On Tuesday the provincial government introduced The Saskatchewan First Act as they look to strengthen Saskatchewan's autonomy and exclusive jurisdiction over its natural resources.
"This historic legislation will help protect our economic growth and prosperity from intrusive federal policies that encroach upon our legislative sovereignty," Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said. "It is time to draw the line and assert our constitutional rights."
The Act amends the Constitution of Saskatchewan to clearly confirm Saskatchewan's sovereign autonomy and asserts Saskatchewan's exclusive legislative jurisdiction under the Constitution of Canada over a number of areas, including:
- The exploration of non-renewable natural resources.
- The development, conservation, and management of non-renewable natural and forestry resources.
- The operation of sites and facilities for the generation and production of electrical energy.
"A strong Saskatchewan means a strong Canada," Eyre said. "This legislation asserts that the constitutional doctrine of interjurisdictional immunity applies to exclusive provincial legislative jurisdiction the same way it applies to exclusive federal jurisdiction."
This Act will also create an Economic Impact Assessment Tribunal that will define, quantify, and report on the economic repercussions of federal initiatives on provincial investment and Saskatchewan projects, businesses, and people.
Some experts have cast doubt on the claim that the province will be able to better secure natural resources, as courts have sided with the federal government on these issues, such as with the carbon tax.