Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/4/2011 (3116 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The NDP's strategy in this fall's election may go something like this — paint yourself as the guardian of health care, the economy and the environment, while going for the jugular when the Conservatives attack you over Manitoba Hydro.
That was Premier Greg Selinger's script as he addressed a boisterous crowd of more than 500 people Friday night at the New Democratic Party's annual convention in Winnipeg.
It's the last gathering of party faithful before the Oct. 4 election, where the NDP is hoping to capture a fourth consecutive majority government.
And Selinger sounded like he was on the campaign trail.
Surrounded by NDP MLAs and candidates and with a huge Team Selinger sign as a backdrop, the premier bragged about hiring more doctors and nurses and said the NDP isn't afraid to make tough decisions to protect the environment, referring to a moratorium on hog expansion and efforts to keep phosphorus out of Lake Winnipeg. He also patted his government on the back for low provincial unemployment and an aggressive immigration policy that's boosted Manitoba's population and made it younger.
Then he took the gloves off.
He attacked the provincial Conservatives for throwing around numbers "foolishly and recklessly" on the cost of a new Manitoba Hydro transmission line and suggesting Manitobans would be on the hook for increased costs (now estimated to be $1 billion more expensive than once thought.)
Selinger said the higher price tag for the line and converter — pegged at $3.28 billion — would be borne by export customers, not by Manitobans.
"Who's going to pay for the Bipole? The export customers pay for it. You build the cost into the price of the product when you sell it to your customer."
The Conservatives have vowed to shift the route of the proposed transmission line from western Manitoba to the east side of Lake Winnipeg through the boreal forest. But Selinger said provinces such as Newfoundland, Alberta and B.C. have tried and failed to build hydro lines in environmentally sensitive areas. "So we've got to be smart about it," he said.
The Conservative attacks on Hydro are a prelude, the premier said, to selling the Crown corporation if they gain power, just as they did with the Manitoba Telephone System in 1996. "They first ran the reputation of the corporation (MTS) down and then they sold it off. That's exactly what they're doing now. They're running the reputation down of Manitoba Hydro and then they're preparing... to sell it off. We won't allow that to happen."
The Tories deny that assertion.
The NDP convention continues today. Delegates will debate 139 resolutions.
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.