Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Text Size

Saskatchewan government won’t sell casinos to First Nations, lacks NDP support

By Raquel Fletcher Anchor/Reporter

Global News

REGINA - The Saskatchewan government has backed away from a deal it negotiated with the FSIN to to sell Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw to the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority.

On January 21, FSIN Chief Perry Bellegarde went to the Premier with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that SIGA buy the two casinos. In the past, the answer has been clear from the government: the casinos are not for sale. However, Premier Brad wall started looking at this proposal – and he started to change his mind. He said he recognized the benefit of greater economic opportunities for First Nations after increased provincial money to Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies produced results:

“The potential to improve graduation rates. We’ve seen greater involvement in the economy by First Nations; we’ve even seen employment numbers, I think now for 12 months in a row, unemployment numbers for First Nations come down I think at least in part because we’re finally getting it right,” said Premier Wall Monday afternoon in a media scrum at the Saskatchewan legislature.

Profits from Casinos Moose Jaw and Regina could potentially mean even more success for First Nations people in the province, but the deal includes a sale within the year and that breaks a Sask Party campaign promise to not go against the Crown Corporations Public Ownership Act.

“I believed that I needed the dispensation of the New Democrats to say, ‘In this instance, in this narrow instance in respect to casinos, we’re going to approve it in principal,’” said Wall.

The Crown ownership act sets out conditions before a Crown corporation can be sold, including public consultations and a 90-day window after the next provincial election before a sale. The legislation was voted in unanimously on both sides of the house. The NDP said they’re not opposed to looking at selling the casinos to First Nations, but they will not support amending the act to allow this particular deal to be exempt. However, without the NDP on board, the Premier said he won’t go ahead.

“This has been just one of the sketchiest things I’ve seen transpire,” said NDP Opposition leader Cam Broten. ”With stories changing from the government and then this ultimatum coming to us that we have to support the fast-tracking of this legislation in the spring sitting in violation of the Crown ownership act – I don’t trust this government.”

The FSIN is blaming the lost sale on the NDP.

“Basically, I’m extremely disappointed and disheartened in the way that the leader of the NDP has approached this. There was no secret, backdoor deal. Everything was transparent and open,” said Chief Perry Bellegarde.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Write comment (10 Comments)

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

Write comment (7 Comments)

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...


obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit


July 2014
29 30 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
Wed Jul 23 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
Asinabka Film Media Arts Festival
Sun Jul 27 @12:00AM
World Indigenous Business Forum 2014

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday

Write comment (1 Comment)


Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins

Write comment (0 Comments)