WINNIPEG, MB. - I’m not ready for double or triple hydro rates, are you?
It is not good enough to lie down quietly and accept that we and our kids and our kids’ kids and their kids after that are going to have to pay for the NDP debacle that is Hydro. The scandalous mismanagement of Manitoba Hydro and the callous disregard of rational analyses, has put our province and its people at risk, due to the NDP government’s stubborn insistence on following an ill-advised path of expansion even in the face of well-founded, sensible advice to the contrary.
Manitobans deserve to know what happened and why, and then we need to create a strategy so that such abuse of a public utility can never happen again.
To get to the bottom of this scandal and ensure that it can never happen again, we need the province to call a public enquiry into the mistakes and misjudgements by the then-NDP government and its politically appointed board and management that have lead to a debt of over $6 billion and a resulting call for rate increases that will severely damage our people and our economy.
Here are some of the questions that need to be asked:
And finally, what are the details of the ‘partnerships’ concluded with First nations as their consolation prize for not getting the opportunities that would have come their way with an East side line construction?
There are just a few of the unanswered questions that a public enquiry needs to uncover. And while they are at it, the enquiry should also look into the details and rationale surrounding the decision to fund health care vesting for people who suffer a catastrophic health episode, disrupting their ability to earn a living and therefore becoming unable to afford the first $1,500 or so of pharmaceutical costs? Why would funds from a utility be used for such a purpose? And how many more of these side deals were in play where Hydro has been used as a piggy bank for the NDP government?
These are very serious issues. If allowed to go through, the proposed rate increases will have a devastating impact on many of Manitoba’s most vulnerable citizens, especially those in rural Manitoba and the north, where some Hydro bills are already stretching past $600 a month. A doubling or even tripling of rates will also have a negative impact on our attractiveness to industry and other businesses.
A public enquiry will turn the spotlight on how this mess came to be and it give the new government the ammunition it needs to ensure that such events never happen again.
The new Hydro board and government continue to look for creative answers to clean up the mess. Seeing into all the nasty, murky little dealings of the 17-year NDP-Hydro partnership can only help in discovering the solution.
Dorothy Dobbie, Manitoba Post