Bill 36 is bad for Manitoba families
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This article was published 02/11/2022 (212 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
While the cost of living rising and financial challenges posed by inflation showing no signs of ending, the provincial government is set to make life even more unaffordable for Manitoba families with Bill 36: The Manitoba Hydro Amendment and Public Utilities Board Amendment Act.
Manitoba has one of the best systems in the country when it comes to setting utilities rates. This is done by allowing the Public Utilities Board to regulate the rates charged by Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Public Insurance and water and sewer utilities outside of Winnipeg, to name a few of its responsibilities. The arms-length PUB ensures that politics stays out of decisions around rate setting, which has benefitted Manitobans over the years as our Hydro rates have stayed lower than other provinces. The PUB ensures that rate-setting is transparent and fair but Bill 36 allows these decisions to be made behind closed doors at the cabinet table. These changes will undoubtedly result in your Hydro bill increasing and the Progressive Conservatives are choosing to do this at a time where many folks simply cannot afford another rate increase.
The Stefanson government argues that it has been ‘forced’ to bring in these rate hikes due to the unsustainability of Hydro’s finances, but the PUB has always maintained that Manitoba Hydro has a sustainable level of debt. Furthermore, the province entered a deal with Saskatchewan for two export contracts. One for 100 megawatts and a second for 215 megawatts — which are expected to provide at least $5 billion in revenue to the utility over the next three decades. Manitoba Hydro has also released details of export contracts, something it rarely does, to counter the narrative that its debt is unsustainable. Bill 36 is dangerous as it is an effort to advance this government’s goal of privatizing Manitoba Hydro — a public asset from which we all benefit.
I’d like to extend a huge thank you to those Manitobans and Fort Garry residents who spoke at committee on Bill 36 last month and I will note that all who came to speak, spoke out against this bill. Our Opposition caucus will continue to fight against this bill and the privatization of Manitoba Hydro.
If you have concerns about this or any other issue please reach out to my office and myself and my staff will be happy to help you. I can be reached at 204-421-4241 or email@example.com
Fort Garry constituency report
Mark Wasyliw is the NDP MLA for Fort Garry.