Somehow the following story was missed in posting to the First Nations Voice website.
On Oct. 30 2019, Sagkeeng First Nation announced their legal challenge to Manitoba Hydro developing a new transmission line.
Provincial election will result in gridlock on resource development
By Trevor Greyeyes
So, the Progressive Conservatives won the 2019 Manitoba provincial election but that merely means that their will be little progress in the resources sector with Pallister in charge.
Don’t understand? Well, follow this.
The Pallister government cancelled a deal that Manitoba Hydro had negotiated with the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) and the then NDP led Manitoba government that covered several Manitoba Hydro development projects.
I have to admit that from news reports that the wording in the contract does give the provincial government the right to intervene in this particular agreement.
However, even though that’s the right of the provincial government, I would say that is quite short sighted and opens up the province to court challenges from principally First Nations.
Why, you may ask?
Well, there’s multiple court decisions that have ruled that in resource developments that could impact First Nation communities, especially when those projects could impact traditional ways of sustenance and economic activity, that triggers an automatic Constitutional duty to consult and accommodate with those affected Indigenous Nations.
The Metis are considered an Indigenous Nation and recognized as such in the Canadian constitution.
From my point of view, Manitoba Hydro worked out a deal with the Metis because, say on the transmission line known as Bipole 3, it’s easier to negotiate a deal satisfying the duty to consult and accommodate with one Indigenous Nation than say multiple First Nations that potentially could be affected along the route.
The $67.5 million deal negotiated with the MMF just may seem like a bargain if it has to spend years on lawyers fees, negotiations and a final settlement First Nations that can prove the deleterious effects of the hydro development on economic and traditional activities.
Don’t believe me.
Locally, the recent negotiation with Treaty One First Nations to sell Kapyong Barracks started with Peguis filing a court challenge when under the Harper led federal government tried to dispose of the property without first consulting First Nations under the Treaty Land entitlement process.
Bill Gallagher, a sometime First
Nations Voice columnist, recently posted win number 285 for First
Nations in the resource sector when the BC Supreme Court ruled in
favour of the Tsilhqot’in over Taseko Mines.
I could go on with other examples like the Ring of Fire.
The list could literally go on and on.
Until provincial and federal governments respect this reality then there are going to problems like this when it comes to resource development.
And there’s more trouble on the horizon if the federal election sees Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives win the election.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs put out a news release on September 16, 2019 that put forward their objections to Scheer’s “disrespectful use of the words “hold hostage” when discussing Indigenous peoples and the implementation of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in a recent debate of federal party leaders.”
If different levels of government fail to properly and meaningfully engage First Nations, then resource projects are not going to start.