Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government will not be approaching the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement. Speaking to reporters at a grocery store in Regina today, Trudeau made it clear that jurisdiction over natural resources are constitutionally exclusive to the provinces.

“As Prime Minister, I’m happy to stand here right now and say we will not be touching the NTRA,” Trudeau said. “Natural resources are Constitutionally directed to be the purview of the provinces’. We are not putting that into question.” 

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

Premier Scott Moe quickly reacted to Lametti’s comments. “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.

He, Manitoba and Alberta jointly released a statement condemning any federal overreach into natural resources.

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.

Trudeau emphasized that all levels of government commit to reconciliation and economic prosperity with Indigenous Peoples.

With files from Michael Joel-Hanson