The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Name:
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL: black_rod_usher@yahoo.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wade Miller for Mayor

A year ago, just as an exercise, we started asking people "who would you like to see run for mayor?"

We hoped to compile a list of potential candidates to encourage a debate in advance of the 2010 civic election over what makes a good mayor.

We never expected the response we got, i.e. we never saw so many blank faces in our lives.

How many legitimate names did we collect? Try ZERO.

What was funny then isn't so funny now. Incumbent Sam Katz is facing off against one high-profile and several low-profile candidates. The high-profile contender is so unqualified that it's scary. And one of the low-profile candidates deserves to be a legitimate contender but isn't because the mainstream media won't treat him seriously.

They leave us no choice.

We have to step in and draft someone to run for mayor.

After much searching we have a candidate:

He's a businessman.

He's a sportsman.

He's a married father.

He overcame the odds to succeed through sheer determination in his chosen field and used what he learned as a springboard to further success.

Three years ago he was named as one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40, a prestigious national award celebrating "young leaders of today and tomorrow..."

He's a former Winnipeg Blue Bomber and the co-founder of a company that rakes in more than $10 million in annual revenue.

Meet Wade Miller, the potential new mayor of Winnipeg.

He's got everything we're looking for in a mayor.

At 41, he's young, and an exciting prospect. He's a new generation bringing new perspectives. How many times have you heard a politician yakking about the need to build for the future. Here's a potential leader who's actually going to be alive in the future.

He's a successful businessman, unlike other mayoral candidates who have never even held a real job in their entire working lives.

Not only is Miller a co-founder of Pinnacle Staffing Solutions, the largest recruitment firm in Manitoba, but he owns two Elite High Performance Sports Injury Centres; Performance Healthware, which provides braces and rehabilitation products; and one Booster Juice franchise.

You want a inspiration from a mayor? Read how Pinnacle Staffing motivates it's employees:

Purpose and Guiding Principles
Think big - Dream bigger than most people think practical; expect more than others think probable.
Believe in people - Treat them well, accept only the best and watch the magic.
Thrive on competition - Compete with ourselves to become better every day.
Welcome opportunities - A challenge is a solution waiting to happen.
Nurture growth - Success is best when shared.

Miller played with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for 11 years which is impressive enough, but how he got his job and how he kept it is the story. It demonstrates his character and why he would make a mayor.

He was a fourth-round draft pick in 1995, and, according to the Winnipeg Free Press "when he arrived at his first pro camp that spring, he was considered nothing more than training-camp fodder." Through will and determination, he made the team, and kept his spot season after season until retiring 11 years later.

Miller is a team player. He understands how to deal with difficult team-mates and outsized egos. He could use those skills in handling the parochial politicians at city council.

Three years ago his name was put on one of the most prestigious lists in the country---Canada's Top 40 Under 40.

The honorees are selected from a field of 1100 nominees by 25 members of an independent advisory board who come from many varied fields of endeavor. They use five criteria: vision and leadership; innovation and achievement; impact; growth and development strategy; and community involvement and contribution.

But nobody's perfect. We went looking for somebody who had something bad to say about Wade Miller. We found Jordy Wilson on Winnipegrant.com:
"I saw on Global that #34 retired from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Thank goodness, He may have been a local boy, but he walked around town treating people bad. He would flex his way to the front of the line, talk down to people, and totally misrepresent the Bombers in his capacity as a local football star. You watch guys like Walby and Black always make time for the fans. I am a season ticket holder and Im (sic) pretty sure Miller was the only player to think he was so good. Well he was awefull (sic). The only reason he was there was the Bombers thought he would put fans in the crowd. I dont think this cocky guy would even have any friends.

Thank goodness, now lets move on and produce a Grey Cup Winner. Our cahnces (sic) are better now."
Okay. We've done the scouting. Someone else has to do the signing.

But hurry. Winnipeg is running out of time.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Sam's and Judy's crime-fighting chatter exposes weakness of both candidates

Splat. Splat.

That's the sound of crime-fighting initiatives landing with the impact of wet dishrags.

Mayoral candidate Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who wants to be called JustJudy, demonstrated this week how completely she lacks an understanding of a crucial civic issue such as crime in the city. She detailed how she would address the severe and growing crime problem in Winnipeg, and it wasn't pretty.

Having lived in Ottawa as an MP for 13 years, she's a tourist here. Her knowledge of the city comes from newspaper headlines supplemented by a day spent here and there at her Bannerman Avenue home before leaving for her beach cottage between sessions of Parliament.

JustJudy knows crime is bad in Winnipeg -- her mother tells her so. So part of her campaign for mayor is to attack the problem -- with cliches. The way to fight crime, says JustJudy, is to attack -- wait for it -- the root causes.

Yep. Root causes. Now why hasn't anyone thought of that before? Oh, wait....

JustJudy's NDP confreres in the Manitoba Legislature announced 11 years ago they were going to fight crime by attacking the root causes. How's that working out? Shouldn't we be the safest city in the world by now?

Instead we're the murder capital of Canada, the gang capital, the violent crime capital, the youth crime capital. We hold so many crime crowns that we're the capital of crime capitals.

But you can't keep a good cliche down, and JustJudy dusted it off as a key plank of her campaign to be mayor before launching into specifics.

Two specifics to be exact. As mayor, JustJudy would implement Powerline, the crimefighting tool credited with cleaning up North Point Douglas, throughout the city, she pledged. And she would train city workers to be the eyes and ears of the police, to see and report crime and suspicious activity as they do their city jobs.

Uh huh. Powerline.

Started 3 years ago, the best description of how and why it worked was provided by the weekly paper, Uptown:

"On the rebound/ Uptown explores how North Point Douglas took itself back by Marlo Campbell, 2008-05-29"

"One resident on each block would be designated a "community safety rep" and would be responsible for reporting illegal activity via phone or e-mail to Sel and Chris (Burrows), who would then pass on the information to the appropriate authorities. Everything would be done anonymously to avoid intimidation or retribution."
"In order to be effective, the Winnipeg Police Service needed to be on-board as a partner - a challenge in an area where, more often than not, police officers are seen as enemies, not allies. Indeed, the relationship between residents and the WPS had deteriorated to the point that some people had stopped reporting crimes altogether as, from their perspective, no one bothered showing up."
"(We had been) really frustrated with the police department," (Sel) Burrows says. "We couldn't find a way to communicate with them. It was like a closed door."
"Luckily, thanks to a career spent working in inner-city recreation, corrections and politics, Burrows has lots of friends in high places. He put a call in to Justice Minister Dave Chomiak, who passed his complaint along to a "tall, skinny guy" named Keith McCaskill - the man who would be sworn in as Winnipeg's 16th police chief only months later in yet another fortuitous twist of fate."

Great idea. The community managed to shut down almost all the crack houses that had set up shop in Point Douglas. Sel Burrows has spent the past 3 years promoting its success. The only problem was that it could never be replicated anywhere.

The residents of William Whyte tried to get Burrows' help to set up their own Powerline project two years ago when they were being overwhelmed with crack- and gang-related shootings and arsons. Nothing happened despite all of Sel Burrows' big talk.

It's not like people don't phone the police without Sel Burrows' help. They phone begging for help. They give the addresses of crack houses, the houses where pimps live with their whores, the gang houses. And the police give the same response -- what do you expect us to do about it?

It seems the only way to replicate Powerline is to be a backroom member of the NDP and make friends with the attorney general who will personally pressure the police chief into forcing police to do something about calls for help from a community.

And as for generating more tips from city workers....Get real. The police are already overwhelmed.

CTV News carried an amazing, under-reported story a few months ago that police will not review videotapes of criminals caught in action because the force doesn't have the staff available. So how are they going to free up officers to chase tips from meter readers?

And why does the idea of making city employees into neighbourhood spies make us uncomfortable. Where's the line between reporting "suspicious activity" and intruding on private lives?

But JustJudy still managed to score points on incumbent Sam Katz, even if she did it inadvertently.

Everyone knows Katz as a smooth talker, a true schmoozer. After years of regurgitating NDP talking points, JustJudy spews cliches. Katz is seen as a quick thinker who would eat JustJudy alive in a live debate. We certainly thought so, until now.

Katz's response to Wasylycia-Leis's crime initiatives was abysmal. She was playing to what everyone saw as his strength. He showed his hand and all he had were deuces.

"Do you really believe that Ms. Wasylycia-Leis would be tougher on crime than yours truly?", he asked rhetorically.

But when he showed his hand, all he had were deuces. We were shocked at his bumbling replies when asked to comment on JustJudy's announcements.

On CTV:
"Sam Katz, who is fighting to keep his mayoral seat for a third term, said he agrees with Wasylycia-Leis on the value of Powerline, but believes it's not the mayor's role to expand it."

" "That's actually a community effort and I've always said that's a great thing and encourage that because we know the positive impact it has had on Point Douglas," said Katz."

Say what?

Here's the most successful crime-fighting program in Winnipeg in years and Sam Katz wants to put on a skirt, grab some pompoms and lead the cheering squad? He should have wrestled the Powerline example out of Sel Burrows' hands two years ago and used his bully pulpit to plant it in one neighbourhood after another, year by year.

Instead, he stood aside and waited for someone else to do the job. He's still waiting. That's not leadership.

CBC News:
"Katz responded by detailing a number of his own programs to combat crime, including the Winnipeg police Street Crime unit, and the soon-to-be-airborne police helicopter."

Is he saying a helicopter will be more effective in rooting out crime than a tipline? That's simply nonsense. With a tipline a neighbourhood tells police exactly where to find the criminals. A helicopter flies around in circles waiting for something to happen. How many crack houses could we shut down for the cost of a helicopter? Why doesn't someone do the math?

And the police Street Crime unit appears to be a day late and a dollar short at the nightly drive-by shootings and home invasions in the North End and city centre. They may be doing something, but its not preventing random gunfire in residential neighbourhoods. We wouldn't be holding that up as an example.

Winnipeg Free Press:
"The mayor ... said he has been instrumental in hiring 155 more police officers, creating a swat team, Operation Clean Sweep, CrimeStat and getting a police a helicopter off the ground."

Let's see....

Hiring 155 more police officers. The province pays for them, the city does the paperwork to "hire" them. Bureaucracy rules!

Creating a swat team. The 15 member full-time tactical support team is seen a lot on TV, surrounding houses, advancing in tight ass-to-groin formation with great big phallic guns clutched prominently, right before the words "no gun was found." Patrolling constables have been in more shootouts than the highly trained full-time tac squad.

Operation Clean Sweep. Created in 2005 as part of a highly-trumpeted declaration of war on gangs, it quickly lost steam and became more of a light dusting once the television lights were turned off. Shut down silently in the West End, it morphed even more silently into the street crime unit which turned up protecting high school girls from evil marijuana dealers in south Winnipeg instead of taking on the street gang members who were shooting up the streets of north Winnipeg.

CrimeStat. It told you about crime in your neighbourhood---two weeks ago. The timeline has been reduced since. But retired Deputy Chief Menno Zacharias, in another hugely unreported story, says about Crimestat that the police executive "have largely turned their backs on it."

Sam Katz has had six years to demonstrate a commitment to the "broken windows" theory of policing that cleaned up New York City which spawned Crimestat. Once upon a time he even talked the talk. When New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani faced a police executive that decided to wait out his policing initiatives instead of buying in, he acted. He replaced the police executive.

Katz is spending more money on slowing down traffic to make streets safer for bicycle riders than on removing graffiti, a key element of the "broken windows" policy. Public safety has been tossed aside to make room for a feel-good lobby group.

A mayoral candidate without JustJudy's baggage (a decade of working against Winnipeg's interests by watering down every get-tough-on-crime bill in Ottawa) would make mincemeat out of the incumbent's record on crime control.

Add another splat--- for Sam Katz's credibility on the crime file, which (sigh) is still greater than his opponent's.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Logic lacking: Asper's Stadium and your money

There are so many things wrong with the David Asper stadium deal that its hard to decide where to start.

They started digging a hole at the University of Manitoba last week although they don't know what they're building, they don't know how much it will cost and they don't know who will pay for it.

We do know that at some point unelected Premier Greg Selinger, the dirtiest politician in Manitoba, made a decision to channel millions of dollars into the pockets of the Asper family. Why would he do that? We'll leave it to your imagination to provide the answer while we provide the facts.

Selinger hid $115 million in the provincial budget for David Asper in a section so obscure and so buried nobody could find it without a knowing guide. There was no mention in the Throne Speech about a new stadium, never mind that the province was paying for it. Why do you think they were hiding it?

To skirt the law, which requires putting government contracts to tender, Selinger is "lending" $90 million to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to spend on a new stadium, topped up by another $15 million as the province's share of the cost. The football club will then give an untendered contract for the stadium to Creswin, the Asper-family real-estate development arm.

Creswin is not a charity.

What's the profit margin in the construction industry? 10 percent? 20 percent? The Aspers will make millions on the stadium contract regardless if David Asper lives up to his commitment to pay back $75 million of the government loan.

Right now, all that David Asper brings to the stadium deal is his empty wallet. That's what's delayed construction for two months. Asper pledged to cover cost overruns. But even before excavators scooped up their first clump of earth, the estimated cost had shot up to $139 million, or $24 million over what they're now calling their "first estimate." He wants the government to cover the extra cost and accept his IOU. But the government hasn't got the money either.

Remember, the Selinger government is running a deficit of $545 million this year. With $115 million of that going to the Asper stadium, that means that more than one-fifth (21 percent) of the money that we're borrowing this year is going to the Aspers. There is no magic pot of money Selinger can dip into to get the extra $24 million. So nobody knows where the extra money is going to come from, but they've started construction anyway.

Of course, everybody expects the government will pay the entire shot eventually.

Even Selinger expects Asper to renege on repaying the "loan". That's why he's built into the deal a sort of safety net to (bizarrely) "protect" the taxpayer. If Asper can't come up with the $75 million he's pledged, the stadium loan will be "repaid" from property and school tax money to be raised from developing the Polo Park site of the current stadium.

However, that's also against the law as it's currently written. Under the Tax Increment Financing legislation, any new taxes from newly developed land must be spent in the area the development takes place. That's the incentive to develop the undeveloped land. What you pay now will be recouped later.

Instead, Selinger intends to take money away from schoolchildrens in St. James to finance a new professional sports stadium in Fort Garry.

If development of the existing stadium site was to bring the city and school board half as much in taxes as Polo Park, it will take 25 years to pay back Selinger's stadium loan. Imagine what the school board could do with $50 or $60 million in extra funding over a generation.

So a generation of children who will get no benefit from the "loan" will be responsible for paying it back? Does that make any sense?

For some unknown reason, the board of directors of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team want to sell the team to David Asper and only David Asper.

Except he has no money.

So the government of Manitoba is bailing him out by building a stadium at public expense and letting him buy his way into owning the Blue Bombers by someday paying back part of the "loan" to the team.

But why David Asper? Why him and not the highest bidder? If this is the game, why not allow the person who repays the most to own the football team?

The Polo Park stadium land is to be sold to Asper---IF he can come up with the money to buy it. But why is he the only one allowed to buy the land? That was to be the deal when people thought he had money and he was going to build a new stadium. But now that the government is paying for a new stadium, where's Asper's stake in the deal? Why do we need him at all?

Let him bid on the existing stadium site and bid on the right to "repay" the government loan for the new stadium. The city will get the best price for the land, someone will develop it, and the province will still get paid back for the cost of the new stadium, even if it has to take the money away from schoolchildren.

That's New Democonomics, Selinger style.

David Asper's sister Gail is already stiffing the City of Winnipeg on property taxes owed on her pet project The Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Shouldn't that be enough warning about doing business with the Asper family circa 2010?

Last week Mayor Sam Katz was interviewed on CJOB and asked about the stadium project as well as the long lost waterpark. You know, the waterpark that David Asper was once going to build along with a new stadium in South Point Douglas.

The waterpark, for which city council voted $7 million two years ago, is still a go, said Katz. A deal with Canad Inns fell through in 2009.

"They did put out an 'expression of interest'. They have gotten a response. I think there was dome due diligence being done. As you know the first time it was done not everything was complied with so there's been some more 'meat' put into the agreement," said Katz, adding he's hoping to hear within a month whether there's a deal or not.

Go figure. On a $7 million waterpark they've been doing due diligence for two years and they still have no deal, but for a $115 million stadium the Mayor and Premier whipped together a jerry-rigged, cockamamie plan with a, ahem, 'businessman' whose biggest asset is his father's last name.

How did David Asper become the "favoured son" of the city and the province, even though he lives in Toronto (with a crash pad in Winnipeg)?

Is this a clue?

The blog Waverley West did some research on the connection between Asper, Creswin and Katz, or should we say Katz's friend and colleague Phil Sheegl.

"On April 29, 1997 Asper Properties Inc. legally became Creswin Properties Ltd. Winnipeg media often treat Creswin Properties (893103879MC001) as if it was the personal property of David Asper, his “Go Bombers” plaything. It isn’t. Creswin is a valuable Asper family business.

As reported earlier the President of Creswin is Daniel Edwards. The 3 directors are Gail Asper (VP) David Asper (VP, Treasurer) and Leonard Asper (Secretary, VP). Creswin voting shares are entirely comprised of 100 shares owned by AFT Properties Inc.
AFT Properties Inc. has the same 3 directors, Gail, Leonard and David Asper. It has 5 Officers, Dan Edwards (President), Gail Asper (Secretary), Leonard Asper, VP), David Asper (Chairman) and J. Wayne Pestrak (CFO).
AFT voting shares are compromised of the following:
David Asper Holdings Inc. 250 Common
Leonard Asper Holdings Inc. 250 Common
Gail Asper Holdings Inc. 250 Common

When AFT was amalgamated in July of 1997 the Directors were Israel, Gail, Leonard, David and Ruth Asper. This is not at all surprising. What is surprising is the inclusion of the representatives of two of Winnipeg’s historically powerful mercantile families, Robert Akman (President) and Richard M. Leipsic.

Robert Akman was President of Creswin until June 1, 2003. He was President of AFT until July 2, 2003. Richard M. Leipsic left AFT that very same day.
Daniel Edwards became President of Creswin on October 20, 2003.
Controversial City Planner Phil Sheegl has long been associated with the Akman family. Besides being an Arizona development business partner of the Akmans he also helped gain City approval for the Akman family’s Winnipeg developments in the past."

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

MSM got it backwards - KPMG audit vindicates Hydro whistleblower


They should have titled it How To Buy A Headline.

Manitoba Hydro has submitted a long, long, long report by their hired guns, KPMG, to the Public Utilities Board in their latest effort to undermine the New York consultant who blew the whistle on the shaky, scary way that Hydro is really run.

"KPMG review calls allegations unfounded" blared the headline in the Winnipeg Free Press, written by someone who hadn't read a word of the KPMG report and who was relying for guidance on reporter Mary Agnes Welch, who apparently never read beyond the carefully worded conclusions which told Hydro exactly what Hydro wanted to hear.

Which certainly wasn't "Facts Vindicate Whistleblower", the headline that anyone who actually read the report would agree is an accurate reflection of the contents.

Manitoba Hydro is not being mismanaged, said KPMG, to wild huzzahs from Manitoba Hydro managers. KPMG had been hired to repudiate the whistleblower's allegations -- and they did the job, to Hydro's satisfaction.

The New York Consultant went to the Manitoba government 19 months ago with a variety of concerns about the way Hydro was being run. The corporation, said the whistleblower, was making multi-multi-billion dollar decisions based on data spun out of outdated computers using outmoded software analyzed by a tiny team of good ol' boys. Their "expertise" had already cost Manitoba $1 billion in unnecessary expenses, declared the consultant, and Hydro was risking bankruptcy---after plunging Manitobans into unnecessary blackouts and brownouts. Scary stuff indeed.

KPMG spent more than 100 pages discussing the computer modelling that went into decisions to spend $18 billion on a series of dams to provide power to sell into the U.S. over the next 30 years.

HERMES is the main tool used to support operations scheduling. Modules within HERMES represent the MH system in a significant amount of detail. These modules have been developed and regularly updated over many years and reflect extensive work to calibrate model outputs to actual system performance and thereby continually validate the model.
SPLASH is a simulation tool designed to support MH’s long-range system planning. The output from the SPLASH model provides information used to evaluate the economics of power resource options such as power export marketing contracts, system enhancements and surplus energy rate programs.
SPLASH is also used to support financial forecasting.
Manitoba Hydro's models were "reasonable", declared KPMG.

Reasonable?

That's like asking your best friend if the movie he saw last night was any good. "Ehh. It's okay," he says. Okay? Hardly a resounding endorsement. Sort of like... reasonable.

We didn't have to dig deep to find out why KMPG was so lukewarm.

- "We did not undertake an audit of the models or verify their computational accuracy."
"Rather, we assessed the overall reasonableness of the modeling approach..."

They didn't bother to verify that the models were accurate? What?????

- In fact, KPMG suggested that Manitoba Hydro, maybe, might think about, if they have time, backtesting their models.

"In addition to the current validation procedures used for HERMES and SPLASH, MH should consider incorporating backtesting practices to validate its models."

Backtesting---that's when you put in known data and see if the computers spit out something close to the already known answer.

To you, that might seem obvious, but to the geniuses running Manitoba Hydro, not so much. Although somebody did suggest it before.

"Backtesting is a means by which errors in the inputs can be removed in order to verify the appropriateness of the model logic. The Consultant asserts that MH does not back test its HERMES or SPLASH models. Accordingly, the Consultant argues that management decisions and reports based on the outputs of these two models may be flawed." (KPMG Report)

- KPMG also alerted the PUB to the fact that Manitoba Hydro is one good flu away from chaos.

It seems that the utility is run seat-of-the-pants style by a tiny clique of employees, who control the data going in and out of the computer models and whose skill in assessing the data consists of on-the-job expertise. If one is on holiday, another is getting married, another has the sniffles and another gets hit by a bus, Hydro is in deep trouble.

"As HERMES and SPLASH are in-house models and operated by a small group of highly skilled modelers, Manitoba Hydro should provide more formal documentation of the models to preserve their proprietary information and assist new modelers. This will require dedicated additional resources to develop the documentation, but doing so will help mitigate risk in the event of staff turnover."
"The skills required to operate HERMES are derived on-the-job training and experience. The nature of this process is that it has not been highly reliant on formal documentation or training courses. While this is understandable in the circumstances, it creates some risks with respect to knowledge sharing and corporate exposure to the potential loss of key personnel."
"Manitoba Hydro has a relatively small group of highly skilled analysts and negotiators in power sales with deep experience in long-term export sales contracts, and more formal documentation of the pricing analysis will help preserve that experience."
• "Lack of formal documentation, oversight or validation also creates a risk that the overall model is seen as a “black box” to outside stakeholders, both within and outside the company."
Translation: If nobody can understand how you reach your conclusions, there could be trouble, and you don't want that.

• "MH would benefit from more formal documentation and oversight of the modeling process. However, MH must also be aware that such documentation and oversight will require additional resources without necessarily producing an immediate financial return in terms of improved forecasting performance."

What about the key question: is Manitoba Hydro betting the farm on its planned mega-sales to the United States? Are we bound by contract to sell power we may not have?

Good luck finding the answer by mucking through 162 pages of gobbledygook intersperced with long sections of numbers censored by Hydro and commentary censored by the New York consultant.

KPMG says Hydro is so consumed with the fear of drought that it's extremely conservative in its decisions on how much power to sell the Americans. Since taking a bath in the last big drought in the 2004, they include "curtailment" provisions in sales contracts which allow Hydro to stop sending power to the U.S. if it's needed at home. Hydro even has contracts to buy power from the U.S. which is sold to American customers (if we've deciphered this properly):

"By purchasing firm import contracts, MH effectively ‘outsources” some of its back-up requirements to external parties. A key advantage of this approach is that the thermal generation thus obtained has more opportunity to be used for purposes other than providing back—up to MH. This reflects a location that is nearer to major US markets. and less subject to import transmission constraints, and which can better take advantage of diversity in demand protiles. (US utilities tend to be summer peaking while MH is a winter peaking utility.). As a consequence. MH is likely to pay lower costs for such back—up generation by outsourcing it than by building thermal generation locally."
KPMG concluded:
"Based on the information presented above, we see no evidence that MH is over committing its firm dependable energy production through the proposed export contracts is and thereby unnecessarily exposing MH to volume risk."
But then there's this footnote that slipped through the censorship process which reflects the fact that last year the Public Utilities Board redflagged a problem with Hydro's alleged aversion to risk.

"13. For example. PUB order 32/09 states on page 27 (of 48) that “Dependable hydraulic generation for the year 2003/04 was 18500 GWh that being a level significantly below the 21 000 GWh on which MH bases its potential for firm export contracts (after fullfilling the domestic requirement).

Yet MH has not lowered the dependable resource level to 18,500 GWh; rather MH now defines the dependable resource as a multi year historical event (not a one year, event) This effectively rneans that once every fifteen years (the deemed frequency of the 2003/04 drought event) MH will be faced with dependable energy shortfalls comparable to 2003-04 though perhaps in an environment of much higher import prices.

MH has not adequately demonstrated that the Corporation's mean energy forecast adequately reflects this self-imposed additional risk”

In a nutshell, when caught saying it had almost 14 percent more power to sell than it actually produced, Hydro simply redefined how much it needed to set aside for customers in Manitoba.

There, doesn't that leave you reassured?

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