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.

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:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Manitoba Hydro For Sale. Apply to Greg Selinger, NDP sales rep

Wanna buy a dam?
How about a power line?
Maybe a transmission tower? For the kids.
The little wife might appreciate a shiny new converter station.
C'mon. The sale won't last forever.

You won't get a deal like this anywhere. No money down and forever to pay. Hell, we'll give you the money to repay the purchase price--- and more to cover your profit, no questions asked.

Manitoba Hydro for Sale. Call now. Ask for unelected Premier Greg Selinger. Tell him we sent you.

The NDP has begun privatizing Manitoba Hydro and the usual watchdogs of the press are asleep again.

What, you say? The NDP? But, but, but....isn't it the other guys we should be afraid of?

The facts tell the story. The NDP has been selling off pieces of Hydro for years and nobody has uttered a peep.

They've sold off 33 percent of the Wuskwatim dam.
They've signed a deal to sell 25 percent of the Keeyask dam, which will be almost five times as large as Wuskwatim.
And they're planning to sell of pieces of the still-larger Conawapa dam when its time to build it.

At that point they will run out of new dams to sell. So they will turn to selling off pieces of the old dams. Then the power lines and transmission towers. Eventually they'll be left with only the rivers and streams, and they'll start selling them.

What? You haven't heard?

Oh, you've heard all right. It's just that the facts have never been presented in the proper context.

The NDP says they're just working with "partners" on the development of the dams. These "partners" are Indian reserves. And they don't have a pot to piss in, never mind investing tens of millions of dollars to build a hydro dam and get the power to market.

What's clear is that Manitoba Hydro, under orders from the NDP, is selling off dams they will build at public expense to private "partners". Here's how NDP privitization works:

* Hydro will borrow tens of millions of dollars, then "lend" the money to the Indian reserves. * The reserves will give the money back to Hydro as their buy-in of the dams for sale.

*Hydro won't make any money on power it sells to the U.S. from Wuskwatim for the first six years at least because it's going to cost more to produce the power than they'll sell it for. But they're obligated to pay the reserves "profits" (which don't exist) all that time.

* The reserves will use the profits (that don't exist) to pay Hydro back the money that was lent to them. In other words, Hydro is selling them a piece of the dam and subsidizing the sale.

The Wuskwatim privitization will cost Manitobans up to $40 million a year, according to a story by Bruce Owen,the Winnipeg Free Press Legislature reporter. (A Dam-Fine Future, Winnipeg Free Press, June 25, 2011).

"The goal is for NCN (the Nelson House Indian reserve) to own 33 percent of the dam," wrote Owen.

Own. They will own a third of the dam that Manitoba Hydro is building at public expense and then selling to their aboriginal "partners."

That's FORTY MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR that's being diverted from the public coffer to private owners courtesy of the NDP. And that's just the beginning.

The Keeyask project is five times larger. And Conawapa larger than that. By the time the NDP is through privatizing just the new dams, Manitoba will be hundreds of millions of dollars poorer each and every year.

The Winnipeg Free Press, which all week has regurgitated the NDP's scare stories about Hugh McFadyen and the Conservative party's non-existent plans for Hydro, refuses to admit that the NDP is already privatizing Hydro assets.

In the latest scare story, Tory Bipole-swap vow threat to Keeyask: Hydro Boss (June 29, 2011), Mary Agnes Welch wrote:

"A joint ownership and compensation deal with the four First Nations -- Tataskweyak, War Lake, Fox Lake and York Factory -- was signed two years ago."

There's that word again. Ownership. They will own a piece of the dam. The NDP is selling them a portion of the dam. Manitoba Hydro is building the dam, but a slice of the profits of the power will go to private owners instead of the people of Manitoba.

Who has the secret agenda? Ask for unelected Premier Greg Selinger. Tell him we sent you.

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