Wednesday, January 6, 2010

 

GRAHAM'S WATERLOO?

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.

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Comments:
Unfortunately you do not have all of your facts.

The fact is that NB Power's debt is not the beast that the government is making it out to be. NB Power is servicing its debt and has been all along, which is the right fiscal thing to do. Hydro Quebec's debt is $38B. What do you think about that?

I could go on and on, but figure it is a waste of my time.
 
While I would not want to "waste your time"; a good point would be to make a convincing case on maintaining NB Power as a seperate entity. It has already reached capacity in hydro generation, environmental issues require fossil fuel generators to be phased-out, and it can't afford the endless repairs to Point Lepreau. In short, a pretty bleak future....
 
Sadly, you again don't have your facts...your last comment is fraught with misinformation and/or inaccuracies that people who have secret agendas to see the sale go through have been spreading.

Perhaps NB Power should be sold, not this way. Or, alternatively, if they were left to do their jobs without government interferance, like the Belle Province does for HQ, things I predict would be much improved.

You should really review the financial statements of NB Power. I did and I realized just how much they service their debt and how much money goes back to the provincial coffers. Not too shabby actually. You might also want to research what the NB Auditor General has said about this sale, NB Power's debt and the money that goes back to government. This money going back into provincial coffers will ALL disappear with HQ.

By the way, I choose anonymous because in this province, or being "in this place" would result in undue political actions against my company. I own my own company and do work for government so that would all end. I have seen what they can do to people who speak out and/or actually know what they are speaking about when it doesn't agree with "their" agenda!
 
Thanks for your post. Every comment is welcomed and appreciated. I do not doubt that the debate that lies ahead will be long, acrimonious and difficult for all concerned. The best we can hope for that "all" the issues, as you suggest, are brought-out, clarified, and carefully analyzed in a transparent fashion.
 

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