October 14, 2020
Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MB — Confidential documents obtained by the Official Opposition Manitoba NDP show the Pallister Government is selling off Manitoba Hydro Telecom’s business. The Manitoba NDP is calling for an immediate halt to the privatization of Manitoba Hydro Telecom.
The Pallister government issued a Request for Proposals in the Summer of 2020 for private companies to use an existing fibre optic network to deliver broadband internet services in rural and northern Manitoba earlier this year. The deadline for proposals is today.
The RFP allows for the “assignment of Existing Contracts to the successful proponent (such as allowing the successful proponent to assume responsibilities, benefits, and other rights and obligations associated with the Existing Contracts) in exchange for consideration to Manitoba Hydro and/or MHT” (page 4).
Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said “This move to sell off a piece of Hydro will have a huge impact on local business and industry – and will make it harder and more expensive for people in rural Manitoba to access broadband services. This move to privatize will undermine competition and just hurt ratepayers.”
St. James MLA and Critic for Hydro Adrien Sala said “The Pallister government is selling off pieces of Manitoba Hydro. Manitoba Hydro Telecom has made millions for Manitobans over the years. Selling off of publicly owned assets will make our bills higher and families’ lives harder. Not only is the Pallister government raising Hydro rates in the midst of a pandemic, they are also breaking up and selling off parts of one of our profitable public companies. They need to cancel the RFP process and invest in developing the broadband network in rural and Northern Manitoba to ensure good service and keep rates affordable.”