A Saskatchewan NDP MLA is looking to change the way consultations are done with First Nations in the province.

Wednesday Betty Nippi-Albright the party’s critic for First Nations and Métis relations introduced a bill which calls for big changes to the way the provincial government goes about doing consultations with First Nations in regards to developments which affect them along with the sale of Crown owned lands.

“This bill is long overdue, this bill will be historic, first of its kind provincial legislation that would improve existing duty to consult processes,” she said.

Nippi-Albright explained if the proposed bill is enacted it would give First Nations a say over who would be involved in consultation processes and also where those consultations would occur. Currently all of those decisions are up to the provincial government.

Speaking to media Wednesday Nippi-Albright was joined by leaders from a number of First Nations including Onion Lake Cree Nation, George Gordon First Nation and Flying Dust First Nation. Nippi-Albright added the current government is falling well short when it comes to consultation.

“We’ve heard from nations that this government’s definition of consultation is often sending them registered letters, emails and nothing more,” she said.

If the province were to adopt the proposed legislation, Nippi-Albright said it would bring the province’s legislation up to standards with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples along with rulings from the Supreme Court of Canada.

Joining Nippi-Albright Wednesday was Kahkewistahaw First Nation Chief Evan Taypotat who said the nation of 2,300 people is asking to be treated with respect.

“We are here today to simply ask the government to start honouring the original people of this land, the honour of the Crown is not being fulfilled,” he said.

The Kahkewistahaw First Nation chief said Saskatchewan is behind other jurisdictions in Canada, specifically British Columbia, in regards to having industry consult with First Nations.

“In British Columbia industry asks the First Nations people for permission, in Saskatchewan First Nations have to beg industry for permission and that is wrong,” he said.

Chief Taypotat urged Premier Scott Moe and the government to work with First Nations to make the province a better place for everybody.

“We’re your neigbours, we have children here, we’re going to grow old in Saskatchewan our children are going to be your children’s classmates at universities and trade schools,” he said.

(Betty Nippi-Albright speaking in the provincial legislature: MBC News File Photo)