Government Official Defends Scheduling Conflict
Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 14:28
A government official says his department wasn’t trying to “show up” a First Nations by staging a fire training session in Prince Albert this week.
Alan Parkinson, the assistant deputy minister for Saskatchewan Environment, says his branch didn’t know an Indigenous firefighting summit was being staged at the same time in the city until just a few weeks ago.
Montreal Lake Cree Nation Chief Lionel Bird has been critical of the move, noting the government session drew a lot of participants away from the band’s gathering.
Bird also claims the government was well aware of the summit, but decided to hold its own event anyway.
Parkinson denies the charge, and points out some of his staff did take in the summit.
He adds the government training session was needed to help returning firefighters prepare for the upcoming forest fire season.