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Premier's dinner draws protesters outside and inside the Queensbury Centre
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, June 1, 2017 11:33AM CST
Last Updated Thursday, June 1, 2017 10:18PM CST
A protestor was escorted out of the Premier’s dinner Thursday night after yelling “stop the cuts” when Brad Wall took the stage.
“There’s been tens of thousands of people who have been mobilizing and demonstrating against these cuts and we haven’t seen any movement from the government,” said Chelsea Flook. “We saw the rollback of the library cut but there’s a lot more on the table that needs to be revisited, especially given that they just gave all these guys in there a corporate tax break.”
Chelsea Flook said she didn’t buy a ticket for the dinner, “I just wondered in.”
Flook was escorted off the property by members of the Regina Police Service Thursday night.
Before the dinner, many Saskatchewan residents who are unhappy with cuts made in the provincial budget gathered outside the Queensbury Centre. Some say there's still time for the government to reverse those decisions.
"We believe that continued pressure on the government, even after they're done sitting in the legislature, but continued pressure over the summer and into the fall, where people continue to register their concerns about these cuts is important," Flook said Thursday.
"There's been rallies and petitions and phone calls... and we don't believe that just because they haven't been rolled back yet, that it's impossible."
The March budget included funding cuts to schools, universities, libraries, a hearing aid program, funerals for low income people and shut down the provincial bus company, STC.
But Flook notes that the decision to cut library funding was reversed because of public pressure.
A similar rally last month outside the annual premier's dinner in Saskatoon drew about 350 people and got heated when some demonstrators climbed on cars and yelled at those attending the dinner.
Several drivers attempted to force their way through the crowd, with angry yelling matches breaking out after protesters were bumped by the cars.
Protesters also said they objected to supporters being able to buy access to the premier.
The $250-a-plate event is sponsored by the Saskatchewan Party and is a fundraiser for the party.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has repeatedly said that the budget would not be a popular budget and that people would express their dissent. He said after the Saskatoon demonstration that the protests should be encouraged in a free society.
Regina police said in a statement emailed to media Thursday that officers have a plan to protect everyone involved.
"We recognize that there are Saskatchewan citizens who are still very emotional about the recent provincial budget and they have a message they want to convey to elected leaders. We will uphold their rights to peaceful protest," said the police statement.
"We also uphold the rights of attendees to the premier's dinner ... to freely attend those events."
"Our role is to prevent any breach of the peace. To that end, we will have a police presence at Evraz Place this evening and we strongly encourage -- and expect -- people to be respectful of each other's rights," the statement added.