TRANSCRIPT : Brad Wall’s controversial address

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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Premier Brad Wall’s March 21 Prince Albert Premier’s Dinner address resulted in a handful of groups calling for his resignation.

Premier Brad Wall speaks at the Premier's Dinner address in Prince Albert last week.

Premier Brad Wall’s March 21 Prince Albert Premier’s Dinner address resulted in a handful of groups calling for his resignation.

Fish Lake Métis Local 108 president Bryan Lee was joined by Idle No More and Renewable Power the Intelligent Choice representatives on Tuesday, with Lee calling Wall “racist” and alleging that he’d undermined the duty to consult when it comes to future Cameco mining initiatives.

The following is a partial transcript of Wall’s address, including two sections related to the groups’ opposition.

The paragraph that includes the groups’ most-cited line (“You know, the best program for First Nations Métis people in Saskatchewan is not a program at all – it’s Cameco.”) has been put in bold.

Gaps in the tape are indicted with “…” and brackets connote editorial interjection.

 

Transcript:

 

“When it comes to partnering with First Nations and Métis people, we’re not interested in funding mileage anymore. We’re not going to be funding interminable meetings, and tables, and studies, but if you bring us programs about education, if you bring us results-based economic initiatives, we will be there in meaningful ways…

 

(Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology is an example of that, Wall said, which the Sask. Party has increased fund by 48 per cent to.)

 

 

“We say yes to a lot of things, in our government. We have said yes in this budget to a very important tax incentive that will positively impact this city for many, many years to come.

 

“You see, we have a uranium royalty structure in this province that’s not very competitive. We lost our fist place production of uranium position to Kazakhstan – to other places of the world where they’re lowering their royalties. We’ve become an uneconomic place for companies to invest in uranium, though we have this abundant supply of perhaps the highest quality of uranium you’ll find anywhere in the world.

 

“Our government has identified, by the way, unabashedly, that all of this uranium is an asset. The other guys, they’re pretty conflicted about uranium. Half the party kind of likes it, half the party won’t even buy a microwave oven.

 

“We think it’s an asset, we think it’s a carbon-free source of energy, and when we see China’s nuclear program expanding, and India’s nuclear program expanding, we recognize that there’s a market for our uranium, but guess what? Up until very recently, not an ounce of Saskatchewan’s yellowcake would move into that market in China or that market in India. Why? Because we didn’t have a nuclear co-co-operation agreement. Why? Because there wasn’t a government here advocating to a federal government in Ottawa that they should execute an NCA with either of those countries, even though Australia did it.

 

“In Australia, I think we all have to be worried about the civilian use of uranium, and Australia showed us that’s possible.

 

“I went give a shout-out to the prime minster today, because we’ve only got 14 seats in the province, and maybe that’s why the prime minsters haven’t been really that interested in uranium, because it’s really only here in Saskatchewan, but I have talked to him and talked to him and talked to him, and I remember last fall when he was heading over to China he phoned me … Tammy and I were shopping at the Safeway in Swift Current and my phone rang and I answered it and it was the prime minister’s switch board operator, and they said, ‘it’s the prime minister’s switch board, we have the prime minister on the line, will you take the call?’ ‘Well, I’m right in the produce section.’

You know, the best program for First Nations Métis people in Saskatchewan is not a program at all – it’s Cameco. It’s a job in the north, it’s a chance to engage in the prosperity that we see in Saskatchewan. We will say yes (the audience is heard clapping) to that opportunity. Premier Brad Wall

 

“But I did, and because he was heading out there, he said, ‘you know what, I think I’m going to get an agreement.’ And he did, to his credit. When you see your federal MP, thank them, because it probably means $3 billion worth of Saskatchewan uranium into that market in the next 10 years, at a minimum – never mind what could happen in India.

 

“So, guess what? Now we have a chance to see more uranium production here. Now we have a chance to see expansion of uranium industry, potential new mines happening because this market’s now open to our uranium, and so we need to ensure our uranium royalty structure is competitive, and we’ve taken that step in this budget.

 

“You probably didn’t hear about it. You might not, in the media, it’s sort of not a big deal, but I think it’s one of the most significant things in the budget – not just for this city, as the gateway for the north, but also for First Nations and Métis, because did you know, that at Cameco, about 44 per cent of the people that are working in those mines are from the north are First Nations and Métis.

 

“You know, the best program for First Nations Métis people in Saskatchewan is not a program at all – it’s Cameco. It’s a job in the north, it’s a chance to engage in the prosperity that we see in Saskatchewan. We will say yes (the audience is heard clapping) to that opportunity.

 

“We’ll say yes to projects like Keystone. We don’t have any oil sands, yet, in the province, so we won’t have any oil in the pipe, but here’s what it means to us, if that pipeline gets built, the differential – the discount at which we’re selling the oil to the Americans will decrease. Right now it’s about 19 per cent. It costs our treasury $300 million, we think. This pipeline will shrink that discount. This pipeline means about $2.5 billion to our oil patch.

 

 

“It means something positive for our country, so you bet that we’ve been front and centre in saying ‘this is right for the country, this is right for our province, this is right for North American energy security.

 

“It’s been a source of some debate -- some debate in the legislature. The NDP were against it, then they’re for it, now they’re against and for it again, so they ended in the right place, so we’re good with that.

 

“I had a Twitter fight over Keystone with Martin Sheen – you know, the actor. ‘Cuz when he was in Saskatoon for an event … I was in Washington …

 

“The media said, ‘do you have a message for the premier, because he’s down in Washington trying to sell the Keystone Pipeline, and Martin Sheen said this, and I quote, ‘Don’t do this,’ he said to me. ‘Don’t’ – It was kind of cool because Martin Sheen never really spoke to me before. ‘Don’t do this. It’s not going to be something you’re going to be proud of in the future.’ I hope he said that to Charlie every now and then.

 

(Audience clapping and laughing)

 

Organizations: First Nations, Cameco, Renewable Power Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology Sask. Party Safeway North American NDP Keystone Pipeline

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, China, India Australia Kazakhstan Ottawa Swift Current Washington Saskatoon

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  • Mark Kuppe
    July 23, 2015 - 19:05

    The more I read about Brad Wall, the more appealing Saskatchewan becomes. He seems to be the last stand for business and prosperity. Lucky you guys! Sincerely, Disgruntled Albertan