Monday, June 15, 2009

Complaint filed with Manitoba Ombudsman

Following Manitoba Hydro's refusal to release details of expenses incurred during negotiations for the Keeyask dam project, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation filed a complaint today with the Manitoba Ombudsman's office.

Further, the CTF forwarded a copy of the complaint to Culture Minister Eric Robinson and once again called on the government to eliminate a recent legislative change that will allow governments to refuse requests by the public for documents that involve First Nations governments.

Below is the email that was sent to Minister Robinson.

Dear Minister Robinson,

Attached is a complaint that was filed today by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) with the Manitoba Ombudsman’s office. The complaint was filed after a CTF freedom of information request was rejected by Manitoba Hydro.

You will note in Manitoba Hydro’s April 17, 2009 response that it is using new legislation, which allows a public body to refuse disclosure of information that involve First Nation governments, as grounds for denying access to Keeyask dam expense details.

However, as you are aware, the new legislation that Manitoba Hydro cited as grounds for refusing access, has not been proclaimed. Therefore it is not yet law.

As the CTF, the Provincial Council of Women and concerned first nations band members predicted in a September 9, 2008 meeting with yourself and department staff, the new legislation is being used to withhold important information from the public. In this case, it is to the detriment of both Manitoba Hydro ratepayers and first nation band members that are trying to gain insight into how millions of dollars have been spent.

As the dangerous implications of the new legislation are now clear, the CTF once again requests that you remove the clauses which make it harder for all Manitobans, including first nations band members, to learn how public funds are being spent in aboriginal communities.

Thank you for considering this matter.


Colin Craig
Manitoba Director - Canadian Taxpayers Federation

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