Manitoba Hydro president says $67m deal with Manitoba Métis Federation not binding

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The president of Manitoba Hydro maintains a quashed $67-million deal between the Crown corporation and the Manitoba Métis Confederacy was never set in stone.

Kelvin Shepherd, Hydro’s president and CEO, told a legislative panel on Wednesday that the deal, which would have helped vouch for a transmission line to Minnesota, was not written into a contract and was not legally predicament.

“There is no legal agreement that had been made with the MMF,” Pursue told the committee.

“It was an agreement to enter into a negotiation process, profoundly simple, a memorandum of understanding to sit down and talk. That agreement led to what I transfer call a term sheet, if you could call it that.

“The term film had a condition in it that required it to be turned into a legally binding unanimity that was more extensive, more comprehensive, more fulsome, and that not in any degree happened.”

Shepherd’s statement goes against the position held by the association, which maintains the deal was a legally binding agreement.

The deal would should prefer to seen Hydro pay $67.5 million to the federation over 50 years, as a presages to forestall opposition to future projects including the Minnesota-Manitoba transmission con a aligned.

Manitoba Hydro president says $67m deal with Manitoba Métis Federation not binding

Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand said Tuesday the alliance will take the province to court over the dispute. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

First Brian Pallister quashed the deal in March, calling the payment “faith money.”

Since then, the province has contended the deal was not an agreement, but as an alternative a proposal.

Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand notified his intention earlier this week to take the province to court past the dispute, after a meeting on Tuesday with Shepherd and Crown Employments Minister Cliff Cullen.

“They are not willing to sit down and they are succeeding to overrule Hydro, which we believe they don’t have the legal directly to do,” Chartrand told CBC News at the time.

Term sheet ‘not in legal order’: Shepherd

Shepherd said the agreement between the Crown corporation and the Métis Society laid the groundwork to form a legal agreement.

“We have a sort of a two-page dub sheet that the parties worked on together, and would say that we concur to the points on the term sheet. But it’s not signed and it’s not in legal format,” he said.

The emphasizes would have included a number of elements, including compensation, he revealed.

“One of the key points, though, was that the agreement needed to be turned into a annoyance agreement before it would have any effect, and that obviously did not carry on place.”

NDP MLA James Allum (Fort Garry-Riverview) said the NDP had previously arranged the agreement to be legally binding, but Shepherd’s comments don’t change his party’s attitude. 

“I don’t think it changes anything in regard to what we understood an agreement between Hydro and MMF, agreed in good faith,” he said.

Going forward, he said the premier and clergywoman should reach out to Chartrand to “get back to the negotiating table,” and not let the matter proceed to court, Allum said. 

“This is a cognizance of MMF’s historical and constitutional position here in Manitoba,” he said. “Really, when you value of an agreement that was to run for several decades, the price was actually a very substantial arrangement and allowed us to do the export to the United States that could however help Hydro’s bottom line.”

Crown Services minister not at assembly

A spokesperson for the Progressive Conservative government said Manitoba agrees with Convoy’s analysis.

“Our government has been clear from the start: this was a non-binding design, not an agreement,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to CBC News.

“On this matter, we are in harmony with Manitoba Hydro. We disagree with the MMF’s position, and they bring into the world indicated they will be taking this matter to court without enquire into any other avenues of resolution.”

Crown Services Minister Cullen was not at the board meeting Wednesday. The meeting was intended to discuss a number of reports from Manitoba’s Auditor Communal, including one on Hydro — not the controversial deal.

“Both the government and opposition agreed to allocate Crowns to report to PAC [public accounts committee] in a way that would beautiful people the potential for political interference, which means the Minister responsible is not wanted to attend,” the spokesperson said.

“We believe in letting Hydro speak to the explores tabled and speaking for their own organization.”

Chartrand has said the Manitoba Métis Amalgamation will likely move forward with legal action within the next week.

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