CUPE 998 welcomes the appointment of five additional Manitoba Hydro Electric Board (MHEB) members. We acknowledge the broad range of skills and abilities required to run Manitoba’s public utility effectively and are encouraged by the addition of board members with specific skillsets and experience. We expect these additions will help existing board members in carrying out their extensive responsibilities but the real test will be in how government responds to the new Board.
A few weeks ago we learned that newly appointed Manitoba Hydro Electric Board Chair, Marina James, requested additional board appointments from government after assessing and identifying gaps in skillsets of existing board members. The Board and Chair should be applauded for conducting such an honest and introspective evaluation and for putting the issue to government decision-makers on April 17, 2018, only scant weeks after being appointed to the position following the resignation of the former MHEB.
The Board’s request for support was not made public at the time but was uncovered through an access to information request by the NDP and made public on June 14, 2018. Soon after this, on June 27, the Conservative government appointed five new board members to address the gaps identified by the incoming Board. We trust the MHEB will continue to put the interests of Manitoba Hydro and Manitobans first. To us this means keeping Manitoba Hydro public so the social and economic benefits derived from our abundant resources and provincial utility are enjoyed by all Manitobans and are not handed over to private, profit-seeking entities. We also hope the current government will engage with and listen to the new Board and avoid creating another resignation situation.