Pallister PCs Vote Against Protections to Keep Hydro Public

November 26, 2020

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MBThe Pallister government voted against a bill this morning which would have protected Manitoba Hydro and its subsidiaries, like Manitoba Hydro International, from privatization.

“Today was more proof that the Pallister PCs are intent on privatizing our most important Crown utility. It will only lead to more expensive bills for families and big payouts to their insider friends,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew. “The Premier can continue to deny his plan, but his actions speak louder than his words. Manitobans deserve to know about his privatization agenda.”

Bill 203, The Manitoba Hydro Amendment Act (Referendum Before Privatization of Subsidiary) was introduced by NDP Hydro Critic Adrien Sala and came to a vote in the House this morning. The PCs unanimously voted against the bill, signalling their intent to continue the privatization of Manitoba Hydro.

Currently, in order to privatize Manitoba Hydro, a referendum must be held in which the majority of voters approve of it. Sala’s bill strengthens these protections by requiring a referendum prior to the privatization of any subsidiary of the utility.

The Pallister government is in the midst of a plan to break off pieces of Manitoba Hydro and sell them to private corporations. In September, the Pallister government secretly sold off Teshmont Consultants LP, a company owned by Manitoba Hydro. This summer the PCs issued a stop-sell order to Manitoba Hydro International, a subsidiary of the Crown utility. The move has caused chaos and uncertainty among MHI staff, has already cost the province tens of millions of dollars in revenue and has been criticized by former Hydro executives.

“Not only would our bill add another layer of protection against Pallister’s plan to privatize, but it would keep rates affordable for families struggling to make ends meet in this pandemic,” said Sala. “It’s disappointing to see the province vote against measures to help Manitobans, especially after they chose to raise Hydro rates for families and struggling small businesses for December. Yet again the Premier and his government put their cuts ahead of the wellbeing of Manitobans.”