Some welcome news in throne speech from Manitoba’s Lieutenant-Governor
November 20, 2018
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, MB. _ In today’s throne speech, Manitoba’s Lieutenant-Governor Janice Filmon stated “further expansion of gaming will be paused pending a review of our gaming strategy.”
“The current gaming framework is not working, so it’s good to know the province will not be making any decisions at this time as they do have the duty to consult First Nations when it affects us,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas.
Manitoba failed to honour its commitments, forcing the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to commence legal action. In October 2017, the AMC, AMC Secretariat Inc., and Sand Hills Casino Resort Limited Partnership filed a statement of claim in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench against the Government of Manitoba for breaching its commitments to First Nations by denying access to the Winnipeg gaming market. An amended statement of claim was filed in February 2018 in relation to breaches of contract, breaches of fiduciary duty, breaches of the duty to consult and negligent misrepresentation in relation to gaming.
“The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has always maintained First Nations have constitutional rights over gaming. We also have contractual rights arising from a 2005 agreement with the province to work together to use gaming to close the standard of living gap,” stated Grand Chief Dumas.
“AMC remains willing to work with the government to achieve a solution and encourages the government’s review of its gaming strategy to include a review of its existing agreements with and commitments to First Nations in Manitoba,” said Grand Chief Dumas.
Later in Filmon’s speech she said the provincial government “has made it a priority to renew its consultation framework in order to ensure respectful and productive consultations with Indigenous communities.”
“The duty to consult includes furthering the Treaty relationship and the long-standing positions of First Nations in Manitoba stemming from Wahbung: Our Tomorrows and The Great Binding Law. It also must include free, prior and informed consent identified in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples along with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to actions,” said Grand Chief Dumas.
This past autumn the Province of Manitoba approached the AMC to engage Manitoba First Nations on its unilateral draft provincial framework for consultation with First Nations along with other Indigenous communities in Manitoba which puts the AMC in a situation that results in First Nations supporting a framework that is not specific to Manitoba First Nations.
“The development of a framework on the duty to consult and accommodate specific to and developed by Manitoba First Nations is critical in advancing reconciliation,” said Grand Chief Dumas.
Accordingly, Grand Chief Dumas informed the province based on the distinct First Nation mandate of the AMC, the Chiefs cannot endorse a document that pertains to non-First Nations, Métis and local Indigenous peoples.
“The development of a framework on the duty to consult and accommodate is an enormous undertaking that requires adequate resources, dedicated professionals, and sufficient time to achieve,” stated Grand Chief Dumas.