Motions made by the Manitoba Métis Federation and the Assembly of First Nations to intervene in an appeal were dismissed after the Court found that there was insufficient basis to grant the motions. Both parties failed to persuade the Court to find that their submission were useful and different from the immediate parties in a way that wouldn’t unnecessarily expand the appeal. The Manitoba Métis Federation also requested an expansion of time to file supporting documents, which was granted by the Court given its incidental nature.
By way of background, the defendant, the Government of Manitoba, has appealed an order granting interlocutory injunctive relief preventing it from carrying out further work on a road in order to take action on a proposed flood management system in the Interlake region of Manitoba. This interlocutory injunction relief comes as a response to a motion by the plaintiffs, which consist of the Interlake Reserves Tribal council, as well as several First Nations within the area, who alleged that this development of the land would be an infringement on the exercise of their Indigenous and treaty rights. The defendant denies this infringement of rights. The hearing of this appeal is set for February 2021.
The Manitoba Métis Federation [“MMF”] and the Assembly of First Nations [“AFN”] seek to intervene in this appeal. As well, the MMF also requests an extension of time to file its supporting affidavit and memorandum of submissions on the intervention motion. The plaintiffs consent to the motions, while the defendant is opposed.
The Court dealt first with the MMF’s motion to extend time. The MMF filed its motion to intervene within 30 days after the defendant filed its notice of appeal. However, counsel for the MMF failed to file the supporting affidavit and memorandum of submissions at least four days before the initial hearing date and because of this, the motion to intervene was not done in a timely manner. In assessing whether or not an extension of time should be granted to the MMF, the Court considered that the delay is brief, and does not create prejudice to any party. As a result, the Court required that the extension of time to the MMF be granted.
The relevant case law states that an intervener should have either a direct interest in the outcome of the appeal or a special expertise or unique perspective relating to the subject matter (R v Morgentaler,  1 SCR 462). In applying this case law with the specifics of AFN’s motion to intervene, the Court found that much of the AFN’s submissions duplicated those of the plaintiffs or were not relevant to the issues before the Court. Given this, the Court was not persuaded that the AFN would provide submissions useful and different from those of the plaintiffs and dismissed the AFN’s intervention motion. Similarly, with regard to the MMF’s motion to intervene, the Court was not persuaded that the MMF’s submissions were useful or different from the immediate parties and would unnecessarily expand the appeal. Further, the Count also stated that the MMF did not have a direct interest in the outcome of the appeal, as language used by the MMF was overly vague and inconsistent in stating their direct interest in the outcome of the appeal. As a result, the Court also dismissed the MMF’s intervention motion.