Hydro CEO Must Return to Testify at Committee

September 11, 2020

Manitoba Liberals have written a letter to the PCs and NDP asking to immediately recall a committee on Crown Corporations to shed light on recent changes at Manitoba Hydro they say are raising "red flags".

Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA for St. Boniface says his party wants Manitoba Hydro CEO Jay Grewal to return as a witness to explain statements she made in a recent video for employees, as well as a recent decision to cancel business related to Hydro's fibre-optic telecom network.

In an "unlisted" staff update video on YouTube directed at Manitoba Hydro employees, Grewal's comments raised fears of privatizations and sell offs when she said:

"We need to get to a place where customers choose us. At this point in time, we're a monopoly. They don't have choice. What we do know is in the future they will," said Grewal.

On September 4 2020, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that managing director of Manitoba Telecom, Chris Makewich, sent out a directive to immediately, "suspend all activities related to new broadband services including, proposals, contract negotiations, design, construction, and connection to infrastructure," while a request for proposals process is underway to find a third party manager for the asset."

Lamont says that as owners of Hydro, Manitobans have a right to know what is going on.

"Manitobans should know whether the PCs using the pandemic to break up Hydro and sell it off piece by piece," said Lamont. "Hydro's broadband network should not be for sale, period. As a matter of security, it would be reckless for anyone but Hydro to be in control of the communications network that controls dams."

Hydro's telecom business could also be generating revenue for the Crown Corporation by serving as a backbone for expanded internet service to rural and northern Manitoba. Many small Manitoba-based internet companies were counting on working with Hydro when the announcement was made.

"Manitoba Hydro Telecom is a 100% Manitoba-owned solution to providing desperately needed high-speed internet to rural and northern areas, that would generate long-term revenue for the crown corporation." said Lamont. "We need to know why Hydro's management is putting all of that in jeopardy, and we need to know before it is too late."

Lamont added there was no excuse for the committee not to be recalled. While the Manitoba Legislature has not met for question period since the Pallister PCs decided to cut the session short in May, legislative committees have continued throughout the summer.



VIDEO - Brief Clip of Jay Grewal - https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N3YXM7lGGRpIJKudKAKiZCMRYYDYdYEl/view

Full video - Youtube - www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9Xu5jyYhXc&feature=youtu.be


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