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NB Liberals still in hot seat: reactions to revised NB Power deal

As reactions roll in, it is clear that the Liberals are far from gaining needed support for the revised energy agreement between New Brunswick and Québec (and with good reason) and that their party image continues on its downward spiral.

You can read some our responses to the revised deal in my previous blog, More spin? New deal proposed for sale of NB Power.

As reported in the Globe and Mail, the new deal has not placated Premier Danny Williams concerns: “In a telephone interview from St. John’s, Mr. Williams said the deal announced this week is an improvement, but could still hurt Atlantic provinces that want to export clean power to New England. “I have serious concerns based on the past behaviour of Hydro-Québec,” he said.”

As reported in the Telegraph Journal, a citizens’ coalition of New Brunswickers opposed to the sale, known as NB Power Not for Sale, announced their intentions to legally challenge the deal: “This is the dark side of democracy,” Mann said in an interview [Tom Mann, executive director of the New Brunswick Union].  “The people of New Brunswick want to participate in this discussion – the most important in this province in generations. Instead, this government is sliding this away from the public and into the hands of a backroom committee that is not open to the people of New Brunswick.”

One of the legal avenues being pursued is access to information requests seeking to gain more information about the proposed agreement.

Auguste Gallant, member of the NB coalition and resident of Grand Barachois, is preparing an application to the Court of Queen’s Bench seeking a declaration that the province does not have the authority to sell NB Power assets:  “I think that somebody has to put their name to it,” Gallant said when asked why his name will be on the court document….It’s a question of ownership and that question has never, never been resolved. I don’t think the owner of NB Power is Shawn Graham and his government, I think it’s the people of New Brunswick.”

In a letter to the Premier of Québec, New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward highlights nationalization of New Brunswick’s energy system as an option to undo the planned deal (if passed); a measure his Party would consider if they come to power as a result of the fall election. You can read more about this in the cbc article, Nationalization’ of NB Power an option: PC leader

Meanwhile, Jack MacDougall, leader of the Green Party in New Brunswick, announced his party’s plans to release an alternative energy policy (as reported in the Times Transcript):”[In addition to plans for greater investment in Efficiency New Brunswick] The Green Party calls for the use of locally produced natural gas, to be used as a transition fuel as the province shifts towards sustainable energy, as well as a system of decentralized, efficient co-generation facilities to provide base load power and heating needs.

The plan also includes a limited power-purchase agreement with Hydro-Québec, to allow for less fossil fuel use in New Brunswick as the province shifts towards alternative energy sources. The move will also help stabilize rates, the policy states. In addition, it criticizes details of the Liberals’ plan to sell much of the province’s generation assets to Quebec, specifically the across-the-board rate cuts to industry.”

You can read more about the proposed Green Party plans here

NDP leader in New Brunswick, Roger Duguay, has announced that their party is planning to release an energy plan for the province this coming Monday, January  25.

Clearly, the Liberals are far from winning over public opinion and needed support for the proposed deal.