Protesters for the Justice for Our Stolen Children camp are taking the provincial government to court, challenging the constitutionality of the eviction of the camp, including the removal of the teepee and sacred fire and the arrest of six protesters.

“On June 18, members of the Regina Police Service entered camp. They dismantled it and arrested individuals on the charge of obstruction of justice. In our position that upsets these members Constitutional rights. Today in court, we filed an application, challenging the constitutionality of those actions,” said protester lawyer Dan LeBlanc.

In court documents, the protesters claim the decision to arrest the six people and dismantle the camp unjustifiably interfered with the right to free expression and that the detention was another Charter violation for the protesters to be free from arbitrary detention or imprisonment.

“We’ve raised two main grounds. The first is under section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We say these people have the right to be here and express themselves. And we say that right is more important than the government’s interest in a green lawn,” LeBlanc said.

Yet the government says it does respect peaceful protests at Wascana Park.

“The Government of Saskatchewan respects everyone’s right to peaceful protest. While protests at the Saskatchewan Legislature are permitted, they must follow the Provincial Capital Commission guidelines. The Provincial Capital Commission Act states that overnight camping, erecting tents or structures, burning wood or combustibles and erecting signage are not allowed in Wascana Park. Written notice of these rules was provided to the camp on March 1, the day after the camp was set up,” stated Cabinet Communications Director Jim Billington.

LeBlanc says the protesters are not seeking monetary compensation.

“In our application, we don’t make claims for damages or monetary compensation of any sort. The campers are not seeking to get money they are seeking to have their rights upheld and their voices heard,” LeBlanc explained.

The application will be heard in Regina at the Court of Queen’s Bench August 23.

(PHOTO: Justice for Our Stolen Children Camp at Regina’s Wascana Park. Photo by Dan Jones.)