The Provincial Capital Commission says it is being forced to move some of its Canada Day activities at Regina’s Wascana Park because of an ongoing Indigenous protest there.
Several teepees have been erected since protesters with the Justice for Our Stolen Children camp were evicted last week.
In a release, the Canada Day Committee says it will be moving all activities from the west lawn to the north side of Wascana Lake on Canada Day. Western Canada’s Strongman Competition, the 21-gun salute and the Plywood Cup will remain on the south side of the lake.
The commission says it has officially requested that the Regina Police Service enforce the law and remove the structures on three separate occasions.
Commission executive director Carrie Ross is again asking Regina police to remove the camp.
“It is disappointing that last minute changes are necessary to an event that requires year-round planning because of an unpermitted and illegal protest,” she said in the release.
Regina police Chief Evan Bray says “right now, our focus is community safety. We don’t feel a police response at this point especially knowing that there is a meeting and a discussion planned in under a week from now that a police response would do anything to help that. And so, we assess it multiple times a day. We make sure that there’s no risk to the public, which at this point we don’t feel there is; and so our response right now is to let that discussion happen and ultimately hope for a peaceful resolution,” Bray said. “Obviously we’ve been working closely with the Provincial Government on this, with the Provincial Capital Commission and with the group of protesters and now with First Nation leaders as well. So knowing that dialogue is happening and knowing that there is, right now, no risk to the community – this is a very peaceful protest that is happening – it’s our goal to maintain the peace, make sure that our community stays safe, allow those conversations to happen and then we’re very hopeful and optimistic for a resolution.”
The protesters are scheduled to meet with several cabinet ministers on Tuesday.
(PHOTO: Justice for Our Stolen Children camp at Wascana Park. Dan Jones.)