I was scanning the Winnipeg Sun today when I came upon a full page ad directed at Manitoba Hydro employees:
The ad starts by buttering up Hydro employees by telling them that they “have done a fine job”, then sets about explaining why their employer is going to shambles.
The ad explains that the NDP government is forcing Manitoba Hydro to embark on a $22 billion development project that is destroying Hydro’s finances and credibility, and will “drive bills up well beyond many households’ ability to pay.” It lists several people and organizations who have spoken out about Hydro’s ill-advised expansion, including former Chairman of the Public Utilities Board, Graham Lane, before urging the Manitoba Hydro employees (and Manitoba citizens in a post script) to write to Premier Greg Selinger urging him to “stop wasting ratepayers’ hard-earned money, your company’s past excellent reputation and Manitoba’s credit rating.”
Manitoba Forward? Who the hell is Manitoba Forward? God, I hope this isn’t a stunt by the PC party.
Whoever they are, they have a small internet footprint. manitobaforward.com doesn’t exist. manitobaforward.ca does exist, but it is nothing more than a WordPress template that has had literally nothing done to it. This looks like a dead end. Let’s see what Dr.Google can diagnose …
Googling “Manitoba Forward” and “Manitoba Hydro” found a Policy Fix blog post about Bipole III, and about how Premier Selinger will “move Manitoba forward”. Coincidence? Sadly, yes. Policy Fix is a blog run by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The left wing think-tank is a strong supporter of the NDP’s hydro megaprojects. Another dead-end.
What about Twitter? Twitter never lets me down. Ah here we go: @ManitobaForward!
But then there is this: an old Tom Brodbeck article in the Winnipeg Sun talks about a new political party created by “Rogue Tories”:
There are no leaders and it’s still a loosely organized group. However, they do have material printed up and there will be a website: manitobaforward.ca.
Ya, about that web site …
But hey, that means that the web site is related after all. manitobaforward.ca was registered on May 23, 2012, but I cannot tell by who. However manitobaforward.com was registered on the very same day by Jody Dundas of Suckerpunch Creative, a small Winnipeg web design outfit.
Does that mean that a couple of Red River College CreComm grads are behind this ad? No .. more than likely they registered it on behalf of someone else. But whom? Brodbeck’s article threw around some names including Todd Dube of WiseUp Winnipeg (UPDATE: Dube is not involved with this campaign. See comments) and Peter Holle from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Are they still involved in this Manitoba Forward initiative?
What about one-time Brandon mayoral candidate Deborah Boschman? She was pumping Manitoba Forward in the comments of a Brandon Sun article once upon a time. She certainly appears to have a lot of passion. Just check out the comments in this old blog post. Holy smokes. If that is really her …
See, that’s the thing: we don’t know who the heck Manitoba Forward is, or what organization funded these full page ads in the Winnipeg Sun and Winnipeg Free Press, and that means that the credibility of these ads is weakened.
They certainly make valid points about Manitoba Hydro’s projects. These projects make no economic sense with current realities of the energy market today. This is an issue that more people should be talking about. People are upset about cost overruns on the $210 million police headquarters in Winnipeg, but this $20-some billion Hydro plan has the potential of layering crushing debt on Manitoba’s largest crown corporation and impacting Manitoba’s credit rating, not to mention your hydro bills.
Will these ads get people thinking about that? Maybe a little, but people (including myself) are rightfully skeptical about anonymous propaganda that mysteriously appears in your mailbox or newspaper.
That is why it is important for people with more credibility to speak up. People like the aforementioned Graham Lane. Do you want to read something about Manitoba Hydro? Start with this: