There is a "watch" in the media over the 60,000 or so Canadians who (like me) have signed into the FaceBook Page of "Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament."
Down east, in my native province of New Brunswick, when the Legislative Assembly begins the 2010 session next Tuesday; the sale of NB Power to Hydro Quebec will dominate debate and some suggest, could eventually cost Premier Shawn Graham next fall's provincial election.
Though Mr. Graham's Liberals are absolutely right in the decision to unload NB Power's monstrous $ 3+ billion debt while securing an efficient source of abundant power from the world's largest utility (Hydro-Quebec); about 28,000 New Brunswickers have joined a FaceBook movement there opposing the move. Proportionally a far larger cross-section of citizens than our national "anti-proroguing" movement.
Opponents in New Brunswick have joined in a growing chorus of nay-sayers led by Newfoundland & Labrador Progressive-Conservative Premier, Danny Williams, and perhaps to a lesser degree, Nova Scotia's NDP Premier, Darell Dexter. Mr. Williams' disputes with Hydro-Quebec are legendary...and, well there's always capital to be raised when your opponents are of another political persuasion: In this case both Graham and Quebec Premier Charest are Liberals...I digress.
Even the Governor of the State of Maine, John Baldacci, made headlines down east recently by publicly seeking guarantees from Quebec's Premier Charest that the "have-not" northern state won't be left-out of the lucrative energy corridor Hydro Quebec would exploit to the American northeast when the NB Power deal is done. Governor Baldacci has been an ally of New Brunswick's efforts to channel hydro, nuclear and wind generated power to the American market along with the Irving Refineries' output of fuel oil and liquefied natural gas from facilities in Saint John.
Premier Graham's bold proposal to unload the limited future of a stand-alone NB Power isn't dead yet; but as New Brunswick's legislative session gets set to resume, it seems "dead in the water" and a major challenge for the first term Premier and his government. Though they have not cited a cabinet split over the NB Power debacle among their reasons; two of the Premier's Ministers have quit. On Monday, the Justice Minister, Michael Murphy, jumped-ship. Mr. Murphy may be a potential candidate for the Liberal Party leadership should Graham's government go down to defeat and humiliation over the NB Power deal with Hydro-Quebec. Murphy considered opposing Graham for the leadership race in 2001.
It would be a pity if a bold, practical and progressive deal such as the takeover of NB Power by Hydro Quebec were nixed. But such is the challenge Shawn Graham and his fractioned Cabinet will walk into next week. For sure the debate will dominate New Brunswick's politics as perhaps few others have before...In the process, should Mr. Graham fail and his Liberal Government defeated: His would become a historical footnote as New Brunswick's first ever "one-term" government.