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Indigenous leaders send strong message about sovereignty acts

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Indigenous leaders send strong message about sovereignty acts
Indigenous leaders in Alberta and Saskatchewan say their province's respective acts are an infringement on treaty rights. Morgan Black reports – Dec 12, 2022

Indigenous leaders are sending a strong message about where they stand with Alberta’s sovereignty act.

“We’re asking Saskatchewan and Alberta sovereignty act be withdrawn,” said Treaty 8 Grand Chief Arthur Noskey.

Both Prairie provinces have put into place legislation that allows them to reject federal law if they do not feel it aligns with the province’s needs, respectively.

Alberta’s sovereignty act — officially named the Alberta Sovereignty Under a United Canada Act — has drawn international attention since it was introduced and passed through the legislature last week after several rounds of changes.

The Alberta NDP remain vocal about opposing the act.

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Indigenous leaders say the act is an infringement on treaty rights, and, as the Edmonton Journal reported, are asking Lt. Gov. Salma Lakhani to step in.

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The Journal reported that Noskey and others were set to meet with Lakhani Monday afternoon. Global News was not able to confirm whether this meeting took place, however Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson said consultations continue.

Global News reached out to Noskey but did not receive a response by time of publication.

“We aren’t taking away from some chiefs’ concerns but some say this is going to help with a fight against Ottawa as well,” said Wilson.

NDP Indigenous Relations critic Richard Freehan disputed Wilson’s claim that treaty leaders are in favour of the act.

“They are calling me on a regular basis. I have not heard of a single nation that’s been in support of the act so far,” he said.

“This disaster of a bill rests with the government — they have to step up and remove this bill. It shouldn’t go to the lieutenant governor,” he added, passing the torch of responsibility to the UCP government.

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