Safety, peaceful resolution focus in talk between RPS' Bray, Durocher
REGINA -- The Chief of the Regina Police Service met with the ‘Walking With Our Angels’ group organizer on Thursday, inside the tipi erected across from the Saskatchewan Legislative Building.
Evan Bray said one of the biggest parts of his job is the ability and desire for conversation.
Bray is pictured with organizer Tristen Durocher, following their meeting on Thrusday.
“We’re really focusing on building a relationship and opening the lines of communication so that we can maintain safety and peace for everyone, and also understand where this is headed,” Bray said.
Durocher walked 635 kilometeres from the Air Ronge cemetery to the steps of the Legislative Building in Regina to protest the government’s refusal to pass a suicide prevention bill. Thursday marks the seventh day of his hunger strike.
He said the message he’s trying to send lawmakers has an impact on members of law enforcement and other first responders.
“All of that trauma, the pain of responding to the scene where somebody has taken their life is carried by our men in uniform, by our men trying to protect us,” Durocher said following a discussion about suicide rates in Regina with Bray.
Durocher hopes legislation can help officers who respond to these calls access the mental health attention they need, to deal with what they’ve witnessed.
Bray told CTV News his conversation with Durocher focused on ensuring safety for members of the demonstration and a peaceful resolution for the issues Durocher is bringing forward.
“The ability to have conversations through this journey, the Walk With Our Angels Journey, we’ve had lots of conversations with the Provincial Capital Commission and representatives from the provincial government, and it’s important for us that we have conversations with those who are bringing this message from the North, and that allows us to have a good understanding,” Bray said.
Durocher said he was informed by provincial officials that an injunction for his removal from park grounds is being sought.
“We’re working with our partners at the PCC to understand that patience and dialogue and communication is really the focus of what's going on right now,” Bray said.
The group erected a tipi at Wascana Park. Around it are photographs of individuals who died as a result fo suicide.
Minister of Rural and Remote Health Warren Kaeding and Minister of First Nations, Métis, and Northern Affairs Lori Carr met with Durocher on Wednesday.
In an emailed statement regarding the meeting, the provincial government said it is working to introduce the “Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan.”
“Pillars for Life recognizes that solutions must be community driven and consider local history, economic and social factors,” the email read.
The province will provide $1.2 million in new funding for the program.
Durocher is not convinced that the plan is enough.
“What we have is a list of promises so vague that they’re essentially meaningless, and that there is no accountability for,” he said. “[The government] doesn’t want to legislate any form of accountability for themselves.”
He said all people in Saskatchewan deserve better from their government, not just Indigenous people.