Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

MMF to hold Bipole forums

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The Manitoba Metis Federation will conduct a series of town-hall meetings to gauge the degree of opposition to Manitoba Hydro's plans for the Bipole III transmission line and the proposed Keeyask generating station on the Nelson River.

MMF president David Chartrand said in a statement released Friday that Bipole III cuts a swath through Métis traditional lands, including the area in western Manitoba known as the Métis Breadbasket. Keeyask and its related transmission line and roads impact Métis hunting, harvesting and cultural activities, he said.

Chartrand said the town halls are needed to chart a path for what action the MMF takes next.

He said to date, Hydro Minister Stan Struthers and Hydro president Scott Thomson have failed to recognize Métis rights.

"At no time have the Métis reached an agreement or given free, prior and informed consent to these projects," Chartrand said. "This will further reinforce to Manitoba Hydro that failure to respect Métis rights and interests or to otherwise exclude Métis participation has negative consequences from a legal, social, ethical and political perspective."

"Let me be clear; The MMF is pro-growth, pro-development and we are open to partnerships, but not at the expense of Métis rights."

The MMF says there are about 120,000 Métis people living in Manitoba, with over 60,000 MMF adult voting members.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 3, 2014 A12

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