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MMF taking province to court over quashed Manitoba Hydro agreement

WATCH: MMF President David Chartrand said they have engaged in legal proceedings against the government to send a message to the premier.

The Manitoba Metis Federation is challenging the province’s decision to stop a settlement with Manitoba Hydro.

Last week, all but one member of the Manitoba Hydro board resigned after the province put the brakes on a near $70 million settlement, to be paid out over 50 years, between Hydro and the MMF.

Premier Brian Pallister called it “persuasion money,” but the MMF believes the government over-reached and breached the 2014 ‘Turning the Page Agreement’ between the Crown agency, MMF and the government.

READ MORE: MMF accuses Premier of ‘race card’ tactics after Hydro board payment called ‘persuasion money’

This deal established that land negotiations would only require the government’s involvement if the MMF and Manitoba Hydro were unable to reach agreements.

In this case, the MMF said a legally binding agreement was reached with Manitoba Hydro in July 2017, covering a bundle of projects including the last leg of the Bipole III project travelling through southeast Manitoba to Minnesota.

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The MMF alleged that the Premier has known about this deal for eight months.

“This is the position of one individual who has taken a position that he is the king,” MMF president David Chartrand said of Pallister’s decision to step in to break up the deal. “There are no kings in this country, I’m sorry. We have a democracy in this country.”

READ MORE: Manitoba Hydro Board’s scathing resignation letter calls out ‘irresponsible’ government

Pallister said last week that the case could have set a bad precedent for future Hydro developments, and the MMF agrees, but for completely different reasons.

WATCH: MMF’s lawyer describes why they are taking province to court 

MMF’s lawyer describes taking province to court over quashed Manitoba Hydro agreement
MMF’s lawyer describes taking province to court over quashed Manitoba Hydro agreement

“First Nations have been negotiating with Manitoba Hydro in good faith at tables across the province. Manitoba Hydro does not have the capacity to negotiate now that you see what the government has done. It’s over-reach, it’s political interference,” explained Metis lawyer Jason Madden.

“We just hope it doesn’t set reconciliation in this province back a generation. Trust has been built at these tables, Hydro has been doing the right thing. To be quite frank, it’s like dog-whistle politics that we’re seeing down in the United States.”

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The MMF said it has authorized legal proceedings against the government, seeking a judicial review to overturn the province’s decision.

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The MMF also said that it has received no official notice from the government about the decision.