Feds failed to consult Peguis on Hydro line project: court

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Ottawa failed to consult with Peguis First Nation in approving construction of a $500-million Manitoba-Minnesota hydro transmission line, Canada’s federal court ruled in a decision issued last week.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/09/2021 (370 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Ottawa failed to consult with Peguis First Nation in approving construction of a $500-million Manitoba-Minnesota hydro transmission line, Canada’s federal court ruled in a decision issued last week.

“In failing to substantively engage with Peguis during supplemental consultations, Canada did not adequately discharge its duty to consult,” Justice Glennys McVeigh wrote in a 92-page decision issued Sept. 24.

In its decision, the federal court dismissed similar judicial review applications by Manitoba First Nations Roseau River and Long Plain, and Animakee Wa Zhing 37 in Ontario.

Because the transmission line has already been in operation for over a year, any remedy beyond a declaration of wrongdoing comes riddled with impracticalities, McVeigh said.

“In judicial review applications, the most common and just remedy is to quash the decision and send it back to the decision-maker for redetermination,” the judge said.

“My finding is that Canada did not adequately consult with Peguis and quashing the decision would unfairly halt the operations of (Manitoba) Hydro, who is a party not at ‘fault’ in this application.”

The transmission line runs from Winnipeg to the Manitoba-Minnesota border, crossing Treaty 1 territory, delivering energy to Manitoba and surplus energy to Minnesota.

“With this declaration, I would hope that Canada completes further consultation with Peguis and that one of the purposes of this consultation can be to determine if any accommodation is necessary,” McVeigh said.

As the country prepares to mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the federal court’s decision “clearly shows” Canada failed to implement reconciliation, Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson said.

“The teaching for Canadians should be that injustice by the federal government continues as a present-day problem,” Hudson said in a news release.

“For our members, our administration diligently engages with all governments regarding all projects within our territory,” he said. “Those responsible to consult with Peguis should know that our approach will always be the same.”

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

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