The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says documents it has obtained through freedom of information legislation shows the cost of negotiating dams in northern Manitoba has skyrocketed to $220 million — up from $160 million in 2009.
The cost rises to $223.6 million, if expenses relating to negotiating the Bipole transmission line are included.
The CTF says that in the past, whistleblowers raised concerns about some of the funds being used to pay people to attend meetings and door prizes, such as gaming consoles, TVs and deep freezes.
One band member even provided the CTF with a stub from a cheque from a consulting company that was allegedly provided as pay for attending a meeting about a proposed dam.
Manitoba Hydro has refused to release details on these expenditures, claiming the information is confidential, the CTF says.
Other government bodies, such as the City of Winnipeg, regularly disclose consulting costs and similar expenses, the organization adds.
"How can Manitoba Hydro spend $224 million without providing details to the public?" asked CTF Prairie director Colin Craig. "Taxpayers own Manitoba Hydro so we deserve details on how the money was spent."