Jurisdiction over natural resources in the province are intensifying after First Nations leaders appealed to the federal government about possibly rescinding the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement.

Last week at a special Chiefs gathering, Attorney General David Lametti said he would look into the request, but that this would be controversial. Prince Albert Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte said he and other leaders are concerned about the recently passed Saskatchewan First Act, which would give the province exclusive jurisdiction over natural resources.

First Nations maintain that their Treaty Rights would be violated if Saskatchewan were to have control over such resources on their territories.

“First Nations have long made this claim that the provinces don’t own the natural resources and the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement is an illegal document, therefore the statement by David Lametti is fully supported by First Nations. We are looking forward to exercising our Treaty rights to natural resources in the province,” said Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron.

Premier Scott Moe responded on Twitter stating he would defend the province’s interest if Ottawa were to rescind the nearly 100-year-old agreement shared with Alberta and Manitoba. “This is an outrageous and ill-informed comment, as those agreements and the provinces’ control over natural resources have been entrenched in the Canadian Constitution since 1930,” explained Moe.

Moe also questioned what basis the federal government had in unilaterally rescinding the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement.  The province said the Act does not breach Treaty Rights as they are constitutionally enshrined.