What would McGyver do if he lacked a megaphone and needed to get the word out? Why he would hire Garrett Morris, President of the New York City School for the Hard of Hearing to help him. That’s exactly what Occupy Regina did in the City Hall plaza to reach out to the cold huddled masses. They formed a chain of Garrett Morris’s by shouting out the speech as it was spoken.
Jim Elliot spoke first and most of what he said was echoed by the other speakers. Suffice to say they asked not to be evicted, asked for the safe return of their portable toilet, and the need for electrical power.
Jim began by quoting the Mayor of Calgary who had stated yesterday, “My hands are tied. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms which backstops political expression, supersedes the bylaw infraction that prohibits camping and erecting tents in public parks.”
This sentiment was also echoed throughout the afternoon and is being used as a precedent and example of why Occupy Regina should still be allowed to stay their eviction. Who woulda thunk words of wisdom would migrate east from Calgary?
“You cannot evict an idea. The Occupy Regina movement and this movement goes beyond the city park. It is in the hearts and minds of people who are suffering everywhere and around the world. We will not stop and nor will we bend. We will continue this movement for as long as people suffer…” promised activist Ras Munyaga.
After a few more emotional speakers they all marched indoors to present their permit to Mayor Pat Fiacco directly. Scrawled on the top border of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom were, “We are not Camping” and on the bottom border, “This is our permit” emblazoned in scarlet.
The Human Megaphone was stymied at the door by security guards. Canadians are so polite. “We’re willing to wait for him”. “How do we get to see him?” “Is he coming down?”
They all signed their names to their “permit” and hunkered down for the long haul for an audience with The Mayor.
I left as they were ordering pizza. Save me a slice.
A MESSAGE TO OUR READERS The coronavirus pandemic is a moment of reckoning for our community. We’re all hurting. It’s no different at Prairie Dog, where COVID-19 has wiped out advertisements for events, businesses and restaurants as Regina and Saskatchewan hunker down in quarantine. As an ad-supported newspaper already struggling in a destabilized media landscape, this is devastating. We’re hoping you, our loyal readers, can help fill in the gap so Prairie Dog can not only continue to exist but even expand our coverage — both in print and online. Please consider donating, either one-time or, even better, on a monthly basis.
We believe Prairie Dog's unique voice is needed, now more than ever. For 27 years, this newspaper has been a critical part of Regina’s social, cultural and democratic infrastructure. Don’t let us fade away. There’s only one Prairie Dog. If it’s destroyed, it’s never coming back.