We Are All Treaty People

Statement from the Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan in response to the 2022 Throne Speech

  • Published - 27/10/2022
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  • Posted By - OTC
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Yesterday the new session of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly opened with the Speech from the Throne: Growth That Works for Everyone. Despite the title, the content of the speech does not work for everyone and further it offends the Treaty and inherent rights of Indigenous people.

While the Office of the Treaty Commissioner welcomes programs and initiatives with Indigenous communities on health, education, and community policing among others, there remains an ongoing concern on a lack of true engagement and actions.

Earlier this month Premier Scott Moe released a White Paper entitled “Drawing the Line: Defending Saskatchewan’s Economic Autonomy.” Concepts from this paper were reiterated during the throne speech, referring to The Saskatchewan First Act, which looks to define and defend Saskatchewan's exclusive jurisdiction over natural resources and its economic future within the Canadian Constitution.  

However, while talking about having provincial jurisdiction over resources there continues to be no consideration to the impacts of implementing these measures to First Nation inherent rights to access those resources. Economic reconciliation requires an ethical process that respects Constitutionally protected rights, Treaty rights and United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

UNDRIP states that the federal and provincial government shall consult and cooperate in good faith with First Nations in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing measures that may affect them. First Nation’s people have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development.

Complete disregard of obligations and infringement of Treaty is not in the best interest of Treaty rights holders, citizens, governments or industry. It emboldens divides and places interests outside of the territories. First Nation’s hold inherent rights to the land and natural resources of Canada, they are not stakeholder groups, they are to be co-decisionmakers and acts such as these need to be written collaboratively taking a holistic view of socio, environmental, and cultural issues, not just impacts to the economy.

It is the duty of the Crown to act in an honourable manner and to uphold Treaties. When this doesn’t happen, government needs to be held to account. Formal correspondence to the Government of Saskatchewan on these breaches of Treaty are being submitted.