Sunday, September 20, 2009

Or maybe not...

A lot seems to have happened since yesterday's post. Andrew Swan's website now has this:

Reports in the Winnipeg Free Press today suggest that The Pas MLA Frank Whitehead and AMC Chief Ron Evans endorsed NDP leadership candidate Andrew Swan yesterday based in part on a promise to reopen the negotiations on the location of the Bipole lll transmission line. According to all three men, this suggestion is baseless.

“The only commitment made by Andrew was an agreement that he would meet with as many First Nations as possible, including all First Nations on the east-side of Lake Winnipeg, during his first year as Premier,” Whitehead said. “As I said at the announcement yesterday, the areas of concern for aboriginal people are economic development and education and training and Andrew underlined strongly that he shares those concerns and will work with us.”

“There was no quid pro quo for our endorsement as it pertains to Bipole III. We chose Andrew because we believe he is the best leader for today and tomorrow.” said Whitehead.”Any suggestion otherwise is incorrect.”

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Ron Evans stated categorically that at no time did he suggest to others that there was a deal on the table to re-visit the location of Bipole III.

“I want to be crystal clear on the Bipole lll issue because I know how important it is to Manitoba’s future, said Swan. “After extensive consultation with stakeholders, the decision on the location of Bipole lll was made. I believed the decision was the right one then, and I believe it is the right one today. I look forward to hearing all ideas about how we can create a better future in all regions of Manitoba, and I am willing to work with all communities to see that happen.”

All pretty benign actually; it seems he wants simply to see what the east side communities think of the process. Which makes me wonder why the Free Press would be so sloppy. Perhaps they want to revisit the issue; that would explain why they dug up this guy at the same time as yesterday's apparently misleading story. He's a fellow with Manitoba Hydro who thinks the west side route is badly misguided. Now I can't comment on the correctness of his argument, but surely he was around when the west side route first was discussed, and my guess is that the concerns he raises have been addressed already. But the paper needs to stir the pot... In any case, so far this morning neither the Free Press nor the Sun seems to have published Swan's clarification.

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