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‘I did not want to go here’: MMF suing province over Manitoba Hydro deal

MMF president David Chartrand announces the federation is taking legal action against the province of Manitoba.
MMF president David Chartrand announces the federation is taking legal action against the province of Manitoba. Jordan Pearn/Global News

The Manitoba Metis Federation is making good on its promise to take the province to court.

On Monday morning, MMF president David Chartrand announced the first hearing would take place on June 25.

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

“I did not want to go here,” he said. “But I said I will go. If you push our people, if you try to disrespect our people, if you try to exclude our people and you try to punish our people, the Metis nation will come at you with everything we’ve got.”

The legal action comes after the province instructed Manitoba Hydro to reverse its agreement with the MMF, which would have seen the federation paid $67 million to smooth the way for future Hydro projects across the province.

READ MORE: Hearings into controversial Manitoba Hydro project begin Monday

Chartrand said the agreement was legally binding, and for the province to turn away from it violates the 2014 Turning the Page Agreement.

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“In their haste, or as I’ve said previously, writing this down on the back of a napkin, they didn’t actually read the Crown Corporations and Governance Act,” lawyer Jason Madden said.

“[The province] can issue directives to Manitoba Hydro based on policy matters — i.e. things around how they conduct their finances, how they do their auditing, general policy statements. But they can’t direct Manitoba Hydro not to do something — i.e. finalize an agreement that it had made with another party.”

The MMF hopes to get Premier Pallister and Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen on the stand when the case goes to court, but the government has not yet responded to the federation’s announcement.

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