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More random thoughts

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Manitoba Hydro

I reported last week that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a deal between Duluth-based Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro.

The 15-year agreement calls for Minnesota Power to buy 250 megawatts of hydroelectric power from Manitoba Hydro beginning in 2020.

The NDP have said the deal is worth $1 billion to the province and requires the construction of the Keeyask generating station.

Here’s how the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported the commission’s decision.



I find it tough to believe the Harper government will tinker with raising Old Age Security to 67 from 65.

It seems to me that if it really does follow through, all those older voters out there like me and my ilk will remember it in the next federal election.

I also don’t know the how in the world the Tories can monkey with Canada’s public pension plan when RRSPs and other funds are taking such a beating.

You want us to save more money for our retirement, Steve?

After looking at my statement this week my best bet is vacuuming up loose change in the couch and running a magnet through the washing machine after doing the laundry.


Dr. Joel Kettner

My colleague Larry Kusch recently wrote about the Manitoba government cutting its chief public health officer Dr. Joel Kettner loose a few weeks ago.

Neither side has said why.

The story reminded me of what happened to Dr. Richard Stanwick, Winnipeg’s former chief medical officer.

Stanwick left the city for Victoria B.C. in 1996 to head up the Victoria Capital Region Health District.

Within three years Stanwick led Victoria to be the first Canadian city ban all smoking in restaurants and bars.

Before he moved west, Stanwick wanted Winnipeg and the province to do the same thing, but had only been able to convince Manitoba schools to go smoke-free.

Bars and restaurants only went smoke-free in Manitoba in 2004.

I just mention this only because if Stanwick’s experience is any indication, look for Kettner to go on to bigger and better things, and for Manitoba to follow him.


Manitoba’s PCs

They’ve just put out a revamped list of critic duties. Here’s who’s who in the Tory shadow cabinet:

  • Hugh McFadyen - Leader, Federal-Provincial Relations; Francophone Affairs
  • Bonnie Mitchelson - Family Services; Persons with Disabilities
  • Myrna Driedger - Health - Status of Women; Healthy Living; Seniors
  • Larry Maguire - Conservation
  • Ron Schuler - Sport; Workers Compensation Board; MLCC
  • Heather Stefanson - Finance; Crown Corporations Council
  • Ralph Eichler - Caucus Chair, Infrastructure and Transportation; Government Services
  • Kelvin Goertzen - Deputy Leader; Caucus Whip; Justice; Constitutional Affairs
  • Leanne Rowat - Housing and Community Development
  • Mavis Taillieu - House Leader ; Culture, Heritage and Tourism and now Multiculturalism and Immigration
  • Cliff Cullen - Innovation, Energy and Mines; Labour
  • Blaine Pedersen - Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives
  • Stu Briese - Local Government; Emergency Measures and now Aboriginal and Northern Affairs; CEDF; Civil Service
  • Cliff Graydon - Cooperative Development; Lotteries; Gaming
  • Reg Helwer - Manitoba Hydro; Manitoba Public Insurance
  • Ian Wishart - Water Stewardship
  • Cameron Friesen - Education
  • Dennis Smook - Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade; Consumer Affairs
  • Wayne Ewasko - Advanced Education and Literacy and now Children and Youth Opportunities and Healthy Child Manitoba

They’ve each got about three months to get ready for when they need to shine, in the days after the Selinger government tables its new budget and we go through the budget estimates process.

It’s in those meetings where the Tory critics need to know enough about each of their departments — most already do — to ask the right questions about how the province spends our money.

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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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