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...without a paddle


A few interesting announcements were made last week with province-wide impact and, on both accounts, only time will tell if either will meet approval.
• Manitoba Hydro announced that they are once again seeking an increase from the Public Utilities Board (PUB).
Earlier this year Manitoba Hydro proposed the 7.9 percent increase starting August but was denied. The crown corporation was looking to increase rates for five years but was instead approved for just a 3.36 increase. Now, they are back at the PUB and are requesting additional rate increases of 7.9 percent per year until 2023-24, and an increase of 4.54 per cent in 2024-25 instead of the two percent originally projected after the year 2022.
Hearings for the general rate application are set to begin in December but Manitoba Hydro has said that the rate increases are necessary because the corporation wasn’t approved the 7.9 per cent increase requested prior.
With debts soaring at $1.9 billion this year, following projects in the Northern part of the province and with Bi-Pole III, it's no wonder they are looking to recoup some of that loss from their monopolized customers. They even went as far as to say that they are committed to restoring its financial health over a 10-year period and, in the long run, it will benefit customers.
I don't know about you but I can't see how that much increase could ever benefit me as a hard working customer who already gives them a large portion of my paycheque each month. I also fail to see how the biggest financial blunder of this decade (Bi-Pole III) is also our mess to clean up but I guess that's the joys of a crown corporation. In the business world, it's things like this that cause businesses to fold.
• In opposition news, the Manitoba NDP had a convention last weekend with a vote between leadership candidates Wab Kinew and Steve Ashton. The result of the delegate vote was 728 for Wab Kinew and 253 for Steve Ashton.
At just 35 years old, Kinew has been a musician, broadcaster and university administrator, well known as a host of programming on both CBC Radio and Television.
But, in the past few months he's probably best known for his domestic assault scandal. Kinew has adamantly denied allegations from a former girlfriend who stated he threw her across a room during a fight causing severe rug burns to her legs. And, while court records from 2003 do show that he was charged with two counts of assault on this individual, the crown did stay the charges in 2004.
Kinew has talked previously about his troubled past, which also includes misogynistic and homophobic rap lyrics and social media posts, and has expressed a will to change and be a force for good. But, the domestic violence charges, as well as a conditional discharge in Ontario for assault in 2004, only came to light last month.
Despite all this, he received an overwhelming victory. I'm not sure if it was because of the way he handled the circus that followed him or if it was the faith party members had in his vision for the future but, either way, the NDP are still recovering from the devastating loss of the last election and probably have their fingers crossed that this decision won't find them up a creek without a paddle once again.