December 12, 2018

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MPs demand Pallister apologize for Métis remarks

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/3/2018 (264 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Manitoba MPs expressed concern Thursday about the Hydro board resignations, with some asking Premier Brian Pallister to apologize for his comments about Métis people.

Nine of 10 board members — all Tory appointees — resigned Wednesday, largely over the premier’s reluctance to sign a $67-million deal with the Manitoba Metis Federation so an electrical transmission line to Minnesota wouldn’t be subject to intense land claims and environmental assessments. The premier decried it as “persuasion money” for a “special-interest group.”

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said the federal government wouldn’t comment on how Pallister has handled the issue.

He instead said Manitoba Hydro could help generate clean energy for places such as Saskatchewan and the United States. “It’s a vital Crown corporation, and we want it to be functioning and at full steam as soon as it can be,” said Carr, who represents Winnipeg South Centre.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/3/2018 (264 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Manitoba MPs expressed concern Thursday about the Hydro board resignations, with some asking Premier Brian Pallister to apologize for his comments about Métis people.

Nine of 10 board members — all Tory appointees — resigned Wednesday, largely over the premier’s reluctance to sign a $67-million deal with the Manitoba Metis Federation so an electrical transmission line to Minnesota wouldn’t be subject to intense land claims and environmental assessments. The premier decried it as "persuasion money" for a "special-interest group."

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said the federal government wouldn’t comment on how Pallister has handled the issue.

He instead said Manitoba Hydro could help generate clean energy for places such as Saskatchewan and the United States. "It’s a vital Crown corporation, and we want it to be functioning and at full steam as soon as it can be," said Carr, who represents Winnipeg South Centre.

Carr wouldn’t say whether Pallister’s comments about the federation were appropriate. He instead said: "Our constitutional and moral obligations, when it comes to developing major energy projects" dictate "Indigenous peoples must be meaningfully consulted."

Fellow Liberal MP Dan Vandal, who is Métis, claimed Wednesday’s resignations fit into a pattern in which the Pallister government clashes with other levels of government, and now its own Crown corporations.

"I feel insulted, that my Métis family are called a special-interest group in the province that we founded," the MP for Saint Boniface-Saint Vital said.

"I think all Métis people feel that way, and I think the premier and the province should apologize," Vandal said, calling it "an insult that they should be ashamed about."

NDP MP Niki Ashton, who represents Manitoba’s north, said she’s concerned the drama could derail Manitoba Hydro’s budding partnerships with local communities.

"When we hear a premier speak like that, it certainly flies in the face of progress that’s been made," she said.

Ashton said the Crown’s corporation’s projects, which have flooded traditional Aboriginal land and forced people to relocate, happened in her riding. She said there are lasting effects from "the dark history when it comes to Manitoba Hydro impacts on Indigenous communities."

She wants a guarantee the new board includes Indigenous people, but feared it would instead be privatized.

Manitoba Tory MP Candice Bergen, who is close to Pallister, said she’d need to know more before weighing in. "I was disappointed to see it, but I’ve only read media reports," she said.

dylan.robertson@freepress.mb.ca

Dylan Robertson

Dylan Robertson
Parliamentary bureau chief

In Ottawa, Dylan enjoys snooping through freedom-of-information requests and asking politicians: "What about Manitoba?"

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