Regina city councillor responds to backlash surrounding comments on homelessness

A comment made by Coun. Terina Shaw about homelessness continues to stir controversy, with First Nations organizations calling on the city to take disciplinary action.

“I heard this once by an Indigenous person from RTSIS (Regina Treaty Status Indian Services). She talked about people within the Indigenous culture that don’t want to have homes,” she said during a recent council meeting on addressing homelessness.

Coun. Shaw said she feels her comments have been misrepresented.

“My concern is that we need to address people that don’t want to be in a home. Rapid housing isn’t going to fit and help the people that don’t want to be in homes and if that is an issue and if we have that in our city, if that’s let’s say 10 per cent of the population that’s homeless, then we need to address that,” she said.

The Ward 7 councillor was referring to a conversation with Erica Beaudin from RTSIS. Beaudin also feels she has been misrepresented.

“There is a small group that choose not to be housed or have their own home and I further went on to say, I didn’t stop there, I further went on to say in that conversation however it’s a very small amount of people,” she said.

Beaudin claims she never brought race into that part of the conversation. Her point was that the services are needed for homeless people with varying needs.

Now, First Nation groups are calling on Regina city council to take ownership and disciplinary action.

“We can use this as an opportunity for her and others that need better information; that need a lesson on First Nation culture and protocols. If our people want her to resign, then we support that,” said FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron.

First Nations groups have invited Coun. Shaw to meet with them, including other members of council in hopes that could help clear the air and return the focus to dealing with homelessness.