Nippi-Albright: Indigenous consultation needed on new PCC bylaws

REGINA – Today, the Official Opposition called on the Sask. Party government and the Provincial Capital Commission to immediately consult with Indigenous leadership on the redevelopment of the PCC bylaws, which were struck down as unconstitutional by the Court of Queen’s Bench this past summer. 

“What I find truly remarkable is how this government can be told the bylaws they were enforcing on the legislature grounds were unconstitutional and then not consult with any Indigenous partners on their redevelopment,” said Nippi-Albright, Official Opposition Critic for Truth and Reconciliation, First Nations and Métis Relations. “This is a complete disregard of the government’s own First Nation and Métis Consultation Policy Framework. There is a legal duty to consult when decisions or actions could have an impact on traditional uses of land for ceremonial purposes.”

Back in 2018, the government used PCC bylaws to remove the Justice for our Children camp from the legislative grounds. They again attempted to use the bylaws to remove Tristen Durocher for his 2020 demonstration to raise awareness of Indigenous suicide, especially among Indigenous youth in the north. A judge for the Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that the bylaws themselves were unconstitutional and that they should be rewritten to account for “Indigenous spiritual ceremony and political expression”. Despite Premier Moe and his government’s stated commitment to reconciliation and their legal Duty to Consult, the PCC has conducted no consultation with either Indigenous leaders or the public.

“Since the PCC took over the governance of Wascana Centre from the Wascana Centre Authority back in 2017, we’ve seen Premier Moe and his government use the new governance structure of Wascana Centre to unilaterally make decisions without proper consultation or oversight,” said Nicole Sarauer, Official Opposition Critic for the Provincial Capital Commission. “Unfortunately, this is a consistent pattern of behaviour for this government. No accountability, no transparency.”

The Official Opposition has sent a letter to the board chair of the Provincial Capital Commission stating these concerns and is calling on the Sask. Party government and the PCC to immediately include First Nations in meaningful consultation on these new bylaws before they are released and should work towards the development of a meaningful public consultation process for changes made to Wascana Centre.