Sunday, September 11, 2011

Manitoba Election 4

The NDP can't seem to help themselves. They love playing with the Crown corporations. Not content to let the Crowns operate at arm's length with specific goals and parameters, they seek to interfere and expand their control over them.

Witness the overruling on Manitoba Hydro and where the hydro lines will run.

The election promise to keep Hydro and Autopac the cheapest in the country seems like interference of the worst kind.

The Public Utilities Board is the oversight for these organizations for ensuring cost control, safety and the like.

We regulate the rates charged by Manitoba Hydro (electrical utility), Manitoba Public Insurance (auto insurance), some gas or propane utilities (Centra Gas, Stittco, Swan Valley Gas Corp.) and all water and sewer utilities outside Winnipeg.

We license owners and agents under The Cemeteries Act and funeral directors under The Prearranged Funeral Services Act.

We supervise the construction and operation of natural gas and propane pipelines, and make sure that gas and propane are safely distributed to Manitoba consumers.

We register brokers of natural gas under the Public Utilities Board Act.

So, let me clear here so all that fearmongering among the NDP stalwarts doesn't get out of control. I support our Crown corporation save for the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission which I think could stand to have a review. And I say that about the MLCC not much because I believe they are doing a bad job with their stores but because I don't know what case we can make for the stores being run by the government now.

If there is a case, then I can wholeheartedly support it.

It seems we are too afraid to really have the debate on such issues such as Sunday shopping or liquor stores.

Suffice to say though that Greg Selinger's promise to:

...preserve our affordability advantage.

might in fact, undermine the Public Utilities Board.

It also might discourage better energy use and safer driving. How might that happen? Well, the Manitoba government is the owner of the land at Waverley West. It was supposed to be a completely geo-thermal sub-division. That is suddenly off the table.

And why not? If hydro keeps their rates below market value, what incentive is there to actually switch over to other forms of energy?

Ditto, cars. Why switch to transit if the government keeps it below costs?

No matter how you look at it, it amounts to interference and that doesn't make for sound management practices or good leadership.

The NDP knows better but they are trying to lowbrow the election with promises that don't promote better government. It is disappointing.

The election has only had a few promises that actually have sounded good without being cynical.

After 12 years, the NDP fearmongering is getting quite tiresome. It is no substitute for fresh ideas.

Sadly, the Tories have not run a smooth or innovative campaign. Where is the promise of full time Kindergarten? Where is the promise to let retailers set Sunday and holiday shopping hours? Where is the promise to loosen liquor retailing?

Hope things change soon because it is a bit depressing thinking that our province continues to wait for others to do things. How provinces will have full time Kindergarten before us?

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