Saskatchewan’s Cabinet Shuffle Will Effect First Nations Relations

by NationTalk on May 26, 20121560 Views

Saskatchewan’s Cabinet Shuffle Will Effect First Nations Relations

May 25, 2012, Traditional territory of Treaty No.6 (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)… If the Province of Saskatchewan has an interest in enhancing the participation of First Nations communities, it wasn’t demonstrated in the selection of the new Minister of Government Relations and Minister responsible for First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs. “This provincial government’s decision to change the current Minister of First Nations Métis Relations was ill advised given the complex issues with our Government to Government negotiations,” said Vice Chief Morley Watson. Consistency is essential for “good faith” negotiations.

The new Minister, Jim Reiter, represents a Constituency which has no First Nations communities. Rosetown – Elrose is positioned in the southern portion of the province. Whether or not the new Minister can effectively manage the Ministry of First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs has yet to be seen.

“The cabinet shuffle and the restructuring of Government are intended to reflect a “growth agenda,” yet the new structure fails to include the First Nations peoples that have five Treaty territories within the Province of Saskatchewan. Noticeably also, is the new name change of the Ministry that now includes Northern Affairs,” said Vice Chief Watson.

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) through the new Ministry of the Economy would like to take part in the “economic functions of the government,” which include; Innovation Saskatchewan, Employment, Trade, Immigration, etc. The Brad Wall government obviously plans to focus heavily on immigration and has rightfully included it as an important economic function in and among the new Ministry, though it is the opinion of the Federation that First Nations peoples must be recognized as major economic partners in any growth agenda.

“Here at the Federation we are committed to continue working with the Provincial Government on all partnerships and arrangements that provide a benefit to our member Nations. At the same time, this Government must commit to work with First Nations in active and innovative ways to foster greater involvement. Although, the information regarding the details of the new Ministry does not specifically mention the involvement of First Nations interests, our Indigenous Governments will play a major role in facilitating our participation within our traditional Treaty territories of the Saskatchewan boundaries,” concluded Chief Watson.

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of Treaty, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.

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www.fsin.com
For more information, please contact:

Nicole Robertson, Communications Advisor
403) 616-4999
nicole.robertson[at]telus.net

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