Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 09/6/2013 10:58 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 09/6/2013 3:40 PM | Updates
Criticism is fine as long as it’s not misleading.
That’s the sum of a Manitoba Hydro news release today condemning the Canadian Taxpayer Federation for its "misleading statements" regarding the Crown corporation’s consultations with First Nations on northern hydro development.
"There is nothing new in the information released by the CTF -- except for the fact that a close reading of the documents reveals that Manitoba Hydro carefully audits payments for its consultation process with First Nations, rather than the depiction of a careless handling of payments as implied by the CTF," Hydro president and CEO Scott Thomson said.
Thomson’s remarks are in response to a claim made by CTF spokesman Colin Craig this week that Hydro paid close to $75,000 for a signing ceremony involving Hydro and Tataskweyak Cree Nation (TCN) upon conclusion of a deal to partner in the development of the proposed Keeyask generating station.
Craig also produced documents that showed lawyers and consultants hired by the First Nation charged more than $250 per hour to aid it with its negotiations with the Crown corporation.
Thomson said that Hydro's new approach to hydroelectric development is an inclusive one that engages Aboriginal people prior to projects being built to reduce the impact of those developments.
He said in a statement that while expenditures on Aboriginal engagement are significant in absolute terms, they are a small percentage of the overall anticipated project costs.
He said a number of the documents were Hydro memos accompanying reimbursement for expenses agreed to with First Nation partners, each containing explanations for expenses claimed, but disallowed or adjusted in accordance with pre-determined budgets or claim limits.
"This illustrates that Hydro has not provided anyone with a 'blank cheque' but that any expenditures are agreed upon in advance and invoices are checked and corrected if necessary," Thomson said.
Band council resolution documents show that TCN chief and council exercised their prerogative in engaging consultants at rates higher than Hydro's reimbursement rates, Hydro said.
Thomson said the band absorbs those costs, not Hydro customers.
The issue of these costs has also been a running theme from the Progressive Conservative Opposition during the extended legislative sitting this summer.
Updated on Friday, September 6, 2013 at 3:40 PM CDT: Corrects lede.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Trial for 2004 killing of Boulanger delayed a year
Marty Green files appeal of trespassing conviction
Inn at the Forks to operate CMHR's restaurant
Sanders wants city decisions to consider environmental consequences
Police nab suspected vehicle thieves
Treaty material not mandatory, but can be integrated across K-12 curriculum: minister
Two people rescued, pet dies in Furby Street fire
Ndinawe youth centre to be get expanded hours
TV appearance big deal for women with Winnipeg ties
Man recovering from stab wounds
Winnipeggers still enjoying warm weather
Man fatally stabbed for staying too long at cousin's home
Appeal court reserves decision in Sinclair case
Boycott used to protest spending
Assiniboine Park Zoo gets thumbs-up
Candidate juggling too many balls
Union fans flame of Judy W-L's bid
Incoming U of W president promises new, collaborative approach
Norway House man found dead, 24-year-old arrested
Councillors back inquiry into missing, slain women
Identity of homicide victim confirmed
City stacked with police officers
Browaty contends park announcement on the up-and-up