The premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have issued a joint statement calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to renounce earlier comments made by the federal justice minister regarding a 1930’s agreement granting western prairie provinces autonomy over their natural resources.
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to tell Canadians today that federal Justice Minister David Lametti was not speaking on behalf of the federal government when he said he would look at rescinding the 1930 Natural Resources Transfer Agreements with the Prairie provinces and strip away their constitutional authority and control over natural resources,” reads a statement from premiers Danielle Smith, Scott Moe, and Heather Stefanson.
The provinces’ outcry comes after Lametti said he commits to looking at the document after the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) claimed the agreement was made in the absence of Indigenous leaders. “Those resources were given to the provinces without ever asking one Indian if it was okay to do that or what benefits would the First Nations expect to receive,” argued Chief Don Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte.
Lametti quickly embarked on damage control, clarifying that he wasn’t actually committing the federal government to asess provinces’ jurisdiction over natural resources. Still, western leaders weren’t convinced, calling on the prime minister to disassociate the liberal government from Lametti’s controversial statements.
“The federal government cannot unilaterally change the Constitution. It should not even be considering stripping resource rights away from the Prairie provinces,” the statement continued. “The prime minister needs to immediately retract those dangerous and divisive comments by his justice minister.”
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