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Conflict And Struggle

Bad Business
[Dominion Day Riots]

Regina Leader Post
July 2, 1935. p.4

The public will wish to be possessed of all the facts in connection with Monday night's rioting in Regina before coming to a decision as to the way the situation was precipitated and handled.

According to the statement of Premier Gardiner a delegation from the strikers was in conference wit the Saskatchewan Cabinet on Monday afternoon, well on toward 6 o'clock and negotiations were under way through which the strikers might have left Saskatchewan peaceably. The negotiations were to have been resumed on Tuesday morning. Shortly after 8 o'clock p.m. however, the police moved on the meeting in Market square to make arrests, according to the statement of the head of the Mounted Police. Violence ensued, followed by the disastrous rioting that swept through the streets of the city.

From what is known, the Mounted Police acted on the word of the authorities at Ottawa. Certainly they did, not act on the authority of the Provincial Government, which under the constitution, has in the past been regarded as the body charged with the administration of justice in Saskatchewan. Apparently the City of Regina police acted on instructions from the Mounted Police.

There should be a complete statement from the City of Regina as to City of Regina police joining in an action with Mounted Police. Who issued the authority on the part of the city?

The fact is, of course, that for more than two weeks now a vast area of the administration of justice in Saskatchewan has been taken over by the Dominion Government, acting under extraordinary powers which it must believe itself to possess.

The Saskatchewan Government has had no control over its police power. The Mounted Police in Saskatchewan are supposed to act under the authority of the Saskatchewan Government by virtue of an agreement made with the Dominion Government for the policing of the province. The Mounted Police, under the contract, were to do the work, taking their orders from the Saskatchewan Government.

Since the arrival of the B.C. camp strikers in Saskatchewan, the Dominion Government has taken over all police authority usurping the authority the Saskatchewan Government believed it possessed.

The Dominion Government, acting presumably under section 98 of the Criminal Code and bolstered with some extra authority from an order-in-council which Prime Minister Bennett promulated, has now given Saskatchewan three weeks of long distance administration of justice. The results are not gratifying.

It is now obvious that the whole situation with respect to administration of justice as between the Dominion and provincial authorities will be clarified. If the administration of justice in Saskatchewan is to pass into the hands of Ottawa the people of Saskatchewan should know it at once.

In the meantime, a bad situation exsist. Citizens have had a generous taste of what mob law might mean. Citizens are called upon to observe law and order. Great harm has already been done but it is not yet too late to strive for a peaceable solution of a problem that affects every citizen of Canada.