First, was the magnificent performance of Winnipeg's own Samantha Hill at the Tony Awards, a show which was watched by 7.2 million people. She had the honour of singing the immortal showstopper 'Music of the Night' during a tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'The Phantom of the Opera', which, this January became the longest-running show in Broadway history.
This year Hill reached the top of the theatre mountain, taking the female lead of Christine Daee in the Broadway production, opposite Peter Joback as the Phantom. If you missed it, you can catch their performance at the Tony's here:
At the other end of the scale, we read the full 30-page heart-stopping commentary by Graham Lane, former chairman of the Public Utilities Board, on Doer's Folly, the runaway train that's Manitoba Hydro and the wreck that's awaiting us at the end of the line.
Lane issued his paper concurrently with a speech to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, the local think tank, which he's just joined. As head of the PUB, Lane watched Hydro careen from one disaster to another, from a crippling drought to meglomaniacal growth plans. Now, after a year-long "cooling off" period, he's free to talk about what he knows as an insider.
Lane demonstrates how Manitoba Hydro has become a puppet for the NDP government. Contrary to what people may believe, Hydro's main objective is NOT to provide power at the lowest rates possible for Manitobans.
For the uninitiated, Lane is talking about the series of Seventies-style mega projects that Hydro has announced and which are forecast to cost $33 billion over 20 years. This includes the BiPole III power line from power plants in northern Manitoba to the south, two new giant dams and power stations, and the rebuilding of a dilapidated dam on the Winnipeg River, a dam which was owned by Winnipeg Hydro and which was said to require only minor upgrading when Manitoba Hydro took it over.
"Recently, Manitoba’s NDP government has unleashed a barrage
of propaganda in support of the planned costly development, including the
repeating of an implausible claim originally made by former Manitoba Premier Doer that hydroelectric power is “Manitoba’s oil”...", wrote Lane.
• Natural gas prices would stay high and increase (not $4 per GJ, but $10 or
• There would be a price on carbon, providing for a premium price for hydro
• Rather than industrial closures, new and expanded industry would develop to drive demand growth;
• Higher spot and fixed export prices would develop, not the three cents and
under for spot sales of recent years;
• Construction costs to increase with inflation—now, the initial forecasts are
recognized as being far too low;
• An eastern route for BiPole III would save a billion dollars and reduce troublesome engineering concerns;
• A lower Canadian dollar; and,
• A much higher rate would be in place for new or expanded energy intensive
Smelting has closed its smelter. And, Vale plans to close its smelter and refinery."