unwelcome guests.

Police in Regina have turned to the law as a means of responding to what they describe as unruly behaviour in places like shopping malls and other businesses open to the public.

But that approach has provoked a response from the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism (SCAR). Members composed a song called "12 Days of Unwanted Guests," and performed it in the food court area of the downtown Cornwall Centre Saturday afternoon.

The group said the police move, in their view, can lead to racial profiling.

"When there's an actual crime that's committed there is protection, but the reality is that this allows way too wide a parameter for police and others to push poor people out of the way," Peter Gilmer, from the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry, said.

Florence Stratton, who also expressed concerns about the law, noted Regina police are unclear about how they're using the unwelcome guest law.

"Nowhere in the RPS documents on the Unwanted Guest Initiative is it specified exactly what activities can give rise to a ban," Stratton said. "This allows business owners to issue bans on an arbitrary basis, leaving room for stereotypes and the targeting of racialized and marginalized people. Moreover, a ban cannot be appealed."

Bob Hughes, from the coalition, said he shares Stratton's concerns and the singing event was mounted to raise awareness of the issue.

"SCAR is concerned about the impact this initiative will have on marginalized residents of Regina," Hughes said.

now