THE BATTLEFORDS – Saskatchewan Liberal Leader Darrin Lamoureux announced details of the 2016 Saskatchewan Liberal Party First Nations and Métis Federation platform at a campaign event in Battleford on Thursday.
Lamoureux was joined by Dexter Gopher, Liberal candidate for The Battlefords, Chief Kenny Moccasin from Saulteaux First Nation, Former FSIN Chief Lawrence Joseph, Councillor Julius Thomas from Saulteaux First Nation, Councillor Ray Fox from City of North Battleford, Former Chief Fred Gopher from Saulteaux First Nation, Chief Lori Whitecalf from Sweetgrass First Nation, Chief Wayne Semaganis Littlepine First Nation, Councillor Ryan Bater City of North Battleford, Councillor Spencer Gopher from Saulteaux First Nation, Councillor Sabrina Peeaychew from Red Pheasant First Nation and others from the Battlefords and surrounding communities.
Over the last 40 years, consecutive Saskatchewan governments did little to establish a solid working relationship with First Nations and Métis communities. For the past nine years under the Wall government, there has been very little consultation at all. This lack of consultation has contributed to issues like inadequate infrastructure, high unemployment and an extremely high poverty rate compared to other communities across Canada,” stated Lamoureux, “The Saskatchewan Liberal Party wants to take part in consultation with our federal government and the First Nations and Métis Federation to implement policies that will bring real change to strengthen First Nations and Métis communities, so all citizens within these communities can achieve the same level of education, housing and healthcare that has been afforded to every other Saskatchewan citizen.”
Brad Wall says if you don’t like prison food, there is one solution, “don’t go to prison.” Saskatchewan Liberals believe that a community is only as strong as its weakest individual. A Saskatchewan Liberal government will allow inmates with four years or less remaining in their sentences to be transferred to newly constructed healing centres that will be built in First Nations communities. This measure will allow offenders the ability to re-attach with their culture under the guidance of elders within the community and create a positive influence on the rehabilitation process.
A Saskatchewan Liberal government will immediately create a First Nations & Métis economic development fund. This $3.5 million program will be used to support young entrepreneurs in developing business plans and assist with start-up costs associated with establishing a new business.
A Saskatchewan Liberal government will also begin the consultation process with all stakeholders to:
- develop a First Nations and Métis Federation owned pipeline system to run the entire province from south to north. The infrastructure required will create jobs at a time when needed most to keep Saskatchewan’s economy growing.
- promote partnerships with private industry to construct additional refineries, resulting in thousands of new full time permanent jobs.
- connect these refineries to a pipeline that will cross through Manitoba to the Port of Churchill, which is now under First Nations ownership.
These three initiatives will provide Saskatchewan oil producers the infrastructure required to get refined oil products to tide water for shipment around the world.
A Saskatchewan Liberal government will also partner with First Nations and Métis Federation to establish a northern Saskatchewan rail line to get our commodities to the Port of Churchill. This line will not only create thousands of jobs, but will also provide a new shipping route to get consumer products to our northern communities.
A Saskatchewan Liberal government will create a greener future for our province, and will enter into consultation with First Nations and Métis Federation to encourage communities on sovereign land to become energy self-sufficient through solar and wind generation, as well as the capability to sell excess renewable power into the provincial grid.
This new resource revenue stream can provide First Nations governments an opportunity to improve the quality of life and create skilled jobs for individuals in their communities.
“By working together through consultation, we will be building communities with real change,” concluded Lamoureux.