Media Advisory: Two Day Court Hearing in MMF v Brian Pallister Begins Wednesday
Two Day Court Hearing in MMF v Brian Pallister Begins Wednesday
Winnipeg, MB — On September 11 and 12, 2019, the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) will finally have its day in court in MMF v. Brian Pallister et al. The case is about the Pallister Government’s unconstitutional and unlawful actions against the Manitoba Metis Community on March 21, 2018 after the unprecedented resignations of 9 of the ten board members of Manitoba Hydro.
In order to cover his own failings, Premier Pallister and his government attempted to make the MMF a scapegoat by acting in a manner that failed to uphold the honour of the Crown, including attempting to undermine two negotiated accommodation and reconciliation agreements reached with the MMF. The MMF seeks to have the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench quash the government’s March 21, 2018 decision that directed Manitoba Hydro to “not proceed” with one of these agreements. Additional details on the case are in the attached backgrounder.
“The Pallister Government delayed this hearing until after the election so Manitobans could not hear the facts before they voted,” said MMF President David Chartrand. “The Manitoba Metis Community looks forward to finally having its day in court and the truth coming out.”
The MMF Cabinet and Metis Citizens from throughout the province will be in attendance at the hearing, showing support to their government’s fight for justice. The MMF’s legal team includes Metis lawyer Jason Madden, who has acted as counsel in many of the cases establishing Metis rights from Ontario westward including R. v. Goodon, as well as lawyer Tom Isaac, the former Ministerial Special Representative to Canada on Metis section 35 rights. Details on the two-day court hearing are below:
September 11 & 12, 2019
408 York Avenue
President Chartrand added, “This case matters to all Manitobans and Indigenous peoples. It will answer two key questions: does the government now essentially control all of Manitoba’s Crown corporations? Can Indigenous peoples trust governments and rely on accommodation and reconciliation agreements negotiated with the Crown, instead of turning to the courts?
“The answer to the second question goes to the heart of whether reconciliation is just a talking point in Manitoba or real. Governments can’t make promises to us, take the benefits from negotiated agreements with us and then betray us. Those days are over. Indigenous peoples need to be able to trust governments to honour their negotiated agreements or developments will be delayed and we will always be turning to the courts. That’s in no one’s interest,” concluded Chartrand.
Believe in Yourself; Believe in Métis.
The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is the official democratic and self-governing political representative for the Métis Nation’s Manitoba Métis Community. The Manitoba Métis are Canada’s Negotiating Partner in Confederation and the Founders of the Province of Manitoba.
For media information, please contact:
Director – Communications
Manitoba Metis Federation
Office: (204) 586-8474 x324
Cell: 204 806-4752
Background on MMF v. Brian Pallister
On September 11 and 12, 2019, lawyers for the MMF will argue a judicial review with significant implications for all Manitobans and Indigenous people across Canada. The case raises two crucial questions:
1. Can Manitoba politicians directly make operational decisions for the province’s leading Crown corporations?
2. Can Indigenous people rely on contracts with the federal and provincial governments to implement their constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights?
The MMF is asking the Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench, Glenn Joyal, to quash a directive that the Minister of Crown Services issued on March 21, 2018, after 9 of the 10 members of the Manitoba Hydro board of directors resigned. Through that directive, the Pallister government instructed Manitoba Hydro to “not to proceed” with an accommodation and reconciliation agreement that addressed impacts on Metis rights that Manitoba Hydro had negotiated with the MMF, and which had been approved by the directors of both organizations.
The Minister issued the directive under s. 13 of the Crown Corporations and Governance Accountability Act (CCGAA). The CCGAA applies to prominent Crown corporations including Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Public Insurance, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, and the Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation. Manitoba argues it can direct any Crown corporation in Manitoba to do anything the government wants under the auspices of “matters of policy.” The MMF argues that the CCGAA does not give the Manitoba Government full operational control over the province’s Crown corporations.
The case also raises significant issues involving modern Aboriginal law, including, the honour of the Crown as a constitutional principle. This is because the Minister, based on the provincial Cabinet’s approval, directed Manitoba Hydro not to proceed with a July 2017 Agreement that was negotiated pursuant to the trilateral Turning the Page Agreement (TPA) between the provincial government, Manitoba Hydro, and the MMF.
The TPA includes agreed processes for the parties to address the impacts of Hydro projects on the Aboriginal rights of the Métis. Among those processes, it specifically authorized the negotiations between Manitoba Hydro and the MMF and provided for a detailed, three-party dispute resolution process. Manitoba now denies in court that it was obligated to comply with the TPA processes before issuing a unilateral directive to Manitoba Hydro. The MMF’s claim challenges Manitoba’s actions based on the honour of the Crown and section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.