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Questions over consultations persist as Sask. First Act passes second reading

The dome of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building is seen in this file image. (Brendan Ellis/CTV News) The dome of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building is seen in this file image. (Brendan Ellis/CTV News)
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The Saskatchewan First Act, a bill asserting provincial jurisdiction over natural resources, passed its second reading at the legislature on Monday.

There was support from both parties, although some MLA’s were not in attendance for the vote.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Sask. Party MLA Jeremy Harrison said the second reading is the most important stage of debate in the chamber.

“That is where you debate the principle of the bill, that is where you have a vote on the principle of the bill, and that is where if the bill is voted against, it dies,” he said.

While the NDP support some parts of the bill, they do have some concerns.

“Of course we support standing up for Saskatchewan, especially our rights to our resources,” said NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer. “We have some serious concerns about consultations on this bill.”

Sarauer said she is looking forward to the bill going to committee so they can get some answers.

“That’s when we’re actually going to be able to ask officials the questions that we’re hearing from stakeholders that we want the answers to,” she said.

“We aren’t getting those answers at adjourned [second reading] debates.”

Harrison said the NDP could have raised their issues at second reading but they chose to vote for the bill.

“I’ve actually never heard of a party before, anywhere, saying that, ‘Okay we’re going to support something at second reading, even though we oppose the bill,” he said.

“If they’re going to oppose a bill, they vote against it.”

Sarauer said they are hearing some concerns from stakeholders which they want to be able to talk about.

“That opportunity is with the government, if they’ll allow it, is at the committee level,” she said.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Bronwyn Eyre, introduced the bill into the legislative assembly on Nov. 1, 2022.

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