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'The Métis nation will come at you with everything we've got': MMF has court date over Hydro deal

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>MMF President David Chartrand </p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

MMF President David Chartrand

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/6/2018 (191 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Manitoba Metis Federation will face off in court June 25 against the provincial government over orders Premier Brian Pallister gave Manitoba Hydro to kill a land-entitlement deal.

Separately, the MMF plans to file a breach of contract lawsuit against the government over that same order Pallister imposed on Hydro March 21.

"The Métis nation will come at you with everything we've got," MMF president David Chartrand told a news conference Monday. "Pallister decided to make it a specific fight against Métis people."

The June 25 hearing in Court of Queen's Bench is an application by the MMF to seek a judicial review — it would heard at a later date if the Métis are successful — that the federation hopes would eventually quash Pallister's order to Hydro to cancel a $67.5-million deal with the MMF.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/6/2018 (191 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Manitoba Metis Federation will face off in court June 25 against the provincial government over orders Premier Brian Pallister gave Manitoba Hydro to kill a land-entitlement deal.

Separately, the MMF plans to file a breach of contract lawsuit against the government over that same order Pallister imposed on Hydro March 21.

"The Métis nation will come at you with everything we've got," MMF president David Chartrand told a news conference Monday. "Pallister decided to make it a specific fight against Métis people."

The June 25 hearing in Court of Queen's Bench is an application by the MMF to seek a judicial review — it would heard at a later date if the Métis are successful — that the federation hopes would eventually quash Pallister's order to Hydro to cancel a $67.5-million deal with the MMF.

The MMF's application names Pallister, Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen, cabinet, the provincial government and the Manitoba Hydro board.

"There is no trust," Chartrand declared Monday morning, adding the premier is going against everything this country is trying to do to achieve reconciliation with Indigenous people.

The application also seeks "declaratory relief" from the court, which MMF lawyer Jason Madden explained would mean that the court would repudiate statements made by Pallister and Cullen that the MMF is a special-interest group, and that the deal was hush money to buy off the MMF.

The MMF considers Pallister and Cullen to be aggressively taunting Indigenous people in an era of reconciliation, Madden told reporters.

"The comments towards the founders of the province, Riel's people, are deeply offensive," Madden said.

However, if the MMF achieves declaratory relief, the court would make a statement and the premier would not be compelled to apologize or retract anything he's said.

Pallister contends Hydro and the MMF were discussing a proposal; Chartrand believes they agreed on a deal.

Madden said a 2014 tripartite agreement signed by the province gave Hydro and the MMF bilateral authority to reach deals that Madden and fellow MMF lawyer Tom Isaac said are common across Canada.

"It breaches the honour of the Crown — it breaches a constitutional principle," Madden said.

The MMF is upholding its side of the agreement with Hydro by not opposing the proposed $453-million transmission line project to Minnesota in 2020, Madden said. The National Energy Board began hearings into the project Monday in Winnipeg.

Chartrand vowed to do everything legally possible to force Pallister and Cullen to appear and be questioned as witnesses, but his lawyers cautioned that they can't be compelled to appear.

Madden said that each side will sign and file affidavits. If the court rules that it will hear a judicial review, then the government can question Chartrand on his affidavits. However, the government decides who will sign its affidavits.

"We don't get to pick in the judicial review, we don't know who the Crown will put forward. They shouldn't be putting up bureaucrats, but that's ultimately their choice," Madden said.

Pallister did not comment on the issue Monday, but Cullen issued a prepared statement saying the government is aware of the court filing.

"We have been clear in our position from the start that this is merely a proposal, a bad deal for Manitoba taxpayers, and would take away the constitutional rights of Métis children and grandchildren to be consulted on major projects for years to come. Our government looks forward to defending our position in court," the statement said.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 4:00 PM CDT: adds government statement, various edits

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