With the September 10th provincial election on the horizon, CUPE Manitoba launched a campaign to put pressure on the ruling Progressive Conservative government to abandon any thought of privatizing Manitoba Hydro, the province’s public energy utility.
“Brian Pallister was a Cabinet Minister in the same Conservative government that privatized Manitoba Telecom Services with no public consultation,” said Gord Delbridge, President of CUPE Manitoba.
“CUPE members across Canada, and in particular in neighbouring Ontario, know the negative impacts hydro privatization has on the community and we want to prevent that here in Manitoba.”
To-date, Pallister’s Conservatives have already eroded Manitoba Hydro by increasing rates, freezing out the Hydro board, carving out the Power Smart energy efficiency program, and creating a mass exodus of talented Manitoba Hydro employees, many of whom are represented by CUPE 998. Pallister has also hired the people who engineered British Columbia’s hydro privatization to lead Manitoba Hydro.
“When governments privatize public services and Crown corporations, they always start by increasing the cost to the public, while reducing the cost to potential buyers,” said Michelle Bergen, President of CUPE 998 representing Manitoba Hydro employees.
CUPE’s campaign drew attention to the ‘pathway to privatization’ being laid by the Pallister government, and to ensure the public is alerted to the risks.
“Manitobans don’t trust this government to protect Manitoba Hydro,” said Delbridge. “We call on all political parties, including the Progressive Conservatives, to reject hydro privatization outright, and if they don’t, we’re calling on all Manitobans to vote them out.”
CUPE’s campaign included public outreach through radio, digital, and social media platforms.