The Saskatchewan First Act is not about moving towards separation or gratuitous bashing of the federal government – it’s about following the letter of the law. That’s how Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre began her presentation at a Saskatoon Chamber luncheon. She explained that the Act is about asserting and protecting the province’s exclusive jurisdiction over areas that include the exploration for non-renewable natural resources, the development, conservation and management of non-renewable natural and forestry resources, and the operation of sites and facilities for the generation and production of electrical energy.
After the Act was introduced in the fall, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations called this an infringement on First Nations inherent and treaty rights, and later a group of First Nations Chiefs said if necessary, there will be legal action and possibly blockades. Eyre told the business crowd that she spoke with FSIN representatives on Wednesday, and explained that the Act doesn’t change what is already in the province’s jurisdiction.
The Act also creates an Economic Impact Assessment Tribunal that will define, quantify and report on the economic repercussions of federal initiatives on the province and investment in this province. Eyre states that a report would be presented to show the economic impact and then the federal government would have a chance to formulate its own impact assessment. When asked if the economic impact would also include federal funding for green energy solutions, Eyre answered that the tribunal would not be about funding.
It’s about quantifying economic harm from things like the carbon tax.