Displaced Residents of South Indian Lake

June 16, 2005 12:11 ET

Communities Petition Manitoba Legislature with Hydro Concerns

Opposition Tables First Nation Petitions Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor SOUTH INDIAN LAKE, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - June 16, 2005) - Over the past several days petitions have been tabled in the Manitoba Legislature by the Opposition, on behalf of Cree Nation band members. The petitions raise concerns about proposed hydro dams in northern Manitoba.

The petitions, signed by many Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) band members of Nelson House request Elections Manitoba to supervise the required community referendum votes for the Wuskwatim Hydro Dam.

Federal Environment Minister Stephane Dion and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Andy Scott have received letters from concerned citizens about tactics employed by Manitoba Hydro and the Manitoba Government to fast-track community approval of upcoming hydro dams. A recent CBC Manitoba I Team report revealed questionable spending related to promoting the Keeyask Dam to Tataskweyak Cree Nation (TCN) band members at Split Lake Manitoba. The Auditor General of Manitoba has been asked to investigate by the leaders of both Manitoba Opposition Parties .

Norm McIvor of Split Lake states that band members are "waiting for the Auditor General to investigate and find out where tens of millions of dollars have gone." McIvor added that a March 2005 Manitoba Hydro presentation to the World Bank in Washington DC "gave the false impression that the Keeyask Dam and partnership deal between TCN and Manitoba Hydro is a done deal and strongly supported by all band members".

Carol Kobliski of Nelson House Justice Seekers has also requested the Auditor General of Manitoba "conduct a comprehensive investigation of all financial dealings and agreements between Manitoba Hydro, the Government of Manitoba and NCN Chief and Council in relation to the Wuskwatim Hydro Projects." Kobliski added "there seems to be a pattern of Manitoba Hydro and the government throwing a lot of money around to try to buy support for these dams without conducting meaningful consultations."

Angus Dysart, President of the Displaced Residents of South Indian Lake, echoed these concerns in a March 15, 2005 letter to Minister Scott criticizing the sudden rush to create a new reserve at South Indian Lake Manitoba as a way "to block NCN members at South Indian Lake to vote in the Wuskwatim Hydro Project Referendum". Dysart states "this whole process of hydro development lacks transparency, openness and honesty."

In late 2004 eight hundred NCN band members signed a petition to the federal government to request a forensic audit of NCN finances. Over 40,000 individuals have also requested a full federal environmental review of the Wuskwatim Project.
/For further information: Carol Kobliski 1-204-484-2594 or 1-204-484-2246
Norm McIvor 1-204-342-2580/ IN: ECONOMY, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCE, FORESTRY

Contact Information

  • Angus Dysart
    Primary Phone: 204-778-7447