The province’s revised Consultation Policy Framework is receiving wide criticism, suggesting it doesn’t go far enough.
The policy released Friday increases consultation timelines for Indigenous communities, suspends Crown land lease and sales auctions for two years, while introducing a new duty to consult assessment chart, which dictates what decisions and actions trigger consultation.
However, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations is flat out rejecting the government policy.
“The province has a bad record when it comes to consultation with First Nations – whether it’s crown land sales, legislation that impacts our Nations, or resource development within our Treaty and traditional territories, the lack of consultation is disturbing,” said Chief Bobby Cameron. “This is why our Nations don’t want to contribute to revising the province’s already deeply flawed consultation policy. We reject their Consultation Policy Framework, and such framework does not apply to our Treaty Nations. Treaty rights trump provincial laws.”
Minister Responsible for First Nations and Metis Relations Don McMorris said engagement with First Nations and Metis Locals were both in the 30 percentile.
Saskatoon MLA Betty Nippi-Albright said halting the Crown land leases and sales for two years was a good first step, yet the revised document demonstrates the province still has not listened to Indigenous leaders.
“This is still government driven, its not community driven. The government still decides when and if consultation is required. And the government still decides if and what Treaty Rights are impacted,” she said.
Nippi-Albright is renewing her calls for the province to introduce legislation on Duty to Consult, as this policy is not enforceable.
In February of this year, the FSIN was directed by Chiefs not to provide comments on the Consultation Framework Policy, rather develop its own consultation policy.
The province must still develop regulations surrounding its revised policy, as the new implementation is expected in the New Year.