Saskatoon

Andrew Scheer hasn't engaged enough with First Nations leaders in Sask., chiefs say

Not everyone in Saskatchewan thinks Andrew Scheer is so deserving of praise.

First Nations leaders say new Conservative head needs to build better relationships

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron says Andrew Scheer hasn't done enough to engage with First Nations during his time as a Saskatchewan MP. (CBC)

Andrew Scheer has his fans in Saskatchewan. Premier Brad Wall publicly congratulated him on Twitter soon after he won the bid to become Conservative leader. 

But not everyone in Saskatchewan thinks Andrew Scheer is so deserving of praise. 

"Before he got into office he was out visiting First Nations — our First Nation," said Roger Redman, chief of the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation in Saskatchewan. "At first it was a lot of commitments and discussions, but after he got into office we never spoke to him again."

Andrew Scheer, if you are listening: Get the message.- Bobby Cameron, chief, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations

Standing Buffalo is one of a handful of reserves located in Scheer's home riding of Regina-Qu'Appelle. 

Redman said given First Nations are growing in size and influence, the new leader would be remiss to ignore Indigenous issues. 

Andrew Scheer speaks after being elected the new leader of the federal Conservative party at the federal Conservative leadership convention in Toronto on Saturday. (The Canadian Press / Frank Gunn)

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron agreed. 

When asked if Scheer has done enough to engage with First Nations during his time as a Saskatchewan MP, Cameron's answer was clear. 

"No, not enough. But that doesn't mean he's not going to start. Andrew Scheer, if you are listening: Get the message. We are here to work together and our leadership certainly deserve that respect."

Scheer could not be reached for comment.

Scheer wants to reinstate Transparency Act

On Scheer's website, the only policy on First Nations issues is a call to reinstate a Conservative bill requiring First Nations bands to publish their financial information online. 

Cameron said that all of his member nations are already thoroughly audited and they don't need a government bill requiring them to publish financials online. 

Redman, who was spurned by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in 2013 for making more money than the prime minister, said his First Nation has been making its financials public for decades. 

Still, Cameron and Redman both said First Nations deserve a seat at the table. 

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