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Winnipeg water case

by NationTalk on March 14, 2012296 Views

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 14, 2012

Today, Iskatewizaagegan Independent First Nation has taken its first steps in seeking a judicial review of Winnipeg’s plans to sell Iskatewizaagegan water to Rural Municipalities. The papers were delivered to the Manitoba Provincial Court by Nation Councilors Leon Mandamin, Fawn Wapioke and Phyllis Pinnesse.The application was prepared by lawyers John Olthuis, Cathy Guirguis and Renee Pellitier of the Toronto law firm Olthuis, Kleer, Townshend, LLP and approved by the Nation on March 9, 2012.

The Nation is requesting the following remedies:

(a) An order setting aside the City of Winnipeg’s December 14, 2011 decision to negotiation water service sharing agreements with neighbouring municipalities;
(b) An order setting aside the City of Winnipeg’s December 14, 2011 decision to finalize the service sharing agreement with the Rural Municipality of West St. Paul;
(c) An order setting aside any water service sharing agreements entered into pursuant to the City of Winnipeg’s December 14, 2011 decision;
(d) An order prohibiting the City of Winnipeg from entering into any future water service sharing agreements pursuant to the City of Winnipeg’s December 14, 2011 decision;
(e) A declaration that the City of Winnipeg is required to abide by and stay within the limits of the authority inherited from the Greater Winnipeg Water District granted by the Ontario Government in its Order in Council (2 October 1913) and by the International Joint Commission in its 14 January 1914 decision, and abide by all the terms and conditions set out therein;
(f) A declaration that the negotiation and conclusion of water service sharing agreements with neighbouring municipalities is outside of the City of Winnipeg’s jurisdiction; or
(g) In the alternative to (e) and (f), a declaration that the City of Winnipeg has breached its legal and constitutional duty to consult with and accommodate the Applicant;
(h) In the alternative to (e) and (f), an order requiring the City of Winnipeg to consult with and accommodate the Applicant with respect to negotiating water service sharing agreements with neighbouring municipalities and any corresponding potential increase to the taking of water;
(i) In the alternative to (g) and (h), a declaration that the legal and constitutional duty to consult with and accommodate the Applicant has been breached;
(j) In the alternative to (g) and (h), an order requiring the Crown entity who owes the duty to fulfill its obligation to consult with and accommodate the Applicant with respect to negotiating water service sharing agreements with neighbouring municipalities and any corresponding potential increase to the taking of water;
(k) The costs of this Application on such terms as this Honourable Court may determine;
(l) And such further and other relief as this Honourable Court may determine to be just.
The focus of the issue goes to the fact that the governments of Canada, Manitoba, Ontario and the City of Winnipeg have been illegally taking Shoal Lake water without the consent of the Nation and has plans to increase the taking of water.. That consent is required by Treaty #3 wherein it states:

Her Majesty reserves the right to deal with such settlers as She shall deem just so as not to diminish the extent of land allotted to Indians; and provided also that the aforesaid reserves of lands, or any interest or right therein or appurtenant thereto, may be sold, leased or otherwise disposed of by the said Government for the use and benefit of the said Indians, with the consent of the Indians entitled thereto first had and obtained.” (Emphasis added)

The Nation’s water rights are an issue that is “appurtenant thereto” and clearly requires Nation consent.

The Nation has always hoped that this issue could be negotiated but unfortunately the City of Winnipeg has consistently rejected our overtures for talks.

For further information contact: Mike Myers (807) 733-2560 or skanon7[at]gmail.com, or the lawyers at (416) 981-9330.

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