The Saskatchewan First Act (SFA) has been passed, fundamentally changing some aspects of Saskatchewan.
The SFA is an amendment to the Constitution of Saskatchewan, written to confirm Saskatchewan's autonomy and exclusive legislative jurisdiction under Section 92 (A) of the Constitution of Canada over a variety of different areas.
Three key focuses in this act are the exploration of non-renewable natural resources, the development, conservation and management of non-renewable natural and forestry resources, and the operation of sites and facilities for generating and producing electrical energy.
In a release, the Sask Party claims that these changes will help prevent overreach from the federal government. In order to access situations that may see overreach involving Saskatchewan, the SFA will also facilitate the creation of an independent Economic Impact Assessment Tribunal. The Tribunal will assess, quantify, and report the economic impact of federal initiatives on Saskatchewan endeavours, investments, businesses and the people.
Justice Minister and Attorney General, Bronwyn Eyre, backs that sentiment of protection against federal involvement in Saskatchewan interests.
"This Act protects our province from constitutional overreach by the federal government," said Eyre. "We will always stand up for Saskatchewan People against policies that hurt our economic potential and growth."
There have been concerns about how this act will influence established treaties and rights of Aboriginal and Metis peoples.
Athabasca MLA Jim Lemaigre introduced amendments to specify that the SFA will not abrogate or derogate any Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
"Treaty rights are already enshrined and protected in all provincial legislation, as well as Section 35 of the federal Constitution Act, 1982," Eyre said. "However, I welcome the amendments from the Member from Athabasca, which provide even further clarity and certainty about our government's respect for treaty rights."