Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Court to rule on PUB-MPI spat

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THE Public Utilities Board is seeking help from the courts to get more information about Manitoba Public Insurance's operations.

Earlier this month, the PUB asked the Manitoba Court of Appeal to rule on whether it can require MPI to disclose overall revenues and costs.

MPI only wants to provide costs and revenues relating to the provision of basic Autopac insurance, while the PUB wants everything -- including services in which MPI competes with the private sector.

Brian Smiley, a spokesman for MPI, said the corporation believes in the PUB's rate-setting role, adding that it "results in true accountability and transparency."

"Our opinion is that we're fully complying with how the legislation is written," Smiley said.

In the legislature Tuesday, the Tories accused the Selinger government of wasting tax dollars by allowing a court battle to occur instead of simply directing the Crown corporation to be accountable.

"They (the PUB) shouldn't have to go to court to get information that properly belongs to the public," Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen said afterwards.

Andrew Swan, the minister responsible for MPI, defended the auto insurer's refusal to disclose information that would compromise its competitive position.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 28, 2010 A5

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