Winnipeg Free Press: Letters
Sun, Apr 9, 2000
U.S. offers us taste
of own medicine
SO, MY FELLOW Manitobans, how does it feel to have the governor of North
Dakota come up here, hear our concerns, then say he's still going ahead with
his Devils Lake water diversion project?
How does it feel to have a politician from down south make a decision that
could negatively affect your future and not be able to do anything about it?
How does it feel to voice your concerns and try to generate sympathy among
people who can make a difference and have them turn a cold shoulder to you?
To put their own interests before yours and dismiss any considerations of
Doesn't feel good, does it? Kind of frustrating. Now maybe we have an idea
what natives up north go through whenever Manitoba Hydro decides to build a
dam and displace whole communities.
is being paid
I was rather taken aback at some of the claims made in the April 2
front-page article U.S. listens to band's grievances with Hydro so I did
some digging of my own. Misinformation is being spread about Hydro.
First it was claimed Manitoba Hydro has made "billions in profits." A quick
check of Hydro's 1999 annual report shows that Manitoba Hydro has retained
earnings, which are the sum total of all of Hydro profits since the
beginning of time, of $665 million, much less than even $1 billion.
Second, it was stated "Pimicikamak is the only first nation among the five
to pursue its claim." Again, a check of Hydro's annual report shows that the
other first nations have done a very good job of pursuing their claims to
the point that Hydro has already paid out $396 million in claims and expects
to pay out another $136 million. Far from not pursuing their claims, the
other bands that signed the Northern Flood Agreement have already settled
their claims for a total of $229 million. In fact, it looks like for every
dollar Manitoba Hydro has ever made in profit, it paid out another 80 cents
The article suggests the Pimicikamak (or Cross Lake) burial grounds and
hunting area were destroyed by flooding. A review of Manitoba Hydro's Web
site revealed that the primary effect of the development was to lower water
levels on Cross Lake and in fact no flooding of Pimicikamak reserve land
occurred. Flooding did occur on 35,000 acres of 3,600,000 acres in their
traditional resource area, but flooding less than one per cent of the
resource area and none of the reserve land hardly seems enough to destroy
all of the burial sites and hunting in the area. Pimicikamak has already
received $44 million in compensation for this flooding, and saw fit to
reject a further offer of $110 million in compensation.
Pimicikamak had better be careful its lobbying campaign doesn't backfire. If
it succeeds in its goal of blocking Hydro sales to the U.S., it will only
cripple Hydro's ability to pay compensation and end up with much less in the
© 2000 Winnipeg Free Press. All Rights Reserved.