Well, the report is out, and as expected the blame was cast (rightly so) at the feet of that great leader, Greg Selinger and his predecessor, Gary Doer. However,
- In his report Brad Wall, limited to Bipole III and Keeyask, says the ‘boondoggle’ amounts to an over-run of $3.7 billion. But it is much, much, more. By comparing the initial projections for all of the expansion projects to current projections, the boondoggle could hit $10 billion.
- To understand the full extent of the largest government boondoggle in Manitoba history, other ‘chapters’ need to be added. Besides Bipole III and Keeyask, which was Wall’s focus, there are the Wuskwatim and Conawapa (failed) dam projects, the new Manitoba-Minnesota and Manitoba-Saskatchewan transmission expansions, plus the expensive rebuild of the Pointe du Bois dam. In Wall’s mandate from the Pallister’s government, much was left out. (itallics were stolen/borrowed from Graham Lane, Wpg Sun, Mar 7 2021).
- Add to that the unexplainable deals made for “renewable energy projects” across Manitoba, that guarantee profits for “private” corporations whether the “project” worked or not. In addition we had the “guarantee”, placed on small solar powered installations around Manitoba, that payed ½ (up to 30,000 dollars) for a system to be installed that payed the owner for power piped back into the system (as a credit on future hydro bills), and an estimate of cost recovery of 5 to ten years. This, using batteries with a life span of UP to 10 years, and solar panels that have a life span of 12 to 15 years. Windpower towers and generators have a life of about 20 years, depending on maintenance, Are useless on:
- Snow and ice rain days (until the snow and ice melt)
In short, a sizable fraction of their lifespan. Add to that the fact they never operate near the top of their rated generation capacity and backup power is required to pick up the slack for fluctuations (look to Texas). Affordable. Renewable, Free Power my ass.
Why oh why didn’t Pallister and his team tackle this right after taking power?
My best guess is the “Manitoba Deep State” (bureaucrats, there for life, whose main purpose is to protect their fiefdoms, help them grow and assist their counterparts in other departments). These are the people that have access to all the information and mete it out to you only after it has been massaged to show them in the best light. Ownership of the information gives them knowledge and power (why do you think we have the “freedom of information” acts). With the knowledge, they have the control (and boy can they slow walk/hide/mislay/misrepresent/block and hide stuff). I suspect Pallister only started to realize how bad EVERYTHING is after many big decisions were made and now his government is holding a very smelly bag. Many things could have been done when he took office. But he was kind and gentle. That has cost him. His bureaucrats are still lying to him today, from the witch doctor to education heads to the public works, he should have cleaned house, his predecessors did.
Why is this the case you may ask, well Ginny, when we allowed the various levels of Government workers to unionize, we handed them a gift. Prior to that, the average worker bee, was paid at a decent rate, but advancement was slow, jobs were (and are) for life (unless you really screwed up), now it’s changed, then Upper management in the bureaucratic world lived in fear of government change (political appointments), at that point there was wholesale upper management changes, and when the Dept Minister wanted info woe to those who hid/slow walked/misrepresented lied etc.
Now, some of the highest wages in the land, the best benefits anywhere, no layoffs (or extremely rare), security out the wazoo, Tenured Professors do not have it so good.
My suggestion to Pallister, before leaving, get rid of every department head AND their assistants. Leave your heir with a frightened bureaucracy and they will have an easier time of it. And just maybe, we can slow the growth, and start to really solve the problems, like the teacher’s unions, holding us all in thrall.