Except for branches of the League for Democratic Rights in Regina, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan had virtually no rights associations before 1968. At that time, the Saskatchewan Association for Human Rights (SAHR) was formed as a direct result of celebrations surrounding International Year for Human Rights in Saskatoon. Its founding president was Reverend G.E. Hobson, and its executive secretary was John D. Statychuk, a leading figure in the Saskatchewan Ukrainian community who worked for the provincial wheat pool. A co-founder of the Canadian Federation of Civil Liberties and Human Rights Associations, Statychuk also helped recruit D.A. Schmeiser, a well-known Canadian legal scholar, to the SAHR board of directors. By 1972, the group had seventy-two members. It formed three chapters during the 1970s, in Regina, Moose Jaw, and Esterhazy, none of which persisted. Like many rights associations of its day, it concentrated on securing a provincial Human Rights Commission with a human rights act, working closely with the government in preparing the legislation and lobbying successfully for significant amendments. According to the Regina Leader Post, the “government has bowed to pressure from the Saskatchewan Association for Human Rights and will change its proposed human rights commission legislation to allow the commission to enforce its own decisions and to allow persons affected the right of appeal.”
The only other Saskatchewan rights organization to emerge during this period was the Regina Civil Liberties Association, a branch of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Led by John Beke, it was created in 1970, remained active until 1980, and consisted mostly of university professors, unionists, and lawyers. It set up several committees to study various issues in the province, including the status of inmates of public health institutions and prisons, the rights of juveniles, and the administration of justice.
Regina Civil Liberties Association
Saskatchewan Association for Human Rights (chapters in Moose Jaw and Esterhazy)
Territories Fair Practices Committee (a.k.a. Yukon Human Rights Association)
Northwest Territories Human Rights Association
Clément, Dominique. Canada’s Rights Revolution: Social Movements and Social Change, 1937-82. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008.