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Sask. premier calls out federal minister following comments on natural resource rights


The fight over control of natural resources is heating up. Canada's justice minister said he will look at rescinding resources transfer agreements that granted control to the prairie provinces.

It's in response to First Nations claims that the resources weren't Ottawa's to give away.

“Those resources were given to the provinces without ever asking one Indian if it was okay to do that or what benefits would the First Nations expect to receive,” said Chief Don Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said the comment made by federal justice minister David Lametti in regard to the Natural Resource Revenue Transfer Act is an “outrageous statement.”

Moe issued a statement of his own on Twitter Monday morning expressing his disagreement with the minister’s comments where he said Ottawa could “look at” taking control over natural resources away from the provinces.

“For that, I obviously can’t pronounce on that right now but I do commit to looking at that,” Lametti said when asked about directly reviewing the act.

“It won’t be uncontroversial is the only thing I would say with a bit of a smile,” Lametti also said.

Lametti made the comments after concerns were raised by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) about resource development on Treaty Lands.

“This is an outrageous and ill-informed comment, as those agreements and the province’s control over natural resources have been entrenched in the Canadian Constitution since 1930,” Moe said.

Moe goes on to question why the federal justice minister feels he has the authority to unilaterally strip Saskatchewan and other western provinces of their constitutional authority over natural resources.

“The Prime Minister needs to immediately tell his Justice Minister he has no business even speculating about rescinding western province’s constitutional authority to control our natural resources,” Moe said.


The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which is a member of the AFN, said it is calling on the Prime Minister to support Lametti’s comments.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said that First Nations have long made the claim that the provinces do not own natural resources and that the “Natural Resources Transfer Agreement is an illegal document.”

“The acknowledgment from the federal government shows a government that wants true reconciliation. This will enable us to make decisions that are going to benefit all of us and our generations to come. Our ancestors are Treaty people and wanted to ensure that we would be able to make a living and prosper just as much as our white brothers and sisters. The sacred covenant was made with the Crown when the jurisdiction over lands and resources was illegal,” Cameron also said in the release.

Chiefs are urging the federal government to take resource control to the House of Commons for resolution. They also plan to approach the courts.

--With files from CTV News Regina's Wayne Mantyka Top Stories

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