An interesting observation in the matter of Sask Party candidate,Greg Ottenbriet's use of racist comments at a Yorkton 'All candidates' debate. The question that prompted the comments almost appears to be a 'softball' question thrown by a Sask Party supporter for Mr. Ottenbreit's benefit. According to financial statements filed by the candidate last election
, the person who asked the question is a large financial contributor. (see page 9 of the financial statement):
Transcript of Greg Ottenbreit at candidate’s forum in Yorkton, Oct. 19, 2011
MODERATOR: Lawrence Wegner, you got a question?
LAWRENCE WEGNER: Thanks, Randy. Going back to royalties for a second here. Recently it was announced by the opposition that if they were elected they were going to enter into negotiations with the First Nations in regards to sharing the royalties that our province has. My question is, I’d really like you both to leave your party platforms on the table and come up and answer this personally. How do you feel about a government negotiating the royalties struc--the royalties of our province to minorities and special interest groups?
MODERATOR: Thanks Lawrence. Chad?
CHAD BLENKIN: Thanks for your question, Lawrence. On a personal note, I spent three years at Enterprise Saskatchewan on entrepreneurship council. And during my tenure there, this was one of the areas with the First Nations that I worked hard on. I think the negotiations of potash royalties with the First Nations, what we’re trying to achieve as the NDP is just to get those talks started. We have had a considerable amount of backlash since we made this announcement but I just recall going back to where we were when we made the announcement years ago to do this with the casinos and look at where we are today, especially here in Yorkton. The casino is one of the largest employers. Everybody said it wouldn’t work. It, they’re providing 60, 60 to 70 per cent, 60 per cent of their employees are of First Nations ancestry, so 40 per cent of their employees aren’t even from that community. So I think where we need to work with the First Nations is providing them some entrepreneurship training and some guidance and taking some of these royalty revenues and allowing them to build economies. Like we see even the Petro Canada, that’s a success. We have a lot of people working there. That’s what we need to do is help and train them into building their own businesses so that they can be more [in?]dependent on their own. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Greg Ottenbreit.
GREG OTTENBREIT: Well, I will sincerely agree with Chad on one thing and that is engaging the First Nations people on education, training and in the economy because that is the most important thing. If you talk to, I have a lot of First Nations friends, I’ll talk to them about this, quite a bit and they’ll tell you that. Like, the handouts, the money that comes so free and easy, all it does is go to, quite often, drugs and alcohol and other things and creates more social pro-, er social issues. As far as, with the royalty rates, and I think Lawrence talked about minorities and special interest groups, absolutely not. I felt that, many years, probably the first year I was in government, and some of these issues would come up and we would be talking about it. And in talking to a lot of my First Nations friends, they seem to be very understanding. They will say, well if we get say a portion of royalties, does that mean that we have to pay a portion of roads, highways, schools, hospitals that we use. They realize and I realized quite quickly one of the first meetings I had when I was in government was the office of the treaty commissioner. And when they are interpreting the treaty, the treaty says we are treaty people, like everybody, white, non-First Nations and First Nations alike. And those royalties are for everybody, we’re paying for the provincial debt, we’re paying for healthcare, we’re paying for hospitals, and schools and highways that everybody uses equally. So there’s no special interest group. I feel personally I’m very onside with our policy that they’re for all of us.
-Federation Of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Calls For Resignation Of Saskatchewan Party Candidate For Racist Comments