Manitoba

Mining framework promises improved First Nations negotiations, but Metis Federation says it wasn't consulted

The Manitoba government is touting a new framework for negotiating mining rights with Indigenous communities, while fielding complaints that the Manitoba Metis Federation was once again not consulted.

Province says protocol will create certainty for Manitoba communities as battle with MMF continues

Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen is optimistic that further mineral exploration in northern Manitoba will yield dividends and ultimately more jobs. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The Manitoba government is touting a new framework for negotiating mining rights with First Nations communities, while fielding complaints that the Manitoba Metis Federation was once again not consulted.

Growth Minister Blaine Pedersen released a new protocol Friday to "create certainty" by defining how Crown-Indigenous consultations will work in all phases of mineral development, he said in a release. 

"There is tremendous potential for wealth and job creation in mineral development in Manitoba, and we are working together with First Nation communities to ensure they can help create and share in the benefits of growth in this sector," said Pedersen. 

The province also said a $500,000 fund will be available to help Manitoba First Nations develop agreements under the protocol and set up boards for planning. 

The Manitoba Metis Federation says one thing was missed: consulting the Métis. 

The federation is currently suing the province, after a $67-million deal ensuring MMF support for Manitoba Hydro projects such as a planned Manitoba-Minnesota transmission line was scuttled last year.

Premier Brian Pallister called the agreement "hush money," triggering the mass resignation of all but one of the members of Hydro's board last year.

"Pallister is making policy decisions based on personal vendetta — he is saying his way or the highway," Manitoba Metis Federation president David Chartrand said in a release Friday. 

"Same as the Hydro file — he does not think things through and creates more problems than he solves. Indigenous Peoples, farmers, and everyday Manitobans are demanding accountability."

The Metis Federation made a similar complaint when the mining protocols were being negotiated last summer.