Manitoba government had right to cancel Metis benefits deal, judge rules

A Manitoba judge has ruled the provincial government was within its rights to cancel a $67-million agreement with the Manitoba Metis Federation.

Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of Court of Queen’s Bench says the move was a reasonable exercise of powers the provincial cabinet has in its stewardship of Crown-owned Manitoba Hydro.

The federation and Manitoba Hydro reached an agreement several years ago that would have given the Metis federation $67 million for supporting hydro projects such as a new transmission line to Minnesota.

That support would have helped secure faster approvals at regulatory hearings.

Premier Brian Pallister called the deal “hush money,” and he and his cabinet cancelled it in 2018.

The Metis federation, saying cabinet had no right to quash a deal reached by its Crown corporation, had asked the court to overturn Pallister’s decision and reinstate the agreement.

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