(Charlottetown- April 1, 2013) Mike Redmond, Leader of the New Democratic Party of Prince Edward Island, is calling on the provincial government to hold public hearings on the observations and recommendations of the PEI Energy Commission Report released in January.
“We just saw the provincial cabinet moving on the Commission recommendation to pay off Maritime Electric debt associated with the Point LePreau refurbishment by borrowing $70 million. The government has not proven the merit of the Commission’s recommendations, and therefore should hold public hearings before moving to implementation of them,” stated the NDP Leader.
On January 5, Redmond pointed out that the Energy Commission Report lacked sufficient information and analysis on a number of key issues. At that time Redmond indicated that the Commission did not properly examine a range of ownership models and best practices and instead moved decisively to a specific recommendation without supporting argumentation.
“Back in January, the Commission jumped to the conclusion that Islanders would benefit from a hybrid model, where Maritime Electric would continue with electrical transmission while the Province would take over responsibility for electrical generation. But neither the Commission nor the government produced the numbers to back up that argument,” said Redmond.
The provincial cabinet action to borrow $70 million for Maritime Electric debt comes immediately after the release of a highly debt burdened provincial budget. In her first report, new Auditor General Jane MacAdam indicated that provincial net debt is growing faster than the provincial economy. MacAdam also stated that debt-to-GDP ratio is the number most closely watched by bond raters.
“So we have a clear situation of financial mismanagement by a government and then huge borrowing on an action not yet proven to be of benefit to Islanders. Wes Sheridan or Robert Ghiz should lead public hearings on the Energy Commission Report. They do not have the mandate to proceed on such huge actions and sweeping changes. They should make their case to Islanders before borrowing and spending millions of our money,” concluded the NDP Leader.
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NDP PEI Leader