WINNIPEG, MB – “The decision of the federal government to push back the deadline for approval of MMTP is a necessary step in ensuring the Duty to Consult and accommodate is respected”, says President David Chartrand of the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF). “It is unfortunate that Premier Pallister has chosen to ignore this obligation in his dealing with the Métis Nation which has brought us to this critical situation and may cost all Manitobans.”
A spokesperson for the Minister of Natural Resources pointed specifically to the Pallister government’s decision to back out of deals with the MMF as the reason more time is needed. He noted it was evident that agreements between Manitoba Hydro and the MMF that were discontinued by the Premier are critical for MMF support for this project and this stance by the Province has affected our support for the project.
“I met recently with Minister Sohi and he committed that Canada’s duty to consult and accommodate the MMF will be upheld prior to any decision being made to approve the project,” Chartrand said. “I appreciate that he and the Trudeau government honour their commitments to the Métis Nation and respect the rule of law. Why the Premier does not honor hydro’s commitments is perplexing and disturbing.”
The Province has acknowledged that delays could cost Manitoba ratepayers $200 million a year in damages, penalties and increased costs.
“These costs far exceed what the MMF was to be paid under our agreements with Manitoba Hydro”, said Chartrand. “Moreover, his actions threaten to undermine the support of the MMF and Métis people for major energy projects which can bring great benefits for our workers and businesses when we are meaningfully involved.
President Chartrand cited the MMF partnership with Enbridge on its Line 3 pipeline replacement as an example of how collaboration agreements based on Duty to Consult can work for industry and Indigenous peoples.
” Enbridge’s Line 3 project provided jobs for 221 Métis people, $7.3 million in wages, and left a trained workforce for future pipeline projects,” he noted. “Why would anyone want to disrupt this win-win situation. The previous Harper government chose to ignore our rights and interests in its energy development policies and how far did this take us in getting pipelines approved. Nowhere. Not only is the Premier going down the same failed path, he also is reneging on previous agreements. This is not responsible leadership.”
Pursuant to the Environment Act, the MMF has filed an appeal on the province’s decision to license the project. Click Here to See the MMF’s Appeal
For media information, please contact:
Al Foster – Director of Communications
Manitoba Metis Federation