NDP says it will share resource revenues with First Nations
The NDP says if it forms government, it will share resource revenues such as potash and oil royalties with First Nations.
NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter said during a campaign stop on Red Pheasant First Nation Thursday that if his party wins the Nov. 7 election, he would negotiate a resource revenue sharing arrangement with First Nations.
The announcement was greeted with applause from residents on the reserve, which is about 50 kilometres south of the Battlefords.
Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall has previously ruled out revenue sharing with First Nations, a stance he reiterated on Thursday.
"The Saskatchewan Party categorically rejects any special natural resource revenue-sharing deal with First Nations or any other group," Wall said.
"We believe the natural resource revenue of the province belongs to all people — belongs to everybody equally. That's how we build highways, that's how we fund health care, that's how we keep schools open and those things benefit all. It's how we pay down debt. It's how we keep taxes low."
But Lingenfelter said while the negotiations will be complex, it's an idea whose time has come.
He said First Nations people were here in North America first and yet when one drives onto a First Nation, the road is often a dirt road in poor repair.
He also said the quality of education is not as strong on First Nations as it is off and the services residents receive are substandard compared to what most people in Saskatchewan get.
He said those things can be remedied by a revenue-sharing agreement that helps connect Saskatchewan's First Nations people to the economy.
Lingenfelter said it would be the first time any provincial government negotiated a deal where such revenues would be shared directly with First Nations.
He did not mention a specific dollar figure, although Wall released documents suggesting it could amount to more than $1.5 billion over four years.