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Showing posts from October, 2009

Bellringer, O'Learygate and Crocus: The NDP's Hallowe'en House of Horrors

Transcripts of meetings of Legislature committees are generally pretty dull reading. So why, we asked ourselves, were we getting a chill up our collective spines. Suddenly, it was clear. Without knowing it, we had entered---- the NDP's Hallowe'en House of Horrors. Page after page of last week's regularly scheduled Public Affairs Committee meeting were filled with demonic scenarios, ghosts of scandals past, and disgraces risen from the dead to scare us once again. Continue reading at your own risk. There are no treats here. Audits that go bump in the night or, Don't Call Me Quasimodo Carol Bellringer knows how fishy it looks for her to be auditing her friends and colleagues at Manitoba Hydro. But she's determined to plow ahead, the public's concern for ethics be damned. "I don't actually believe that I do have a conflict, but we do acknowledge and accept the fact that there could be that perception with the public," Bellringer, Manitoba's Audit


"It was Brennan who specifically asked me not to substantiate the findings." With those 12 words, the woman who has become known as the Manitoba Hydro whistleblower has assured the need for a full-blown investigation of Hydro---and specifically its President and CEO, Bob Brennan. "Brennan's comments need to be refuted as completely false and incorrect," she told The Black Rod in an exclusive correct-the-record expose on Monday. Miss Whistle, as we'll call her, has gone to war over Brennan's sly campaign of attacking her credibility in light of the decision by the Public Utilities Board to look into her whistleblower complaint of gross mismanagement at Hydro. She had been a risk consultant for Hydro up to the day she gave Brennan an advance copy of a report she had prepared warning of huge and avoidable financial losses and the possibility of power blackouts. His latest salvo against her came in the Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg's First Family of millionaire moochers have outdone themselves

Last week it was announced that "Penny" Lenny, "Brother Can You Spare A Dime" David, and Gigglin' Gail Asper had managed to ride their daddy's Canwest Global empire into the toilet. It's been an open secret for more than a year that these business sharpies were headed for bankruptcy court. It was last October that Canwest shares officially became a penny stock. In 2000 the stock traded at $18.55 a share; it had collapsed to 93 cents in the fall (pun intended) of 2008. It hit bottom at 12 1/2 cents before bouncing up to a whopping 20 cents a share in September. And now we learn that the Aspers' plan for restructuring includes stiffing their employees for their vacation pay. When it comes to their own pet projects, they've got their hands out; when it comes to their employees, it's "talk to the hand." Among their victims are local favourites Meera Bahadoosingh and Andrea Slobodian who left Global TV Winnipeg last month for new jobs wi

Why Manitoba Hydro is keeping secrets from the PUB

Manitoba Hydro is waging an under-the-radar power struggle with the Public Utilities Board. For over a year Hydro has been playing cat-and-mouse with the PUB, promising to deliver information the board wants, then reneging, promising, then reneging again. At issue is the utility's risk analyses for its plans to spend $18 billion over the next 15 years to build new dams in northern Manitoba . The PUB wants to know how Hydro can justify the huge expense and what alternatives they have if Hydro's profit projections evaporate into thin air. The fear is that the entire cost of the new dams will fall on the shoulders of Manitoba electricity users, not to mention the very real possibility that we will be forced to buy electricity at an unknown price in order to fulfill our obligations to provide it to American customers at a fixed price----in other words, to subsidize the U.S. buyers. Last September, The Black Rod examined PUB documentation to produce a three-part expose of Manitoba H