Wall’s $2.5-M review of Hydro mega-projects to be made public
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This article was published 25/02/2021 (753 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A long-awaited review of the decisions surrounding the construction of two Manitoba Hydro mega-projects will be released on Friday, Premier Brian Pallister says.
The $2.5-million review, carried out by former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, focuses on the Keeyask generating station and the Bipole III power transmission line.
The projects cost billions of dollars more than originally planned.
Pallister said Wednesday the projects, approved by the former NDP government, tripled the Crown corporation’s debt.
“Manitobans deserve to know why it happened. They deserve to know how it happened,” he told a news conference.
Pallister claimed the former NDP government failed to give the $8.7-billion Keeyask project “a full and public hearing” and “deliberately excluded” Manitobans from expressing their views beforehand.
The Progressive Conservative government launched the review in the fall of 2018. Former British Columbia premier Gordon Campbell was originally tasked with carrying it out, although he stepped down after facing allegations of sexual assault (which Campbell denied).
Wall was given the power to subpoena witnesses and obtain documents in his review. The process was conducted in private. There were no public hearings.
While the NDP has dismissed the review as a politically motivated exercise, last month it demanded the government release the report, saying it might provide clues as to the government’s plans regarding the province’s largest Crown corporation. Wall’s report was to have been completed by last fall.
On Wednesday, NDP Leader Wab Kinew questioned Wall’s qualifications to conduct the review.
“He knows nothing about hydroelectricity,” he said of the former Saskatchewan Party premier, noting he led a province that relies on coal-powered electricity.
Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said it is “ridiculous” that Pallister would spend millions of dollars for a politically motivated report “mostly to embarrass the NDP.” He said the problems that plagued the two mega-projects have long been known.
Meanwhile, Pallister said Manitobans will learn more about the province’s plans to revamp the public schools system in the coming weeks as the legislature resumes sitting March 3.
The government introduced an education reform bill in November, but did not release the contents of this and more than a dozen other bills at that time. It must do so by second reading.
The Tories have also yet to release the results of the province’s K-12 education review.
Pallister hinted Wednesday that will happen soon.
Asked if the government planned to reduce the number of school boards or eliminate them altogether, the premier would only say that Manitoba has “one of the most top-heavy (educational) structures in the country.”
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.