NDP: Cell coverage essential in paving path towards reconciliation

REGINA - Today, Critic for First Nations and Métis Relations Betty Nippi-Albright and Critic for Sasktel Trent Wotherspoon were joined by leaders from Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation, the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, and the Federation of Sovereign First Nations to call attention to the complete lack of cell coverage in their communities.

Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation– a community of nearly 1000, located near Loon Lake - does not have reliable cellular connectivity. Despite offers to work with government and contribute resources, the problem persists, leaving community members at risk.

“The Sask. Party must stop giving lip service to reconciliation. Indigenous students, families and businesses have the same needs as others across the province, yet in 2022, many communities still find themselves without equal access to reliable cell service,” said Nippi-Albright. “In a province as wealthy as Saskatchewan, we should all have access to cell coverage, especially for things like calling for help in an emergency.”

Nippi-Albright noted that connectivity to cell and internet service continues to be a particular problem in Indigenous and northern communities. “Unlike other provinces, we have a unique opportunity. Instead of serving a shareholder’s bottom line, SaskTel is there to serve the people of Saskatchewan — all the people of Saskatchewan.” 

“I’ve been holding the Minister for Sasktel’s feet to the fire to make connectivity a priority in rural, remote and northern Saskatchewan”, said Wotherspoon. “The Sask. Party government needs to wake up and start working with First Nations like Ministikwan to ensure they have an essential connection to something as simple as a cell phone. It’s 2022.”

Nippi-Albright and Wotherspoon called for the Sask. Party government to work with Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation to establish consistent and safe cell phone coverage. They also called on the Minister to bypass pulling a dividend from Sasktel in this year’s budget so it can invest in making cell and internet connectivity happen all across Saskatchewan.

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