Manitoba Metis Federation President responds to National Energy Board decision on the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project

November 16, 2018

Manitoba Metis Federation President responds to National Energy Board Decision on the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project

Winnipeg, MB – On Thursday, November 15, the National Energy Board (NEB) released its decision recommending approval of the Manitoba-Minnesota Transmission Project, subject to a range of conditions being met. The Project goes through the heart of the Homeland of the Manitoba Métis Community and will have significant effects on the exercise of Métis rights.

The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) initially participated in NEB hearings on the Project based on the July, 2017 Agreement reached between the MMF and Manitoba Hydro, which addressed the Project's potential effects on the Aboriginal rights of the Manitoba Métis Community. On March 21, 2018, the Pallister Government issued an unlawful and unconstitutional directive to Manitoba Hydro directing it to not proceed with the July 2017 Agreement. It remains the MMF's position that the July 2017 Agreement—negotiated pursuant to the terms of the 2014 Turning the Page Agreement—remains in place and must be honoured or the Project will be in legal jeopardy and Manitoba Hydro will be liable for significant damages flowing from its actions.

"The NEB’s recommendations do not uphold the honour of the Crown," said MMF President David Chartrand. "The Crown must ensure that our negotiated agreement with Manitoba Hydro is upheld, in order for Canada’s constitutional duties owing to the Manitoba Métis Community to be upheld. We now turn to Canada and the Governor-in-Council to ensure that the Pallister Government’s deceptions and unconstitutional actions are not ignored. Canada cannot turn a blind eye to these issues or we will have to turn to the courts."

Unlike the Pallister Government, which denies the constitutional reality that Indigenous rights need to be accommodated and compensated, the NEB has set out a condition that Manitoba Hydro must develop a Crown Land Offset Measures Plan and a Wetland Offset Measures Plan, each including a list of compensation measures, that would need be implemented to address impacts on Indigenous rights stemming from the Project’s development.

"I believe it is the first time in history that the NEB has placed a clause in its decision calling for direct compensation for Indigenous people," concluded Chartrand. "For the NEB - a regulatory agency that is hardly known for its respect for Indigenous rights - to include these conditions shows just how out-of-touch and disrespectful the Pallister Government is when it comes to Indigenous rights and upholding the Constitution. Canada cannot approve this Project without dealing with our outstanding issues and upholding the honour of the Crown. We are putting both Canada and Manitoba on notice that if they move ahead before the duty to consult and accommodate has been met, or the July 2017 Agreement is honoured, we will have no choice but to turn to the courts."

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 requests, please contact:
Barney Morin, Communications Coordinator
Manitoba Metis Federation
Office: 204-586-8474 x277
Cell: 204-391-0717

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