Winnipeg Free Press

Re: Gov’t proposes new bill to improve oversight of Crown corporations (Aug. 15)

The new government has signalled its desire to pursue a "hands off" approach with Crown corporations, preferring to let them run their own affairs. We understand and applaud the government’s goal of not interfering with the corporation’s operations. Indeed, it was precisely this kind of interference that forced the current routing of Bipole III, and needlessly imposed additional billions of dollars of tax burden on Manitobans.

However, we do not believe that an absolute "hands off" attitude is appropriate either, and recent comments cause us great concern.

Manitoba Hydro has vast expertise in technical areas related to power generation, transmission and distribution. It is in those technical areas that government should rightly distance itself.

However, this Crown corporation is more than just an amalgamation of technical skills and expertise. It is an entity designed to take a resource that belongs to all Manitobans, and to manage it in a way that serves the best interests and welfare of all citizens. This goes beyond the purely technical, and touches much larger issues such as fairness, equity, and social justice.

These in turn impact the quality of life of Manitobans and the economic prosperity of our province. And while governments do well to let technical experts make decisions that rely on their particular skills, this government must not ignore its responsibility towards the broader interests of all Manitobans.