Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/9/2013 (1376 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba Hydro is the crown jewel and future of our great province, a legacy that will provide generations with clean energy.
However, one must wonder how long that legacy will last when the line between government and Crown corporation begins to blur, and Manitoba’s second-largest employer loses its financial direction. Accountability to the ratepayer is of the utmost importance to a public utility and Manitoba Hydro is having a hard time being accountable for the decisions of the current NDP government.
The adverse effects agreement for the upcoming Keeyask generating station was signed by four Cree Nations in 2009, with Hydro providing real material assets (infrastructure) meant to strengthen the communities for years to come. Chief among these projects were a $5-million community centre for the Tataskweyak Cree Nation, $3 million for a water and sewer project for TCN, and a $3-million community centre for the Fox Lake First Nation.
The bulk of the millions were forwarded by Manitoba Hydro years ago, as per the adverse effects agreements. Now, after almost five years, there is no community centre in TCN, no water and sewer project in TCN, and no community centre in Fox Lake.
NDP Hydro Minister Dave Chomiak claims Hydro’s responsibility ends the second a cheque is written. However, as ratepayers in Manitoba, we deserve to know why Chomiak takes no responsibility in paying the operating costs, salaries, programming fees and trail maintenance costs for community centres that don’t exist, and for employees who don’t exist.
Both he and Hydro know there is nothing more than open land at these sites, but for years, has forwarded millions for virtual operating costs. The responsibility of this minister doesn’t stop at the cutting of a cheque, and the waste of ratepayers’ money on such a scale cannot continue.
After 114 days of advocating in the legislature, and 49 direct questions during the session, Manitobans deserve better than this NDP government passing the blame and not looking where its own cheques land.
RON R. SCHULER
MLA for St. Paul,
Critic for Manitoba Hydro