Little Sask. First Nation sues Manitoba over flood damage
Manitoba faces 5 lawsuits seeking $1.5B in total damages from 2011 flood
The Manitoba government has been hit with another multimillion-dollar lawsuit from a First Nation over damages from the 2011 flood.
The Little Saskatchewan First Nation is suing both the provincial and federal governments for $100 million each, according to statements of claim filed April 30 with the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.
The First Nation claims that the province operated flood control structures — namely, the Portage Diversion, the Fairford Structure and the Shellmouth Dam — to save populated areas in southern Manitoba from major flooding.
The use of those structures artificially flooded First Nations in the Interlake region, including Little Saskatchewan, according to the statements of claim.
"To Canada's knowledge, the known side effect of the decision taken by Manitoba would be to destroy the property of, and to devastate the lives of people and communities in the Interlake area, including those of the First Nations and its members," the First Nation's statement of claim against the federal government reads in part.
"For the Little Saskatchewan First Nation and its members, the Flood of 2011 was a man-made disaster that was beset upon them by Manitoba with Canada's knowledge and acquiescence."
The First Nation also alleges that the flood control structures were operated "for the benefit for adjusting flows and levels in a manner that assists Manitoba Hydro, a Crown corporation, in its business endeavours."
The allegations contained in the lawsuits have not been proven in court. The provincial and federal governments have not filed statements of defence at this time.
The Manitoba government now faces at least five lawsuits, with total damages exceeding $1.5 billion, from First Nations and individuals affected by the 2011 flood.
Those lawsuits include a $100-million suit filed by the Dauphin River First Nation.
Court documents indicate the province faces nearly a dozen more flood-related lawsuits dating back to the 1997 flood.