Saskatchewan won’t appeal ruling that was in favour of Indigenous teepee protest

REGINA — Saskatchewan will not appeal a court ruling that was in favour of an Indigenous protest camp set up on the legislature’s lawn.

The province went to court last month seeking an order to remove 24-year-old Tristen Durocher and his teepee from Wascana Park.

The Metis man arrived there after walking more than 600 kilometres from northern Saskatchewan to highlight the region’s high suicide rate and went on a ceremonial fast to call for action.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Graeme Mitchell ruled that Durocher could complete his protest, and found his actions to be constitutionally protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Durocher took down the teepee a few days after the ruling saying his 44-day vigil was complete.

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice confirmed Friday there would not be an appeal and said no additional information would be provided because the province is in the middle of an election campaign.

Mitchell’s ruling struck down bylaws that restricted how the park can be used and gave the Provincial Capital Commission six months to craft new bylaws.

Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe had said the decision to appeal or not was the commission’s to make.

Moe has said he would be open to coming up with new rules if his party forms government again after the Oct. 26 provincial election.

“The ruling that I’d read was to relook at some of the bylaws in the province to ensure that they are accommodating for all in the province,” he said at a campaign stop in Regina last week.

“That’s a fair comment to make and that’s something that, if we form government again, I don’t think we would shy away from looking at the bylaws throughout the park.”

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