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Premier included in plans to remove protest camp, police documents show
Published Friday, January 4, 2019 4:33PM CST
Last Updated Friday, January 4, 2019 6:28PM CST
The Premier of Saskatchewan was included in plans to evict the Justice for Our Stolen Children camp from in front of the legislative building, police documents show.
Documents released by police include dispatch calls, text messages with government officials, hand-written notes and letters from the provincial government.
A hand-written note by police from May 29 says police received “direction” from the government and the premier that they wanted the camp removed from the grounds.
In a statement, the province says any communication with police about the camp was done through the Provincial Capital Commission, the Ministry of Central Services and the Ministry of Justice.
“No such direction was given by the Premier or government on that date, or any date, as the government is not able to give formal direction to police services,” the statement said. “However, the government’s position was that the protest camp was proceeding illegally.”
“The Premier had the same position as the rest of the government – that the protesters were illegally trespassing by camping in the park and therefore should be removed if they were unwilling to leave voluntarily.”
The statement also said the premier and his office didn’t communicate with police directly on the matter.
The premier is only mentioned once in the documents released by police, in the written note. All noted communication is with other government officials.
The camp stood on the legislative grounds for 197 days in response to not-guilty verdicts in high-profile court cases, including the acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the death of Colten Boushie.
The protesters were handed an eviction notice in June, but stayed past the deadline. Police dismantled the camp on June 15, but the tipi at the site remained standing. In a text message included in the documents, police Chief Evan Bray said it was “very disappointing.”
On June 18, several protesters were arrested and held until the tipi was dismantled that night. They were released without charges once the camp was torn down.
The Ministry of Central Services issued three letters to Regina police through the month of June, police documents show. The letter says the Provincial Capital Commission gave notice that the campers were violating trespassing rules by camping overnight, setting up tents and other structures, and burning wood or other combustibles.
In the third letter, sent to police on June 26, the province says the camp, which was rebuilt on June 21, would interfere with Canada Day celebrations at Wascana Park.
A court order eventually told the campers to leave the park after standing for nearly 200 days.