Reported as: 2018 SKQB 241
Docket Number: QB18232 , QBG 2045/18|QBG 2071/18
Court: Court of Queen's Bench
- Constitutional Law � Charter of Rights, Section 2(b), Section 9
Digest: The applicants, the Government of Saskatchewan and the Provincial Capital Commission, sought an order compelling the respondents, individuals involved in a protest entitled �Justice for our Stolen Children� and who occupied a portion of the grounds of the Wascana Centre Park, adjacent to the Legislature, to vacate, remove their belongings and cease their unlawful use of the land unless a permit or authorization was first obtained in accordance with the Commission�s bylaws. If the respondents failed to comply, the applicants sought authorization to dismantle the camp with police assistance and remove the protesters and their belongings. Wascana is property of the Government and the Commission takes care of it and passes bylaws to regulate its use. The Commission permits events to be held in the park through an application. In February 2018, the respondent protesters began a round-the-clock occupation of a section of Wascana. They erected tipis and other structures and burned a continuous fire without having obtained a permit from the Commission. During that month the applicants served an eviction notice on the respondents, without success, and then in June 2018, the Government issued a trespass notice pursuant to s. 3(1)(d) of The Trespass to Property Act that was also ignored. The Government then dismantled the camp and, during the process, the Regina police arrested and detained six protesters for four hours. The arrests were made for obstruction because the individuals refused to vacate the tipi, lashed themselves to the poles, and added logs to the fire. The detention was deemed necessary until the tipi could be removed because the protesters threatened to return immediately and demanded that the police dismantle the tipi in a culturally appropriate manner and to allow the sacred fire to expire rather than being extinguished. As soon as they were released, the protesters reconstituted the camp. The applicants then applied for and obtained leave to commence an action under The Recovery of Possession of Land Act (RPLA), but discontinued the action while talks were held with the protesters. The respondents brought an originating application in July 2018 that sought a declaration that their ss. 2(b) and 9 Charter rights had been unjustifiably infringed. They argued that s. 3 of the RPLA and certain provisions in the Commission�s bylaws requiring prior approval for the erection of structures, prohibiting burning fires or overnight lodging were unconstitutional, relying upon their right to freedom of expression under s. 2(b) of the Charter. They also claimed that their s. 9 Charter rights had been violated by the police when...