Saskatchewan: law for more independence, especially for natural resources


REGINA — Premier Scott Moe’s Saskatchewan Party government is set to introduce legislation on Tuesday seeking greater independence for the province, including over its natural resources.

The Constitution of Canada already separates provincial and federal powers, but Saskatchewan wants this enshrined in its own laws with legislation called the Saskatchewan First Act.

The intent of the bill is to define that only Saskatchewan has exclusive jurisdiction over its natural resources and economic future. The province’s Lieutenant Governor Russell Mirasty said in last week’s Speech from the Throne that the bill will establish jurisdictions and defend them based on the current constitutional division of powers.

Danielle Smith, the new United Conservative premier of neighboring Alberta, has proposed sovereignty legislation to resist federal laws and court rulings she deems contrary to provincial interests, but her office has maintained that it would be in accordance with the Constitution.

Prime Minister Moe has pledged that his government will respect and follow all laws of Canada in its proposed changes.

“We are trying to do everything we can as a province to try to bring clarity to the investment community and the residents of Saskatchewan, as well as Canadians,” Premier Moe said last week after the speech was read. of the Throne. In particular, it states that pollutant emission limits on the production of fertilizers or petroleum do not come under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Saskatchewan lost a constitutional challenge against the Government of Canada over the carbon tax, but Scott Moe doesn’t believe that will set a precedent for other federal environmental policies.

Saskatchewan is already prepared to intervene in the constitutional challenge to Canada’s Impact Assessment Act, should it go to the Supreme Court of Canada. This legislation allows the Government of Canada to assess the environmental impacts of projects on federal lands before they are implemented.


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