Regarding Premier Greg Selinger’s open letter to Manitobans, I hope voters will look back further than just the last year when reviewing his government’s track record.
We all know that in 2013 he unilaterally rammed through a PST increase to eight per cent without any regard to "due process." Is that what he is apologizing for?
Or is it the "waiver of notice" Order in Council he issued in 2014 that cleared the way for Manitoba Hydro to expropriate more than 200 landowners in the path of the Bipole III route with absolutely no regard for due process and property rights?
For the past 26 months, we have been pressing the government for an opportunity to be able to bargain collectively with Manitoba Hydro. Yet, still, it is refusing to extend the very right to us that your government so cherishes.
Selinger says he is committed to moving Manitoba forward because everyone matters. April 19 is less than two months away. It is not too late to show us that we matter, too.
Re: Jurgen Kohler's question as to whether Selinger's apology to Manitobans includes a mea culpa for his November 2014 action authorizing, without due process, Hydro to expropriate farmland so that the Bipole III transmission line could be punched through the Red River Valley, that is only part of the story.
Right today, in Hydro's rush to advance the project as far as it can before the election, Hydro's contractor is out in the fields taking absolutely no precautions to avoid spreading crop diseases from field to field. A new plant-and-soil-borne disease called Club Root is slowly working its way eastward across the Canadian Prairies. It was first found in Manitoba about three years ago. Club Root has the potential to infect Manitoba soils and eventually to eliminate our most important crop as a cropping option.
The spread of the disease can be controlled by means of a biosecurity protocol that requires cleaning soil and plant material that sticks to tires, tracks, drill bits, blades and undercarriage of equipment as it moves from field to field. Hydro's contractor is taking absolutely no such precautions, instead, under the direction of Hydro, calling the RCMP to have farmers who express concern about this risky practice evicted off their own land.
On top of this, Hydro lied to the Committee on Crown Corporations in the Legislature last fall when it assured the Committee the necessary precautions were being taken.
Regarding Jurgen Kohler's comment on Bipole III: The days have passed when an electric transmission line can be rammed across property without the landowner having a say. The Manitoba Hydro Act allows the government to be a dictator to bring in the RCMP if the land owner attempts to resist Manitoba Hydro's incursion on their land.
_As a result, Bipole III has absolutely no Social license, it is ridiculously routed, it is questionable whether it is needed at all since no detailed reliability study was tabled to prove its need, alternatives to Bipole III were falsely evaluated when its cost was estimated at $B3.3 and now its cost is climbing past $B4.77 far exceeding costs of alternatives. _
The Manitoba Hydro Act must be updated by the new government to allow the landowners, First Nations, impacted communities and environmental interests to determine where NECESSARY transmission lines must go with Social License - not by the government through Manitoba Hydro dictating the route despite the useless community "consultations".