The premier of Saskatchewan is once again criticizing the federal government.

Speaking to media in Prince Albert after attending a chamber of commerce luncheon event, Scott Moe criticized federal Minister of Justice David Lametti for his response to a question from Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte about possibly rescinding the Natural Resources Transfer Act. In his response Lametti said the idea would be looked at, but added it wouldn’t be without controversy. The question was posed to the federal justice minister at a recent Assembly of First Nations (AFN) event.

Moe said the minister in his answer should have emphasized that the Natural Resources Transfer Act can’t be changed without support from the provinces as it is enshrined in Canada’s constitution.

“Chief Hardlotte and as I say we have a great working relationship with Chief Hardlotte, don’t agree on everything, it’s fair for him to ask the question of the relationship that in this case PAGC may have with the federal government, there is only one answer and it wasn’t given by the federal minister of justice,” he said.

The possibility of rescinding the Natural Resources Transfer Act has gotten support from the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which put out a statement on Monday indicating such. Moe said the current government has a good relationship with FSIN but stressed the province would not support making any changes to the constitution which would impact jurisdiction over natural resources.

“We have a good working relationship with Chief Cameron as well as tribal chiefs from across the province, it doesn’t mean we agree on every point, but most certainly we’re going to continue to work together, however we will not agree on opening up or changing the constitution as it pertains to the natural resources,” he said.

When speaking on First Nations economic development in Saskatchewan Moe said the province currently has the best gaming agreement of any in the country. He as well added that the province has transferred more Treaty Land Entitlement land then any other province, while adding that more work is still needed.

“There is more work to be done, more work to be done by all of us whether it be in the provincial government, the federal government or at the FSIN or the tribal chief level and we’re consistently working on that relationship and what can we do to work together to engage all people,” he said.

Federal justice minister responds

The federal minister of justice has responded to the premier’s criticisms of his remarks. In a statement posted on Twitter David Lametti said he did not commit to reviewing areas of provincial jurisdiction. He said the federal government’s focus is currently on developing a plan to help federal laws and policies align with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

(Top Photo: Scott Moe speaking to media Tuesday in Prince Albert at the Coronet Hotel. Photo by Michael Joel-Hansen.)