Manitoba Metis Federation Inc v Brian Pallister et al, 2020 MBQB 49

Application for judicial review dismissed. The honour of the Crown does not entitle the Manitoba Métis Federation to any special procedural rights in relation to a Lieutenant Governor in Council’s policy decision in the circumstances of this case.

Indigenous Law Centre – CaseWatch Blog

This is an application for judicial review of the Lieutenant Governor in Council’s [“Cabinet”] decision to issue an Order in Council [“OIC”]. The Manitoba Métis Federation Inc [“MMF”] reasons for this application are that fundamental legal and constitutional issues and principles are at risk, including the honour of the Crown. The MMF contends that this is a case of first instance that is of significant importance to the MMF, Manitoba’s Crown corporations, as well as all Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba.

The OIC authorized the Minister of Crown Services to issue “A Directive to Manitoba Hydro Electric Board Respecting Agreements with Indigenous Groups and Communities” [“Directive”]. The Directive purports to seek to align the Government of Manitoba’s policies with the Manitoba Hydro Electric Board’s [“Hydro”] practices regarding all relationship and benefit agreements with Indigenous communities. It requires that any such agreements, including those being developed, either obtain ministerial approval or provide legally required mitigation or compensation measures that address thoroughly defined impacts.

The Court has determined that the honour of the Crown does not apply to the Directive. The Directive requires that relationship and benefit agreements with Indigenous groups provide legally required mitigation or compensation that will address thoroughly defined adverse impacts. If such is not provided, ministerial approval is needed. The Directive in question is a lawful exercise of Cabinet’s power to enforce its stewardship role over Hydro. The Cabinet’s authorization of the Directive and its involvement in, or effect on, the MMF’s negotiations with Hydro, does not engage or trigger the honour of the Crown and by extension, any of the duties that flow therefrom.

The Directive is a lawful and reasonable exercise of Cabinet’s statutory power to enforce its stewardship role over Hydro. Cabinet’s authorization of the Directive and any consequent involvement in or effect on the MMF’s negotiations with Hydro, do not engage the honour of the Crown. Neither the honour of the Crown nor the common law entitled the MMF to any special procedural rights in relation to a Cabinet policy decision in the circumstances of this case.

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