Since the sale of NB Power to Hydro-Québec was first announced last October, the Council of Canadians has been raising concerns and calling for public hearings on the deal.
Today the CBC reports that, “The New Brunswick government is delaying the $3.2-billion sale of NB Power assets to Hydro-Québec for nearly two months in order to hold a full public debate on the controversial deal.”
“A committee of MLAs will hold at least 50 hours of public hearings in April, the Liberals announced Friday morning.”
While it is unacceptable that “House leader Greg Byrne said the public consultations won’t lead to any changes to the agreement itself,” this is still a win for public pressure and Mr. Byrne should not be so confident about the outcome of these hearings.
“The full text of the agreement with Quebec, and legislation to enact it, will be introduced in the legislature by the end of March. The March 31 deadline to sign the agreement has been pushed back until May 21.”
“On Feb. 18, the Graham Liberals voted down an Opposition demand for a referendum. Conservative Leader David Alward contends the government doesn’t have a mandate to sell the majority of NB Power’s assets to Hydro-Québec and the public deserves to have a voice on the issue, which will affect the province’s future. There should be a referendum or the deal should be delayed until after the Sept. 27 provincial election, he has said.”
The CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/politics/story/2010/02/26/nb-nbpower-deal-delayed-debate.html.