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Conservation officers armed with assault weapons could lead to more deaths: FSIN

The Federation of Indigenous Sovereign Nations (FSIN) said arming conservation officers with assault weapons could result in more deaths in rural Saskatchewan.

They also said it will raise tensions.

Media reports said the Saskatchewan government is seeking a bid for 147 semi-automatic patrol carbines.

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The officers are to be armed with the weapons due to their expanded role to help fight rural crime.

The FSIN said this disrespects the land, treaties, and what First Nations communities stand for.

“These changes are happening without the proper consultation of our First Nations leaders, and it’s causing very real distress and concern in our communities” FSIS vice-chief Heath Bear said.

“This is another intimidation tactic used to control treaty hunters who are merely exercising their inherent, treaty and constitutional rights.”

The province has maintained conservation officers have the right to enter reserves to enforce the Wildlife Act.

The FSIN believes that is not the case.

“We have signed an MOU, and that MOU clearly states that conservation officers must get permission prior to entering First Nation land.”

“Some [conservation officers] possess negative views based on their lack of education respecting our rights. As such, there are legitimate concerns from First Nations that arming conservation officers with such weapons could potentially be disastrous.”

– With files from the Canadian Press

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