Northlands College board member removed after domestic assault conviction raised

A day after the Saskatchewan NDP raised concerns about the criminal record of a newly appointed board member at Northlands College, the premier announced he will be cancelling the appointment.

Vincent Natomagan was convicted of domestic assault two weeks after board appointment

Northlands College is a post-secondary institution based in La Ronge (saskatchewan.ca)

A day after the NDP raised concerns about the criminal record of a newly appointed board member at Northlands College, the premier announced he was cancelling the appointment.

On Nov. 1, 2018, Vince Natomagan was appointed to a three-year term on the Northlands College board through an Order in Council.

On Nov. 14, Natomagan pleaded guilty to domestic assault. A charge of uttering death threats was stayed.

The charges relate to an incident in Pinehouse Lake in August 2018.

During question period on Tuesday, the NDP listed off convictions on Natomagan's record, which included assaults going back more than 20 years.

The board appointments were reviewed and recommended by Minister of Advanced Education Tina Beaudry-Mellor.

She said she was "horrified" to learn about Natomagan's criminal record and took responsibility for the appointment.

NDP Ryan Meili did not blame Beaudry-Mellor for the decision to appoint Natomagan.

"The premier and those around him, they let down the minister of advanced education because I fully believe this was a surprise to her," Meili said.

On Wednesday, Premier Scott Moe told the assembly in question period that Natomagan's appointment to the Northlands College board and his place on the board of the Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) were being cancelled through an Order in Council.

"We took action to remove this individual from the boards he served on within the government of Saskatchewan and we're doing an assessment on how we can move forward to ensure these types of questions are asked before the appointments are made," Moe said.

The premier said the government would look at requiring criminal record checks for board appointments but said he wants to look at other jurisdictions first.

Northlands College is a post-secondary institution based in La Ronge. The CIF receives revenue from the casinos of Regina and Moose Jaw and invests the money in community-based programming.

Knowledge of Natomagan's record questioned by NDP

Natomagan was almost a candidate for the Saskatchewan Party in the constituency of Athabasca in 2016, before withdrawing from the nomination. Candidates are typically subjected to criminal record checks before being approved by a political party.

On Feb. 1, 2017, Natomagan was approved by cabinet through an Order in Council to serve on the CIF board for a four-year term. That appointment would have been overseen by Ken Cheveldayoff, who was the Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport at the time.

Premier Scott Moe said he was not aware of Vince Natomagan's criminal record before Tuesday. (CBC)

In question period Wednesday, Moe was asked if any cabinet ministers knew about Natomagan's criminal record.

"I will speak for myself, I was made aware of this yesterday," Moe said.

Following question period, Moe told reporters he was not aware of any cabinet ministers that had prior knowledge of Natomagan's criminal record. He said was not aware who put Natomagan's name forward for consideration for the Northlands College board.

NDP leader Ryan Meili said he was not convinced that the government had no knowledge of Natomagan's background.

"This is someone who is not a completely unknown entity to the Sask Party. It is quite unlikely that no one in cabinet, no one in the premier's caucus would have been aware of some of that history and able to raise that," Meili said.

About the Author

Adam Hunter

Journalist

Adam Hunter is the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Saskatchewan, based in Regina. He has been with CBC for 11 years. He hosts the CBC podcast On the Ledge. Follow him on Twitter @AHiddyCBC. Contact him: adam.hunter@cbc.ca