Graham Lane is not a known name in Newfoundland
and Labrador. Perhaps, he could
multitude of roles in that and several other Provinces, including roles as Chairman of the
Public Utilities Board of Manitoba and Vice-President of the University of
Winnipeg. A retired Chartered Accountant, his career has spanned
fifty years and his CV suggests he has enjoyed more public sector policy
challenges than one individual and one career ought to face.
for Public Policy”, a private think tank.
His Paper was entitled “Damn-Nation, Rolling the Dice on Manitoba’s Future”.
His expertise, on matters dealing with hydro
electricity, must be acknowledged. Though
his remarks are directed towards Manitoba Hydro and the Government of Manitoba, much of what he has to say
could be applied to Nalcor and how that Crown Agency has emerged as the
greatest single threat to the financial stability of Newfoundland and Labrador.
expert review” of Manitoba Hydro (MH), its consistently poor estimates and
forecasting, its poor debt to equity ratio as compared to private utilities, its
reporting “opaqueness” and the fact that cheaper options are available to meet
that Province’s electricity needs. He speaks of “plans that were conceived
before the global credit crises, the recession….shale gas production…and
America’s move for energy security”.
the rate payers, not just from understated budgets for capital expenditures but
also that associated with the potential for subsidy to Manitoba Hydro’s export power
contractual commitments. He speaks
to poor management and poor governance.
stellar record of successful hydro development.
What Graham Lane refers to as the “WUSKWATIM DISASTER” contains many lessons
for Muskrat Falls.
Manitoba Hydro International (MHI), an arm of Manitoba Hydro, whom Nalcor and the
NL Government employed as its “Consultant”. When you have read Graham Lane’s Presentation,
likely you will ask yourself if MHI really was the most expert and most
independent advice we could have gotten.
substantial expertise for ‘boondoggles’ that contribute to their empire
interest, to control overly ambitious bureaucrats and to kill policies which
expose us to more risk than is needed or our economic heft affords.
public policy experts in the field of electricity. But, whether its electricity, fisheries,
mining or in some other field, citizens have an obligation to keep an eye on
what their government is up to, especially when its decisions are risk laden to
a degree in excess of what is prudent for a small society, like ours.
Like most public policy issues, it is always a good idea to get the views of others experts. Graham Lane will most certainly leave you something to think about. “Damn-Nation, Rolling The Dice on Manitoba’s Future”