AMC wants federal government to review provincial resource rights

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) is calling on the federal government to support comments by the justice minister to review the 1930 Natural Resources Transfer Act, which set up resource management agreements with the Prairie provinces without Indigenous consultation.

The AMC’s call comes after Justice Minister David Lametti was asked last week whether the government would consider rescinding the act.

“I obviously can’t pronounce on that right now, but I do commit to looking at that,” he said at an Assembly of First Nations meeting.

“It won’t be uncontroversial is the only thing I would say, with a bit of a smile.”

In an interview on Wednesday, AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick said the federal government ignored First Nations’ perspectives on the Natural Resources Transfer Act (NRTA), and had no authority to transfer these rights to the provinces.

“The purpose of the NRTAs at this time was to enlarge the provincial revenue base during times of economic crisis in the 1930s,” she said.

“That’s why it was done, and there was no consultation with First Nation leaderships at that time.”

Merrick said she would love to see the agreement dissolved and be able to establish a new relationship with the government.

“We’re at a time when we talk about reconciliation with Indigenous people, and this would be a good start for the Province of Manitoba,” she said.

On Tuesday, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith released a joint statement saying that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to tell Canadians that Lametti was not speaking on behalf of the federal government when he said he would look at rescinding the agreements with the Prairie provinces and “strip away their constitutional authority and control over natural resources.”

Trudeau responded by calling out these premiers for trying to elevate fears over what the government’s intentions are around provincial resource rights.

Watch below for Merrick’s response to the premiers’ reaction and find out whether she thinks the government will include First Nations in these discussions.

– With files from CTV’s Maralee Caruso and Rachel Aiello.

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