FSIN dismayed over casino closures this weekend

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Cameron said SIGA has “gone the extra mile to provide safety and protection and sanitizing and social distancing.” He said it was willing to offer more.

“We should have been provided the opportunity to state our case, and maybe the provincial government would have saw it from our point of view,” he said.

“Let’s sit down and talk. Let us show you how safe we are. Because we want to keep the economy going, but we also want to be safe.”

Glover noted that public health orders are intended to reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19, largely by limiting movement and gathering sizes. “Government is committed to balancing the safety of Saskatchewan residents and protecting people’s livelihoods,” he said.

But restaurants and bars are not facing any additional measures, according to Monday’s announcement, a point Cameron seized on to argue that First Nations aren’t being treated fairly. He said SIGA is simply asking for a “level playing field.”

“Somebody with COVID is definitely going to go into the bars, restaurants and lounges and play VLTs, so why keep those open when they close us down?” he asked.

He noted that SIGA casinos are important revenue sources that have “substantial and potentially lasting impacts within the First Nations.” About 66 per cent of its roughly 2,000 employees are Indigenous. They brought in $262 million in revenue and $82.5 million in profit over the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Cameron said that money goes into a trust that funds school nutrition programs, youth investment, housing investment and operating and maintenance expenses. “It’s very critical,” he said.

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