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FSI's Sanderson Meets PM: Trudeau Says Time For BNA Act Parley

Albert Angus

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      APRIL 1977      v07 n04 p05  
ALLAN - Saskatchewan Indians will have "ample time" to seek guarantees to their rights if Canada's constitution is patriated, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau told FSI first vice-president Sol Sanderson April 19.

The prime minister said negotiations to patriate the constitution have taken so long now "I can at least guarantee it won't catch you by surprise and you will have ample time to see any particular guarantees you want."

Trudeau was responding to a question by Sanderson who was seeking assurances the interests of treaty Indians would be protected if the British North America Act is patriated.

Sanderson was a member of a seven-person panel selected to question the prime minister at a public meeting here on the first day of his recent visit to Saskatchewan.

The other six members of the panel were representatives of agricultural organizations and asked questions solely about federal agricultural policy. But Sanderson was placed on the panel following private discussions members of the PSI executive held with prominent Saskatchewan Liberals the week before the prime minister's visit.

Trudeau told Sanderson he agrees with the principle of selective' special development agreements which the FSI wants to negotiate with the federal government.

One of the objectives of the agreements would be to improve the delivery of services to Indian communities.

In a half-hour private discussion with Trudeau, Sanderson asked the prime minister to attend the All Chiefs Conference, then underway in Saskatoon.

But Trudeau said his schedule would only permit him to meet with the chiefs for about five minutes, and he would prefer to meet with them at greater length in the future, preferably at a special occasion.

Sanderson told the chiefs' conference the prime minister has tentatively agreed to meet the chiefs this fall, probably at the official opening of the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College in Regina.

Trudeau announced he has designated Jim MacDonald, an executive assistant, "to hear in detail any points you (the FSI) want to make". Sanderson had asked the prime minister to assist in combatting red tape hindering Saskatchewan Indian objectives.

He said he told Trudeau Saskatchewan Indians have never taken "direct, radical action against any major development" undertaken by the Canadian government, but civil servants are constantly sabotaging Indian plans.

Trudeau was also told "he along with the general public are going to have to get used to the idea of

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Sol Sanderson and Prime Minister Trudeau
Sol Sanderson was the FSI's representative on a seven-member panel which posed questions to Prime Minister Trudeau at a public meeting at Allan, Sask. April 19. Sanderson also had a half-hour private discussion with the Prime Minister

FSI's Sanderson Meets PM: Trudeau Says Time For BNA Act Parley

Albert Angus

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      APRIL 1977      v07 n04 p06  
another form of government and that is Indian government."

According to Sanderson, the prime minister expressed interest in the concept and was eager to hear more about it.

The concept of Indian government now being developed by PSI staff and later to be discussed by a newly formed PSI commission on Indian government, embodies the idea of Indian sovereignty within Confederation.

The FSI vice-president said Trudeau expressed a serious interest in reform of the Indian Act.

Sanderson said he discussed with the prime minister the possibility of an act of Parliament which would recognize treaty rights, lands and Indian government and would enable Indians to control the activities of the department of Indian affairs.