Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Bipole III line must go ahead now: Selinger

  • Print

Premier Greg Selinger said today if the Bipole III transmission line is stalled it will set Manitoba back in economic growth.

"We need to stop talking about it. We need to get on with the show," he said at a breakfast meeting of Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.

Selinger also said if Hugh McFadyen's Progressive Conservatives form the next government, and cancel the bipole's west side route, it will also damage Manitoba Hydro's reputation as a power exporter and put the province at risk of blackouts.

The Tories say they'll cancel the west side route in favour of a shorter and less expensive route down the east side of the province without hurting export plans.

Four years ago the NDP decided to build the new transmission line, to be the third bringing power south from northern dams, to protect the boreal forest on east side of Lake Winnipeg, and a bid to designate it as a United Nations world heritage site.

Manitoba Hydro is in early stages of building the Keeyask dam and has the larger Conawapa generating station on the drawing board.

The two dams are needed for Hydro to export more power to Minnesota and Wisconsin over the next 20 years, to earn Hydro $21 billion in anticipated revenue.

"It's very important we do it now," Selinger said. "Once you make the investment the returns last for decades."

He also said Hydro is also planning to expand wind farms, but can't lose its focus on building the two new dams. The province's newest dam, Wuskwatim near Thompson, is to come online in several months.

Selinger said after the speech Bipole III also has to proceed as planned to bring stability to the Manitoba or domestic market.

"It’s a $54-billion economy which is more than $4 billion dollars a month," he said. "If you did not have electricity in Manitoba because you don’t build the additional converter stations and additional transmission, that could stall the economy and stalling the economy could have very serious consequences for our economic prosperity. That’s why we need to build it now."

He added Hydro is looking at exporting more power to Saskatchewan and tapping into the Alberta market.

Progessive Conservative leader Hugh McFadyen raised BiPole III as an election issue while campaigning in Dawson Trail constituency southeast of Winnipeg on Thursday.

Standing in a windswept field east of Landmark with local Conservative candidate Laurent Tetrault at his side, McFadyen repeated a party promise to put the brakes on a western route for the hydro transmission line, which he said may be "the worst public policy decision in Manitoba history."

Speaking to a small group of supporters, he said the line will have a negative impact on the area and be "a blight on the community."

Tetrault said the BiPole issue "has really exploded" in the area in the past few weeks as residents realize that the huge transmission towers will be a part of their lives.

Also Thursday, University of Alberta Professor David Schindler and 74 other scientists issued a letter today supporting the NDP’s decision to route Bipole III away from the east side boreal forest and down the west side of the province. Click here to read the letter.

-- with files from Larry Kusch


Updated on Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM CDT: Adds photo

1:50 PM: Updates with more quotes from Selinger, adds letter endorsing Bipole III's route

3:08 PM: Adds Hugh McFadyen promising to stop western route of Bipole III

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Family of Matias De Antonio speaks outside Law Courts

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A Great Horned Owl that was caught up in some soccer nets in Shamrock Park in Southdale on November 16th was rehabilitated and returned to the the city park behind Shamrock School and released this afternoon. Sequence of the release. December 4, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos


Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

View Results

Ads by Google