On Friday 6 July 2018, Treaty 2 Grand Chief Norman Bone and the Chiefs of the First Nations of the Treaty 2 territory held a Media Conference at the Manitoba Legislature to address the Premier of Manitoba’s declaration that the half a billion dollar megaprojects related to the construction of dams, channels, and roads in Treaty 2 Territory are “emergency measures”.
Grand Chief Bone noted that these megaprojects will affect the rights and interests of ALL Peoples of the First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory. Declaring them emergency measures is a way to avoid doing an environmental assessment, and to circumvent the legal requirement to consult with and accommodate the Treaty 2 First Nations, he said.
Earlier this June, two years after being announced, Premier Brian Pallister declared these megaprojects as “emergency measures”. He also announced that construction of roads alongside the proposed channels would begin immediately.
The Treaty 2 Chiefs wrote to the Premier, raising their concerns that his announcement that the megaprojects were “emergency measures” would mean that there would be no environmental assessment of the project, and that the duty to consult and accommodate the rights and interests of the Treaty 2 First Nations throughout the Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin region would be suspended.
The Chiefs did not receive a reply to their urgent letter to the Premier. Calls to the Premier’s office by the Chiefs’ representative were unsuccessful in obtaining any new information.
Consequently, the Chiefs organized the Media Conference to inform the People of Manitoba and their Government that they will strongly oppose any move to declare the megaprojects as “emergency measures”.
The Chiefs said they will strongly oppose any move to start construction on the megaprojects until there has been an environmental assessment of the projects. The Chiefs also insisted that the legally-required consultation process as to what accommodations are necessary to protect the rights and interests of Treaty 2 First Nations has to happen.
“We will take whatever action we need take to protect the land and our people’s rights, including legal action, including direct action, if necessary.”
Southern Chiefs Organization Grand Chief Jerry Daniels, and AFN Regional Vice Chief Kevin Hart were on hand to support the Chiefs of the Treaty 2 territory. The media conference was attended by local journalists and camera crews from APTN and CBC News.
Last modified: September 8, 2018