Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Text Size

Saskatchewan government selling casinos to First Nations: NDP

The Canadian Press

REGINA - The Saskatchewan government is looking to sell Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw to the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority.

The Opposition went public with the information Monday after getting a government briefing on the sale last Thursday.

The New Democrats say the government wanted them to agree to legislative changes this spring for the sale to go through. But the NDP says the government wouldn't immediately provide a copy of the three-page memorandum of understanding.

"Selling Crowns is an important matter because the benefits are for everyone in the province," said NDP Leader Cam Broten.

"And to fast-track, to be pressured to urgently pass legislation in violation of the Crown ownership act, that game's not on. I will not agree to do that. If this was the long-standing plan of this government, they needed to introduce that legislation in the fall sitting and then we'd be looking at it here in the spring sitting."

The Crown Corporations Public Ownership Act sets conditions for the sale of protected Crowns. Those conditions include public consultations and a minimum 90-day window after the next provincial election before the completion of a sale.

Premier Brad Wall said Perry Bellegarde, chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, raised the memorandum at a meeting Jan. 21. Wall said the government approved it in principle last week, then went to brief the NDP.

The deal "would be good for the province, good for First Nations," Wall said.

He also said that because his Saskatchewan Party campaigned on maintaining the act, it believes it can only move forward on changes with Opposition support — even though his Saskatchewan Party holds 49 of 58 seats in the legislature.

"The law was passed by unanimous vote of the assembly. In my view, the only way it can be changed, without an electoral mandate, is by unanimous vote of the assembly."

The premier sent a letter to Broten asking for an answer by noon Tuesday.

Broten said he's open to the idea of the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority having a bigger role in the economy, but he questioned the rush.

"I'm willing to look at proposals and I'm willing to be convinced," said Broten. "But that shouldn't be done in a secret, behind-closed-doors deal. It should be done in the open. It should be done in a transparent way. It should have the right scrutiny in the legislature and it should have the right consultation with (the) Saskatchewan public."

Aboriginal leaders in Saskatchewan have said for years that all the province's casinos should have a single operator and they want to be the ones at the table.

In June 2011, Guy Lonechild, who was the chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations at the time, said it could be more efficient to have all casinos under one banner. He said First Nations casinos also have better employment rates and profits.

Ken Cheveldayoff, who was the minister responsible for SaskGaming in 2011, said at the time that the province was "absolutely ... not interested in selling the casinos."

The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority was created by the federation to operate six casinos: Bear Claw in Carlyle, Dakota Dunes in Saskatoon, Gold Eagle in North Battleford, Living Sky in Swift Current, Northern Lights in Prince Albert and Painted Hand in Yorkton.

The province, under SaskGaming Corp., owns and operates Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw.

The New Democrats said the government said the sale price would be between $100 million and $200 million.

Bellegarde said there "was no secret, back-door deal." He said he met with Broten on Jan. 24.

"It was a business transaction because SIGA's got a proven track record. Record profits of $84 million. In my mind, it made sense that SIGA should be given the opportunity to operate Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw," the chief said.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Education & Training

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

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

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


First Nations Cultural Interpreter PM – 02 Riding Mountain National Park Seasonal Indeterminate

(May to October) From $54,543 to $58,764

Closing Sept. 19, 2014

Read More

Regional Media Officer– Temp (Until Nov 2015) –F/T Position

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / NDP Research Office

Location:131 Queen Street, Suite 10-02, Ottawa, ON


Communicate regularly with regional media outlets (community newspapers, radio stations, student media, ethnic media, etc.) to propose ideas for interviews and opinion content Read more...

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Workforce Report

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that highlights initiatives to improve the workforce participation of Aboriginal peoples. 

Opportunity Found: Improving the Participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s Workforce (December 2013)  

click image to download report

Tue Sep 23 @ 3:00PM - 04:15PM
FNHMA National Conference 2014
Sun Oct 05 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
INIHKD & Manitoba NEAHR Conference 2014


September 2014
31 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 1 2 3 4

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday


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