Recently, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives came to the defence of Manitoba Hydro and the provincial government in a letter to the editor in the Brandon Sun.
While praising Manitoba Hydro and the provincial government, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives forgot to note it has received more than $150,000 from the two organizations over the
last five years, including membership fees from Hydro.
While the CCPA’s bias is clear, it should be noted that independent experts — who are not receiving money from the government — have grave concerns with Manitoba Hydro’s expansion.
Graham Lane, the government’s own former top watchdog on Manitoba Hydro’s expansion plan, has sounded the alarm bell numerous times. Lane has repeatedly noted that Hydro’s risky plan could lead to a “tripling” of Hydro rates.
Former Manitoba Hydro board chair Len Bateman and former CEO Will Tishinski have also expressed concerns with Hydro’s plan. So have former premiers Ed Schreyer (NDP) and Gary Filmon (PC). The bottom line is, the issue is not a left-right matter; it’s about making sound financial decisions.
While the CCPA recites Hydro’s claim that natural gas-powered electricity costs more than new multibillion-dollar dams, it neglects the fact that Wuskwatim, the last dam Manitoba Hydro built, came in at double the cost. Just imagine if Manitoba Hydro’s expansion plan comes in at $44 billion instead of $22 billion?
Imagine what that will do to your hydro bill.
The CCPA, and government bodies funding it, may not be worried about carefully spending billions on risky hydro projects, but we remain on the side of independent experts who are quite concerned and calling for prudence to get this monumental decision right.
Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 22, 2014