Although the province has won its recent battle to force the closure of the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop near Pipestone, we find it curious that the government has not yet moved to occupy the building.
As the Sun reported yesterday, it has been nearly four weeks since Queen’s Bench Justice Brenda Keyser endorsed a motion that stated Frank Brown, Dakota Plains Chief Orville Smoke and band member Garth Blacksmith were operating the smoke shop contrary to an injunction ordered on May 30 of this year. Under Keyser’s ruling, the province was supposed to take immediate possession of the smoke shop following her Nov. 5 order.
But that hasn’t happened yet. Instead, Brown ordered the smoke shop closed earlier this month, while he works with his U.S.-based lawyers to force the province to produce evidence that it has jurisdiction over the non-treaty Dakota. The building itself remains in Dakota hands.
Certainly the court’s injunction, and Manitoba Attorney General Andrew Swan’s motion against the smoke shop, was effective — the smoke shop is closed, for the time being. But it’s a Pyrrhic victory at best, as Brown has vowed to reopen the smoke shop, if necessary, and further irritate the provincial government until it concedes jurisdiction, or asks the federal government to intervene and settle the matter.
Frankly, we’re surprised the province hasn’t called in the feds already. After all, it’s not Manitoba Brown’s targeting, it’s Canada.