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Manitoba Metis Federation Announces Legal Proceedings Against Pallister Government

March 28, 2018

Winnipeg, MB – Today, in a sign of unity and resolve, Manitoba Metis Federation (“MMF”) President David Chartrand, supported by the entire MMF Caucus, announced the MMF’s decision to authorize legal proceedings against the Pallister government for its breach of the honour of the Crown and the Kwaysh-kin-na-mihk la paazh Agreement (“Turning the Page Agreement”) signed between the MMF, Manitoba Hydro and the Manitoba Government in November 2014.  The MMF also unveiled its legal team who have been assembled to advance this important litigation.

“Since the current government led by Premier Pallister believes it can disregard the Constitution, Supreme Court of Canada judgments as well as its legal duties and obligations owing to the Manitoba Metis Community, the Manitoba Metis Government has authorized me to initiate legal proceedings in order to defend our legally binding agreements and to uphold the honour of the Crown in this province,” said President Chartrand.

Chartrand added, “Let me be clear: the old colonial practices of sharp dealing, bad faith and government unilateralism against Indigenous peoples are no longer acceptable in the age of reconciliation. It is clear that Premier Pallister is so out of touch with these new legal realities he has no right to lead this province. Manitobans expect more from the Premier of Manitoba. We will make sure the truth about this whole sorted affair will come out and that the Premier’s deceptions and dereliction of duty are exposed for all to see.”

The MMF announcement of legal proceedings comes on the heels of the Premier’s attempt to respond to the unprecedented and unanimous resignations of all non-government members of Manitoba Hydro’s board of directors last week. Instead of owning his failings of not meeting with Manitoba Hydro board for over 16 months, the Premier defaulted to his usual “race baiting” tactics against Indigenous peoples and used an agreement reached between the MMF and Manitoba Hydro—which he has known about for eight months—as the reason for the mass resignations. 

The MMF litigation will focus on how the Manitoba Government’s actions last week breached the honour of the Crown and the legally binding commitments in the Turning the Page Agreement. To date, the MMF has received no official notice from the Manitoba Government with respect to its decisions. Based on the honour of the Crown and contract laws, the MMF’s July 2017 agreement with Manitoba Hydro remains in place today. The MMF continues to implement and rely on that bilateral and legally enforceable agreement.

“It is outrageous and embarrassing for a Manitoba Premier to act like this—to overreach and politically interfere with the management and operations of Manitoba Hydro in violation of laws and well-established policies. This is particularly so when these unilateral and sharp actions violate a legally binding agreement and attempt to force a Crown corporation to breach a legally binding agreement negotiated with an Indigenous people. We will hold the Premier to account for his actions,” said President Chartrand.

“We have assembled a team of legal experts to ensure the rights and interests of our people are protected. We will not let governments trample on Metis rights and disrespect the government or the Metis in this province. Manitoba has been unsuccessful in past litigation against the MMF.  The Premier’s mistruths and antics over the last week has forced us to this place. It is a sad reality that 148 years after we founded this great province, we are still having to turn to the courts to hold the Crown to its promises,” added Chartrand.

The MMF’s legal team includes: Metis lawyer Jason Madden who is recognized as being at the forefront of advancing Métis rights in Canada;  Tom Isaac a recognized national authority in Aboriginal law and the former Ministerial Special Representative for Métis Section 35 Rights; and, Murray Trachtenberg, MMF’s general and corporate legal counsel.

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Believe in Yourself; Believe in Métis.

The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is the official democratic and self-governing political representative for the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Métis Community. The Manitoba Métis are Canada’s Negotiating Partner in Confederation and the Founders of the Province of Manitoba.

For media information, please contact:

Lindsay Ridgley
Director of Communications
Manitoba Metis Federation
Phone: (204) 586-8474
Cell: (204) 806-4752
E-mail: lindsay.ridgley@mmf.mb.ca


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