CEC, Manitoba, and Hydro Try to Brush Metis to the Side with Licensing Recommendation of Keeyask Dam

May 7, 2014

WINNIPEG, MB - Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) President David Chartrand and the Metis Government responded to the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission (CEC) report released today for the 695-megawatt Keeyask dam. The MMF has expressed serious concerns at CEC hearings on the impacts of this project, and Bipole III, as well as other related hydro projects.

“There was no doubt in our mind the CEC would recommend approval. We knew from the beginning that the CEC was handcuffed and limited in the scope of its review. The decision to move forward on Keeyask had already been made,” said President Chartrand. “Hydro on behalf of the Province has already spent a billion dollars so you really could not expect any other decision. Over $200 million alone went to negotiations. They can’t back out now.”

“I have always said that the MMF is pro-growth, pro-development and open to partnerships, but not at the expense of Metis harvesting and cultural activities.” responded Chartrand. “Keeyask and its related transmission line will affect Metis rights. The Metis have not been taken seriously. We are being told we are a small and inconsequential minority in the Keeyask project area. ”

“The CEC report says that it is not responsible for Metis consultation and that it is the Province’s obligation. However, the Province says it doesn’t have to consult with the Metis,” explained President Chartrand. ‘The government has already sent us an insulting letter, saying that the Metis have no rights in the Keeyask area, and that further consultation ‘falls at the low end of the consultation spectrum.’ Government and Hydro are trying to make us second-class citizens. The Metis have before stood strong to protect our rights. The Metis will again put our foot on the chain”

 “A report by a renown historian clearly shows we have been using the Nelson River area since the late 1700s. Long before Canada became a country and Manitoba became a province,” President Chartrand went on to say. “The Keeyask area did not become a part of the province until 1912. The Government can’t ignore us. The Government is hiding in very short grass.”

“Without Keeyask there is no Bipole III and vice versa. David beat Goliath once,” exclaimed President David Chartrand. “We will do it again.”

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