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Showing posts from January, 2011

Manitoba Hydro's three magic numbers tell all you need to know

Reading the transcripts of the Public Utilities Board's current hearings into Manitoba Hydro's requests for rate hikes is a lot like mining.
You enter a deep, dark, scary tunnel of near-impenetrable verbiage. Sometimes you wander off into passages that seem to go nowhere, leaving you crying for help. You often feel stifled, struggling for breath as the walls seem to close in on you and the lights dim and you wonder what possessed you to be here in the first place.
But then you stumble across a vein of gold.
Here are some nuggets from the last few days of hearings:
Winnipeg Lawsuit Update
Ten months after the City of Winnipeg launched a lawsuit against Manitoba Hydro for $10 million, Hydro still hasn't filed a statement of defence.
The city claims it was shortchanged when Hydro remitted money it collected from a 2.5 percent tax on electricity and natural gas. Hydro calculated the tax on pre-GST sums; the city says it should have added the tax after the GST.
Winnipeg w…

Bob Wilson's moment in the sun

The only person not surprised by the arrest of Whitey Macdonald on a 30-year-old warrant for drug smuggling was his former friend Bob Wilson.
Hard-luck Bob Wilson was left to take the rap for Whitey when, despite being under guard following his 1980 arrest in Florida, Macdonald melted into thin air one day, never to be seen again until a generation had passed.
Wilson was convicted and sentenced to 7 years in prison. An MLA at the time of his arrest, he was kicked out of the Legislature in disgrace. He lost his bailiff business. And he went crazy.
From Day One he's proclaimed his innocence. And every single day since he's been consumed with proving it. He's spent almost every waking hour--- through a marriage, a divorce and even a recent bout of brain surgery--- thinking about his trial, obsessively tracking every person remotely connected to his case, and writing---writing tens of thousands of letters, notes, appeals, and bizarre communications consisting of pho…

Gail Asper to Ukrainians: Shut up.

Gail Asper has told Canada's Ukrainian community to shut up and accept their second-class status in the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.
In a hissy column in the Ottawa Citizen on Tuesday, Asper dropped the mask of reason and went for the jugular of Lubomyr Luciuk, director of research for the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/travel/need+understand+where+came+from/4123794/story.html
"Instead of creating a divisive climate, I would urge Luciuk to give the Canadian Museum for Human Rights' dedicated board, management and staff an opportunity to work on and present at the appropriate time the museum's content in its full form."
Translation into people-speak: shut yer yap, and let the big kids do their job.
Luciuk has driven Gail Asper and her colleagues at the CMHR into a tizzy with his demand, echoed by other Ukrainian associations, that the Holodomor, the deliberate starvation of millions of Ukrainians on Stalin'…

Manitoba Hydro's house of cards develops a lean

Manitoba Hydro has quietly postponed its next planned megaproject, the $3.5 billion Keeyask generating station, for at least a year because it can't agree on a contract with with its American customers.

Hydro is preparing to double in size over the next decade with the construction of three new power stations on the Nelson River---Wuskwatim, Keeyask and the big daddy of them all, Conawapa. Getting the Americans to pay a fat premium for the "clean" power from these plants is supposed to cover most of the $17 billion cost of building them.

But the Yanks' reluctance to sign on the dotted line is making Hydro's house of cards wobble.

Hydro officials told the Public Utilities Board that two factors are affecting negotiations---the economic downturn in both countries, and the unexpected development of shale gas.

The PUB is holding hearings into Hydro's insatiable desire for rate hikes to its Manitoba customers. Manitoba Hydro wants you to pay 2.9 pe…

Duelling slogans: The bad and the blue

It's a clear case of serendipity.
Once again a government agency has wheeled out a new slogan to sell Manitoba to potential tourists, as well as to people living here already.
"It's Manitoba Time" is Travel Manitoba's new pitch in their coming annual marketing campaign.
They must be plenty gunshy after having watched the brutal rejection of the NDP's previous effort at branding the province---the disastrous Spirited Energy campaign.
The first public reaction appears to be ... huh?
Well, at least the reaction isn't as hostile as it was for Spirited Energy, which was DOA, although the government continued to flog it for months to the bought cheers of a tiny band of sycophants.
Travel Manitoba says don't judge the slogan in isolation, wait for the context of the campaign. And there's some truth it that.
Miller Time was a slogan to sell a beer. But the commercials sold fun. Young men hitting a bar after work to share a brewski or two with good fr…

The Winnipeg Free Press: Why screw up once when you can screw up twice?

Waiter, a double serving of crow for the Winnipeg Free Press table, please.
The first week of the new year isn't even over and already the corrections are piling up and apologies flying over at the Free Press.

Facts wrong? Political bias? Yep, just business as usual.
First, there was the public face-plant by columnist Lindor Reynolds whose front-page story about the closing of a family-run fabric store named the wrong store throughout the story. So sorry; heh, heh, we all make mistakes; now quit calling me, she told readers the next day.
And then there was the story by Ottawa reporter Mia Rabson which revealed that the series of Conservative Party-bashing stories she'd written throughout 2010 were w-r-o-n-g wrong. Full-out, completely wrong.
Vaccine centre had quiet death -- Bidders not told of decision for six months -- Timing rules out local politics as factor By: Mia Rabson Posted: 5/01/2011 1:00 AM OTTAWA -- Canada's chief public health officer decided to scrap p…

Proof that the lunatics have taken over the asylum

A new year brings proof that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
There was this story in the Winnipeg Free Press:
Mould in school keeping First Nation's kids out
By: Larry Kusch Winnipeg Free Press Posted: 4/01/2011 1:00 AM |
THEIR school contaminated by mould, the 400 elementary school kids at Bunibonibee Cree Nation at Oxford House have not attended regular classes for most of the past 12 months.
The Oxford House Elementary School was shut down in mid-January 2010 after teachers and students complained of nausea and headaches. It has yet to reopen, although an official with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) said in a recent interview repairs may be completed by the end of February this year.
The school is all of 35 years old and they want it replaced. Indian Affairs says they'll give the reserve $1 million "above normal maintenance spending" to fix the mould problem.
On the same day....
$10 million to spend on memorials for residential schools stude…