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Saskatchewan First Act bill passed following final reading inside Legislature


The province passed The Saskatchewan First Act, also known as Bill 88, following its third and final reading in the Legislature on Thursday.

Over 100 First Nations and Métis leaders watched from the public gallery as the government passed the act. They rose to their feet in silent protest as the speaker called for a count of MLAs opposed to the bill.

The legislation is intended to assert provincial government control over resources in the province. The Indigenous leaders say they weren't consulted and the bill infringes on treaty and Métis rights.

“Our assembly was clear and unanimous on rejecting the Sask. First Act because of, it infringes upon our section 35 rights as Metis people in this province,” Michelle LeClair, vice-president of Metis Saskatchewan said.

“We have 80,000 Métis people in this province and their rights are being disrespected.”

Premier Scott Moe said the act would protect all Saskatchewan people’s opportunity to grow.

“This is very indicative of the ongoing conversation that has to happen around Bill 88 protecting our ability to provide that growth,” he said.

“This bill is not a division between that relationship and protecting treaty rights, this is a bill that is protecting our opportunity in this province from federal infringement.”

First Nations leaders point to a current auction of Crown land as an example of their rights not being respected.

“It’s abrupt and it has continued to cause disruptions within our own communities, especially where we are trying to manage lands,” said Rod Belanger, member of Ochapowace Chicksaw First Nation.

The act was introduced into the legislative assembly last fall.

The act will go to the Lt. Governor for royal assent but will likely face legal challenges. The Federation of Sovreign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) says it will go to court because the bill infringes on inherent treaty rights. Top Stories

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