REGINA - Today, Scott Moe’s Sask. Party government voted against Bill 610, The Meaningful Duty to Consult Act at second reading. The Official Opposition condemns this decision as yet another example of the Sask. Party’s utter disregard for Indigenous peoples and their concerns.
“We’ve known for ages that this government has no interest in true Reconciliation. With this vote they are saying the quiet part out loud,” said Betty Nippi-Albright, Official Opposition Critic for First Nations and Métis Relations. “This is a massive blow to Reconciliation and a slap in the face to Indigenous communities across Saskatchewan. It shows that this government just doesn’t care about the Duty to Consult.”
Bill 610 was introduced on behalf of Indigenous leaders across Saskatchewan on November 7, 2022, by Nippi-Albright.
The bill would have codified the government’s Duty to Consult obligations into law, meaning that Indigenous communities potentially impacted by the sale or use of Crown Land would, by law, have a say in how consultation occurs and with whom it would occur with enforceable mechanisms.
Under the current decade-old framework, it is up to the Saskatchewan government to assess whether a project triggers the Duty to Consult with no input from the impacted Indigenous community, an arrangement Indigenous leaders say has been abused by the government.
“Policy is just a document that says what we should or should not do. It has absolutely no teeth,” said Nippi-Albright. “This government has no respect for our Treaty and inherent rights. They won’t even follow their dated, decade-old policy. Scott Moe’s government says one thing and does another. That is why we need legislation to hold him to account and make sure Indigenous peoples are not shut out of important decision making.”
Last month, in response to her party blocking Indigenous leaders from testifying during committee examining Bill 88, Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre claimed that the Sask. Party government has “never shut out voices” of Indigenous people.