OmniTrax alleges non-disclosure violation by premier and senior minister

The company alleges the unapproved disclosures were made to an accounting firm 
and First Nation government

As the province headed to the polls the Winnipeg Free Press was reporting NDP Leader Greg Selinger, senior cabinet minister, Steve Ashton and the Manitoba government are being sued by OmniTrax Canada.

Selinger and Ashton, the province’s infrastructure and transportation minister, are accused of breaching a non-disclosure agreement in relation to the proposed deal to sell the Hudson Bay Railway and Port of Churchill to a group of First Nations, the article states.

According to court documents obtained by the newspaper, the parties entered into a non-disclosure agreement in March 2015 after Selinger and Ashton were provided with confidential information about the company’s business plan. The lawsuit alleges they then disclosed confidential information to an accounting firm and Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) a First Nation near The Pas, about 600 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.

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port of churchill

The claim states OmniTrax was at the time exclusively negotiating the sale with Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, 800 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. The deal, with a consortium of 10 northern Manitoba First Nations led by Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, was formally announced in January.

“The unlawful and wrongful conduct of the defendants… amounts to a deliberate, high-handed, wanton and outrageous interference with the plaintiff’s right,” the claim, filed in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, states.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

A spokesman for the Manitoba government said the province has not received the statement of claim and has not filed a statement of defence.

The NDP, in a written response, called the allegations in the lawsuit “unsubstantiated” and said government officials are reviewing the claims.

OmniTrax Canada operates the Hudson Bay Railway, which connects many isolated northern communities as well as the Port of Churchill, which once relied heavily on grain shipments from the Canadian Wheat Board.

The CWB was dismantled as a single-desk buyer of wheat and barley by the former federal Conservative government.

Merv Tweed became president of OmniTrax after he resigned as the Conservative MP for Brandon-Souris in 2013.

Prior to that, Tweed was a Manitoba Tory MLA.

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