Belanger Says Town Hall Meetings Will Have to Wait

Monday, May 10, 2004 at 13:25



Buckley Belanger says northerners will get a chance to voice their feelings on the recent job cuts at Saskatchewan Environment — but they will likely have to wait until late summer.


The Northern Affairs minister is responding to calls from the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation and others that the government host town hall meetings on the issue.


Several northern communities are losing their conservation officers and Environment offices as a result of budget cuts.


Belanger and Environment Minister David Forbes have been holding a series of meetings with northern leaders and department staff about the job cuts and the changes to the province’s forest fire policy, but the meetings aren’t open to the public.


Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation president Darrell Crabbe says northern residents should pressure their MLAs to host town hall meetings as soon as possible.


Belanger is hopeful some form of public consultation will take place in northern communities in August.


However, he says public meetings won’t take place until the government has had a chance to discuss the changes with department staff.


Belanger also says the government needs time to come up with several “options” to present to northern citizens when they are consulted.


Belanger and Forbes were scheduled to hold a meeting in Buffalo Narrows tonight, but business in the legislature this evening has forced the gathering to be postponed.