Moe firm as teepee protest grows

He says no fur­ther talks planned with sup­port­ers of jus­tice camp

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - FRONT PAGE - D.C. FRASER dfraser@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/dcfraser

REGINA Premier Scott Moe says his gov­ern­ment will not be meet­ing again with mem­bers of the Jus­tice for Our Stolen Chil­dren camp and once again called for the teepees mark­ing the protest to be taken down.

The protest camp, marked now by 13 teepees lo­cated across the park­ing lot from the Leg­isla­tive Build­ing in Regina, was set up in Fe­bru­ary af­ter two men were ac­quit­ted of charges in the deaths of two young In­dige­nous peo­ple, Colten Boushie in Saskatchewan and Tina Fon­taine in Man­i­toba.

Sup­port­ers say the goal has been to start a con­ver­sa­tion with the provin­cial gov­ern­ment to ad­dress is­sues like the over-rep­re­sen­ta­tion of In­dige­nous chil­dren in the fos­ter-care sys­tem and in­equal­ity in the jus­tice sys­tem.

In a meet­ing be­tween camp mem­bers and mem­bers of Moe’s cab­i­net on July 2 in Fort Qu’ap­pelle, the pro­test­ers out­lined a list of ac­tion­able items — many of which were re­lated to child wel­fare and the jus­tice sys­tem — for the prov­ince to take ac­tion on.

And while Moe says his gov­ern­ment will be re­spond­ing to the camp, he does not see an­other meet­ing tak­ing place, de­spite calls from the pro­test­ers to do just that.

“We would also ask that, in good faith, the in­di­vid­u­als across the way un­der­stand that they are in vi­o­la­tion of by­laws and start to re­move some of the struc­tures that they have there,” said Moe.

“We will con­tinue to work with them and others, lead­er­ship across the prov­ince as we have, and there are a num­ber of com­ments that will be pro­vided very shortly with re­spect to their re­quests that they had, but as far as or­ga­niz­ing an­other meet­ing with the in­di­vid­u­als, not at this time.”

With teepees now go­ing up in other Cana­dian ci­ties, in­clud­ing Saska­toon, Moe said his gov­ern­ment has han­dled the Jus­tice for Our Stolen Chil­dren camp in an “en­gag­ing fash­ion” be­cause mem­bers of his cab­i­net at­tempted to, and now have, co-or­di­nated a meet­ing with them.

“And those griev­ances were raised with re­spect to the meet­ing that we had, and we’ll be pro­vid­ing com­ment to them with re­spect to what we’re do­ing and we’ll con­tinue to en­gage,” he said.

Moe also main­tained his gov­ern­ment has a “strong re­la­tion­ship” with First Na­tions lead­ers and com­mu­ni­ties across the prov­ince.

Last week, Fed­er­a­tion of Sov­er­eign In­dige­nous Na­tions Chief Bobby Cameron pledged his sup­port to the camp and called on Moe’s gov­ern­ment to con­tinue to lis­ten to all First Na­tions voices.

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