Hydro cuts a dangerous déjà vu for Manitobans
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/03/2021 (817 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
We recently discovered the Pallister government has started to take steps towards the dismantling of Manitoba Hydro.
Specifically, we have learned that a subsidiary of Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Hydro International (MHI), is being forced to close its international consulting business. For Manitobans and those of us in Fort Garry, this means potentially higher hydro rates and the loss of stable jobs for members of our communities. Now that this decision has been made public, it is clear that the spectre of privatization is looming over one of the most important Crown corporations in the province.
Manitobans have been down this road before. In the 1990s, the Filmon government put the interests of corporations over the best interests of Manitobans when it privatized Manitoba Telecom Services (now known as BellMTS). Since then, Manitobans have been forced to pay higher rates for wireless and phone connectivity than comparable jurisdictions such as Saskatchewan, which still owns SaskTel. At a time in which connectivity is more important than ever before, it should not be forgotten that the reality that Manitobans pay such a steep price for what should be considered an essential service began the day MTS was privatized.
MHI has generated over $80 million in profits over the years by selling our transmission expertise abroad in various markets, helping keep rates low at home. This loss creates an environment for private businesses to step in and assume these profits directly, at a cost to the public.
When we consider the loss of MHI in the context of the ongoing pandemic, it only reinforces how unjust this action is. It will burden folks who are relying on affordable rates during a tumultuous economic period; our economy takes yet another hit by losing skilled workers to other job markets, and it ultimately signals movement towards privatization of another crown corporation.
The government should be fighting to keep jobs, create new ones, and support Manitobans to ensure they can access the services they need. Instead, it is continuing with its agenda of austerity in a time where Manitobans needs them most.
The NDP will continue to fight to keep our Crown corporations public and make life as affordable as possible for all Manitobans.
My office is located at 202-1383 Pembina Highway. Please reach out to us any time at 204-421-4241 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fort Garry constituency report
Mark Wasyliw is the NDP MLA for Fort Garry.