Province Resists Call to Get Out of Native Gaming

Friday, December 01, 2006 at 15:53



More calls to remove the government from on-reserve gaming were heard yesterday on the final day of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations’ special legislative assembly in Saskatoon.


Vice-chief Morley Watson says the province collected $14.4 million in gaming money last year — funds he says would have been better spent on reserves.


Watson says the federation wants to work with the NDP government as much as possible, but he doesn’t understand why Indian bands can’t be allowed to watch over the gaming portfolio by themselves when it has been around for more than a decade.


Watson notes the FSIN will begin a 6-month bargaining session with the provincial government on December 7th.


Premier Lorne Calvert says he looks forward to hammering out a new gaming deal with First Nations leaders.


However, Calvert says the province has no intention of removing itself from the scene entirely.


The premier says the Criminal Code of Canada clearly states the province must involve itself in any gaming activity.


He also says the situation is different than this week’s trades training announcement for reserves, because the province had the option to ignore traditional rules of jurisdiction in that instance.


Calvert says the only way the situation could change is if the Conservative government went out of its way to change the current definition of the law.


He doesn’t expect that to happen.