A Northern MLA is suggesting that the region’s leadership establish a direct working relationship with the federal government, bypassing the province to help improve the lives of residents.

Athabasca’s Buckley Belanger alleges the new relationship is needed, claiming residents feel frustrated about the lack of action from the Sask. Party on infrastructure, the economy and other critical issues affecting the North.

“I think is that if the provincial government doesn’t want to work with northern Saskatchewan, then I think it’s time that we Northerners approach the federal government and ask them to establish a relationship with us,” Belanger said.

“Let’s go and see if we can connect with the federal government to see if they could help us on some of the efforts that we are undertaking to try and get some get the economy going, get our infrastructure invested in. And, of course, some of the issues around social development. I think it’s time that the North reached out to the federal government to establish a partnership with them, because the provincial relationship is dead.”

Belanger is upset with the level of action the province has taken in the north in addressing the pandemic. He asserts that the province is using federal dollars aimed a COVID-19 related programs to bring down its deficit. That assertion has not been verified.

The province has reacted to outbreaks in the northwest in providing direct funding for checkpoints, rapid testing machines, additional health care staff support and isolation trailers to bring down active cases there. “If you don’t want to help, folks, let’s go and talk to the federal government,” said Belanger.

As the year, closes out, Belanger said he was grateful for his re-election win, his eighth and vowed to continue to represent their interests.