SaskParty trying ot pull a fast one with proposed Casino sale to FSIN

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6079_Smith_W
SaskParty trying ot pull a fast one with proposed Casino sale to FSIN

Revenue sharing with FNs is a great idea . The NDP compaigned on it and took a lot of flak over the issue.

It's not such a great deal when the governing party springs a propsal on them and says they have to sign on by the next day, with no debate or else they will be responsible for standing in the way of the deal.

Especially given Saskatchewan's laws around the sale of crown corporations.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/sask-government-wanted-to-sel...

Ultimately I think it would be great if this deal went through. Ultimately I think Brad Wall's ulterior motive is to undermine safeguards aroudn crown corporations, make the NDP look bad, and divide his opposition.

 

 

PrairieDemocrat15

I do not support selling public assests to a private group (even a FN enterprise). Sharing gaming and natural resource revenue with FNs is a good thing, but giving control of a public asset to a private organization is not. Aboriginal organizations already get 25% of casino profits: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/sask-gaming-corp-earns-44m-pr....

The NDP should not support this. If they do, it will set a precident of amending the CCPO Act which can only be a bad thing for Saskatchewan's Crowns. Plus, I don't get how NDP support makes changing the CCPO Act ok. The Act was meant to prevent party's from privatizing Crowns without first winning an election with such a policy on their platform. It is supposed to give the electorate power by preventing parties from being dishonest on the campaign trail. Wall's proposal give the Opposition power which is not equivalent to the electorate. Just because all the parties and MLAs agree on something, does not mean voters do.

I don't think the NDP will be judged poorly by the public for opposing casino privatization. If Wall choses to violate the CCPO, maybe people will realize that SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskTel, and SGI are not safe under a Sask Party government.

I also think selling casinos may be part of a larger Sask Party plan to try and get Saskatchewan people to support privatization. Wall may be planning to argue for privatization next election. People right now oppose selling the major crowns, but have not been upset at Wall's minor privatizations. Next election the Premier may start saying something like "look, we sold Sask Comm Network and some of ISC, why can't we look at privatizing parts of SaskTel or SGI?"

6079_Smith_W

RE: privatization.

Of course it is that, as well as an attempt to smear the NDP on an issue they have supported, and divide opposition.

As for the sale, even the NDP aren't absolutely opposed to it, and really it depends on what is actually for sale. SIGA operates casinos already, but SLGA still owns the machines.

I'd prefer actual resource or royalty sharing, but if this is the way it is going to happen, I'm not going to say no to something which provides greater economic oppportunity and autonomy to First Nations. This may technically be privatization, but it is actually transferring ownership to a non-profit corporation owned by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.In that sense, it is actually transfer of a crown to another government. It is not just a "FN Enterprise".

The main problem I have (aside from the political ploy) is that this have a fair consultation process.

Is this a trap? Of course it is. The way to not fall into that trap is not to approach this situation in a reactionary and dogmatic way. The reaction is exactly what Wall is hoping to get with this.

 

 

 

PrairieDemocrat15

Well, the deadline has passed and the NDP has refused to co-operate; is the deal dead? News coverage of this topic has been sparse; any updates?

It sounds like the SIGA has been pining for SaskGaming for a while and they approached the government with this deal.

Cam Broten had an interesting take on this question: Why is Aboriginal business ownership resticted to gaming? Would you support selling part of SaskPower or SaskTel to Aboriginal businesses?

How is SIGA non-profit? The enterprise makes tens millions of dollars a year. It is a business that has broad ownership (Federation of Sask Indian Nations) and its profits are widely dispursed amongst that community, but it is still a for-profit enterprise. Sask Gaming is for profit, too, but its revenues go to all Sask citizens, not just members of the province's First Nations.

The machines in SIGA are owned by the province? I know VTLs in bars and othe restablishments are, but I din't not know the machines in non-government casinos were. What about card and roulette tables? I do think SIGA shares money with the government. I belive I read its was 25% of profits, which is the same amount Sask Gaming shares with Aboriginals.

PrairieDemocrat15

The casino was also about more than transfering ownership of the Moose Jaw and Regina casinos: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/Casino+talks+positive+first+step+expe...

"The deal would also grant the FSIN and SIGA the power to offer online gaming, and lift the limits on how many video lottery terminal (VLTs) can be placed in each building. It would also allow for the creation of new VLT "gaming houses," Bellegarde said.

In an interview Tuesday, [FSIN Chief Perry] Bellegarde said VLT limits have limited SIGA's profits, and this provision will 'let the market dictate.'" (all emphasis added)

 

PrairieDemocrat15

Greg Fingas on the deal: http://www.leaderpost.com/news/Wall+gambles+flawed+philosophy/9501603/st...

"Is the goal of ensuring greater First Nations participation in Saskatchewan's economy best served by granting an effective monopoly over a single part of our economy such as gambling?

For that matter, is it generally a good idea to expand the range of gambling permitted and encouraged in Saskatchewan?

Similarly, is an effective grant of control over a single industry the best model for First Nations development? Or is there undue risk if First Nations rely on one source of revenue (much as the Saskatchewan Party itself pushes resource development alone as an economic engine) rather than having a broad base of opportunities?

And if that risk is unacceptable, should Saskatchewan instead focus on other models to encourage First Nations development, including stable provincial funding for economic and social priorities, structural support for services to citizens, and business partnerships in areas of mutual interest?"

6079_Smith_W

SIGA is a charitable non-profit corporation. 50% goes to First Nations communities, 25% goes to local Community Development corporations, and 25% goes into provincial general revenue.

http://www.siga.sk.ca/about-us/structure/

Regarding gambling and other economic opportunities, those are all good questions, and I'd rather see sharing of resource revenue too, as would many people (and the NDP have said so). But the fact is this is one area where First Nations already HAVE power in this province and I'd rather see that grow than nothing at all. And aside from the growth of urban reserves, there aren't all that many bright spots.

But to turn it around, how would you propose giving FN a share of something without having it remain effectively under the control of white government ? That is to say, something we just dole out to them but still control, and that can be taken away just as easily as it is granted and which they don't have any real power over at all?

Or how is a deal over something other than gambling any different? It would still be a sale or transfer of public assets. Thing is, I have always considered FNs to be communities, governments just as legitimate as our own,  and therefore de facto public.

I object to you just casting this as business. The fact is it is owned by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. As such, this is as close to an actual government as they have. Either we treat them as a government, autonomous, and capable of managing a public resource for the good of the people or we don't. I do. The alternative is keeping them and their entire economy under the control of the province.

And while yes, I also see this as not the best sector, it is one which FNs have already actively embraced, and which makes money. So aside from the fact this is a trap that one doesn't want to simply walk into blindly I, like Cam Broten, am willing to be convinced on the core issue.

In fact, I have no problem in principle with transfer of public assets to another level of government, especially one which has always been shut out from real power.

 

6079_Smith_W

And from that editorial, this:

Quote:

Is the goal of ensuring greater First Nations participation in Saskatchewan's economy best served by granting an effective monopoly over a single part of our economy such as gambling?...

Similarly, is an effective grant of control over a single industry the best model for First Nations development?

Would we be questioning the wisdom if we were talking about the provincial government, and monopolies over gas,  electricity, and auto insurance? Or do we only need to be suspicious when it is First Nations who manage and profit from it?

 

6079_Smith_W

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/Broten+gets+earful+from+Irate+chiefs/...

A difficult situation, especially considering the FSIN is laying off staff in the wake of massive federal funding cuts, and have decided not to dip into gaming revenues to make up the shortfall.

And this:

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Saskatchewan+First+Nations+moving+ahe...