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Rushing to judgment

On Nov. 16, 2012 the Province of Manitoba announced that an independent review of Manitoba Hydro's development plans in the form of a "need for and alternatives to" review would be undertaken by a panel of the Public Utilities Board. Many commentators and interested parties had been calling for such a review and Manitoba Hydro had fully expected to justify its plans in just such a public forum.

It appears, however, that Tim Sale (Hydro needs a new vision, Jan.19 and your accompanying editorial, Mr. Sale's advice is sound, can't wait until the review gets underway before condemning Hydro's plans to develop major new hydroelectric generating stations. This suggests a rush to judgment before the facts can even be publicly examined and debated.

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Manitoba Hydro is eager to present and defend its analysis and justification for its proposed development plan. We believe that this plan is in the best interest of our customers and will result in the lowest electricity rates compared to the alternatives. Manitobans should reasonably expect that all interested parties, including journalists, would approach the subject with an open mind, not having prejudged the outcome before the evidence has been presented.

Scott Thomson

President and CEO

Manitoba Hydro


One would think that Tim Sale, as a former NDP cabinet minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro, would have been in a great position to set all those Manitoba Hydro engineers straight.

What he really has to do, however, is to straighten out the thinking and vision of the current crop of NDP ministers. And he has to tell them to stop interfering with and dictating to Manitoba Hydro.

One can tell that Sale is now reasoning almost as clearly as an engineer, even though he comes to the wrong conclusion. In fact, it is the NDP, not Hydro, that has failed, in Sale's own words, to "rethink a tired ethos."

Hydro engineers have bought into wind and natural gas generation (as opposed to coal), and they were well-versed in risk and reliability long before the NDP took root. It is clearly the NDP politicos who now have to wean themselves off the northern-dam fix.

Sale is to be commended for a good article, and we sincerely hope his NDP colleagues will recognize its wisdom. However, let's be clear that most engineers and certainly Hydro engineers are fully aware of Sale's reasoning.

It is because NDP governments have directed Manitoba Hydro engineers to do their bidding rather than allowing Hydro to implement the prevailing wisdom on energy evolution in Manitoba that we are facing a crisis. Unless the government changes its current way of interacting with Manitoba Hydro, the citizens of this province will be on the hook financially for generations to come.




As a writer for a renewable-energy blog, I can agree with Tim Sale that Manitoba Hydro's current energy model is currently outdated.

Disruptive technologies and global trade, along with the ongoing concerns of climate change, have made alternative energies, including wind and solar, not only feasible but a necessity in Manitoba's energy mix.

While some can argue that solar would not do well in Manitoba given its cold climate, Germany, which is not necessarily the warmest place on Earth, had 1.2 million photovoltaic systems in 2012. Last August it became the first country to generate 30 gigawatts peak from solar.

Even some groups in Minnesota, which is known for cold weather just like Manitoba, are considering having 10 per cent of its energy needs come from solar by 2030.

Given the abundance of wind and sunshine in Manitoba, it's time not only Hydro embrace these newer energies, but decentralize its current structure, which stymies clean-technology solutions.




Re: Hydro conservation efforts losing energy (Jan 18). I agree that Hydro's energy-conservation program needs a new focus and direction. Such a re-engineering should start in Hydro's own playground.

I live in the southeast quadrant of this city, and my daily travels often involve taking primary roads such as Lagimodiere Boulevard, Fermor Avenue and St. Anne's Road, among other main routes. On any given workday, I notice that one or more of these roads has street lights on during daylight hours. When I notice this and look either to my left or right, the street lights are also on in residential areas.

I can only presume it is happening in other areas. If Hydro cannot lead by example, how can they expect consumers to adopt the conservation values they are promoting?

On the other hand, perhaps I have not been keeping myself informed about lighting technology and that keeping the street lights on during the day generates heat to keep the city warmer in the winter.




Correcting behaviour

Does Thomas van Leeuwen, who advocates using "careful" physical assault with good reason on small children as a form of corrective discipline (Spanking has a place, Letters, Jan. 19), also believe that the same violence be allowed on the aged and infirm?

After all, these old people are adults and should know better than to behave badly. When they do not, should they also be subjected to careful corrective physical assault?

And what is violence used "carefully" -- that which leaves no evidence of the crime?




Worker held her ground

Re: Criticism 'out of line' (Letters, Jan. 18). When and why did Child and Family Services change its policies in the first place? Back in the 1980s, my friend "Jane" had an open file with CFS. We had just spent hours getting her teething boy to sleep when a CFS worker showed up.

We let her in (if they were following up on an open file, they could spot-check any time). She chatted with the little girl, aged four, then insisted on seeing the boy awake.

Jane explained, begged, and then tried to refuse. Jane was twice the size of the female worker. There were two of us.

That lone CFS worker stood her ground and said, "He (the boy) may not even be here. He may be sick or drugged... I won't know until I see him awake. You'll wake him now, please."

We did (we had no other choice), and she left with no doubt that she had done her job.

When did proper monitoring of at-risk children become an "invasion of people's rights"?

At 4 a.m, when that little voice of conscience awakens Phoenix's CFS workers, will they be able to quiet it by remembering how respectful they were of Samantha Kematch's rights and how politely they behaved?




Forgive and forget

Lance Armstrong, for whatever his personal reasons, chose to take drugs, cheat and lie. He is not a good role model. Yet he continues to attract huge numbers of TV viewers and has been in the media daily since his confession.

I would prefer the media adopt the attitude "forgive and forget." That is, we forgive Armstrong, but we choose now to forget him.

No more photographs, debates, interviews, newspaper articles or books related to him. He no longer deserves celebrity status the media are giving him.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2013 A13


Updated on Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 4:14 PM CST: adds links

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