WINNIPEG- The Manitoba Metis Federation says it is taking the province to court in a dispute over planned hydro projects.
Metis federation president David Chartrand met Tuesday with Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen and Manitoba Hydro to discuss a deal between the federation and the Crown utility.
In March, Premier Brian Pallister quashed a $67-million deal that had been negotiated between the federation and Manitoba Hydro to help support a transmission line to Minnesota. The premier called it “persuasion money.”
The federation said at the time it would file for a judicial review to overturn the decision because, it argued, the agreement was legally binding.
“We were hoping that the province would have come forward with a position of an olive branch, given that we believe strongly that the agreement was negotiated between ourselves and Hydro,” said Chartrand.
“They are not willing to sit down and they are going to overrule Hydro, which we believe they don’t have the legal right to do.”
He said the Federation has given its lawyers the green light to go ahead with court action, probably within the next week.
Cullen said the two sides have agreed to disagree on the matter.
“They feel it was an agreement,” he said. “Our understanding is that it’s really a proposal.”
Cullen said the ball is in the Metis federation’s court.
“It’s really up to them on how they want to proceed,” he said.
“We’ll wait and see what their undertaking is.”
Despite the disagreement on the transmission line, Cullen said the government is committed to consulting with the Metis federation.
Nine of 10 Hydro board members resigned in March over what they said was Pallister’s refusal to meet with them to discuss important issues, including Indigenous rights.