News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 26, 2021

STATEMENT FROM CROWN SERVICES MINISTER JEFF WHARTON ON THE ECONOMIC REVIEW OF BIPOLE III AND KEEYASK



Today, after an extensive and extremely thorough review, Manitobans finally have answers to key questions regarding the Bipole III and Keeyask projects and the former government’s role in advancing these projects. On behalf of the government of Manitoba, I want to thank Commissioner Brad Wall and the staff of the Economic Review on Bipole III and Keeyask for the work they undertook to get these answers for Manitobans.

The construction of Bipole III and Keeyask was billions of dollars over budget, an economic burden that is placed squarely on the shoulders of Manitobans to bear. Our government commissioned this economic review to determine why these projects went ahead in spite of the economic and environmental evidence against them, and to seek recommendations on how we can ensure such an unprecedented situation can never be repeated.

This economic review demonstrates the former government sought to actively dismiss and ignore concerns regarding the need for the Keeyask generating station and the routing of the Bipole III transmission line. The review also confirms the former government directly interfered to ensure that these projects would conform to their preferences, rather than economic considerations and the clear recommendations of utility and environmental experts. In addition, the review finds that, once the projects were underway, proper government oversight was not in place, which allowed project costs to escalate by billions of dollars with no recourse.

The findings of the Economic Review on Bipole III and Keeyask confirm what Manitobans have long-suspected: the former government interfered in the development of these projects and that, as a result, Manitobans have been left with a massive debt burden as the owners of Manitoba Hydro.

Manitobans need to be able to hold Manitoba Hydro and the projects they undertake to account. This review confirms that Manitobans were deliberately left in the dark regarding Bipole III and Keeyask, and provides clear recommendations to ensure this can never happen again. Our government has already taken steps toward this with the introduction of bill 35, the public utilities and ratepayer protection act, which would ensure all current and future operations of our publicly owned Manitoba Hydro are transparent and fully accountable to Manitobans.

Our government will review the findings and recommendations in full, and will continue to take actions to enact clear and transparent policies that ensure any future projects are both accountable and demonstrate value to Manitobans.

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