Staff evicted from a gas bar on a Manitoba First Nation have won a court injunction allowing them to reopen the business.
David Doer, part of a management group that has operated the Red Sun Smoke Shop and Gas Bar on the Roseau River reserve since 2007, hopes to open the doors again by Monday. The court ruling came down on Thursday.
"Had we lost it would have been disastrous for all First Nation people because there would be no incentives at all to have your own business on the reserve," said Doer, owns the building and the gas pumps and said he invested a lot. "So this is a great win for every First Nation in Canada."
"This gives the businessperson some protection now that you can invest in a First Nation and your money will be protected and the courts will protect you," he said.
Doer and his staff were locked out of the business last week in a dispute with the First Nation, which owns the land where the station is located.
At the time, Chief Ken Henry Jr. held a news conference and said the gas bar's operating profits have not been shared with the First Nation, as was supposed to happen.
He also claimed Roseau's former chief, Terry Nelson, was profiting from the business instead of the First Nation as a whole. Nelson's daughter is a partner in the business with Doer.
Henry also said the proper processes were not followed to designate authority to operate a business on the land. Instead, the rules were "purposely circumvented by past leadership for their own personal gain."
Henry has not said if he intends to appeal the injunction ruling.