Monday, July 15, 2024
Jay Grewal visited the North West Territories when she was President of Manitoba Hydro. Photo: Facebook
Democracy & GovernmentGuest ContributionsOpinion/Column

Take notice: question the Net Zero agenda, and you’re out the door

Canada needs men and women who are willing to say “no” to net zero

by Dan McTeague

Dan McTeague, President, Canadians for Affordable Energy Photo: CAE

The other week the CEO of Manitoba Hydro was ousted from her position by the utility’s NDP appointed Board of Directors. This story likely won’t get much attention outside of Manitoba, but it should. Why? Because it illuminates just how overzealous the Net Zero cult has become. 

Now-former CEO Jay Grewal was appointed in 2019 as CEO of Manitoba Hydro under Brian Palliser’s Progressive Conservatives. Ms. Grewal is an accomplished executive with decades of experience and impeccable credentials. She was the utility’s first female CEO, and by all accounts handled her role well, “leading the utility through significant challenges, including two droughts, a severe snowstorm and the COVID-19 pandemic,” in the words of NDP Finance Minister Adrien Sala, who oversees Hydro.

So, what was the issue? Well, according to the Winnipeg Free Press, the NDP government decreed that Manitoba Hydro “chart a path to achieve a net-zero energy grid by 2035.” And Ms. Grewal, because she knows her brief, described that mandate as “not feasible.” That is, it can’t be done.

What did this quite sensible position, grounded in reality, get her? Fired.

The story goes that Ms. Grewal, speaking off the cuff at a public event, suggested the wind and solar build-out Manitoba Hydro had committed to was best financed privately, not through the public utility, given the huge costs and uncertainties involved. Daring to suggest private investment in the world of crown utilities is putting a red flag before a bull, and the NDP “crown ownership is sacrosanct” bull flew into a rage. This may have been the fatal mistake that made Grewal’s firing a sure thing. Minister Sala clamped down on that one right away, releasing a statement which said that “the NDP government expects new generating assets to be publicly owned.” Sorry tax-payers!

But why is there even discussion of a big solar and wind build out? Because that is part of the net zero mantra.

Manitoba Hydro is a large utility, delivering reliable electricity and gas energy to hundreds of thousands of Manitobans. And the province is not in great financial shape. According to a government report from December, Manitoba’s forecasted deficit has ballooned to over $1.6 billion. As it stands Manitobans pay 33 cents for every dollar of their Hydro bill to service interest on the NDP Hydro debt, according to Grant Jackson, PC shadow minister for Manitoba Hydro. The utility is key to the province’s long-term economic wellbeing. And the affordable, reliable power the utility delivers is key to getting Manitoba into better financial shape.

That doesn’t seem to matter much to Premier Kinew and his NDP government. What matters is adherence to the ideology. They don’t want a steady hand at the tiller, they want a green rubber stamp on all of their questionable decisions. A “Yes Man.” Or, in this case, a Yes Woman.

I suspect that Ms. Grewal went along with as much as she did against her better judgement. Her net zero comment shows that she’s a woman of sense. As does her suggestion that there be private-sector partners to help fund new projects.

But in the end, going along to get along didn’t do her or the province any good. “Give ‘em an inch, and they’ll take a mile,” is the old expression, and that’s always the way with green ideologues. Their demands are never ending, and before you know it, our way of life is fundamentally altered.

Leaders in business across Canada should take note of this episode, because it shows that it doesn’t work to feed the crocodile in the hope that he’ll eat you last. What Canada needs right now is men and women who will stand up and speak clearly, who are willing to say no to net zero and its economy-destroying demands.

Good for Ms. Grewal for speaking the truth. Hopefully the next time she does, she’ll add that the Net Zero madness is not only “unachievable” but “irresponsible” and “un-Canadian” as well.

*****

Dan McTeague, President of Canadians for Affordable Energy

An 18 year veteran of the House of Commons, Dan is widely known in both official languages for his tireless work on energy pricing and saving Canadians money through accurate price forecasts. His Parliamentary initiatives, aimed at helping Canadians cope with affordable energy costs, led to providing Canadians heating fuel rebates on at least two occasions.

Widely sought for his extensive work and knowledge in energy pricing, Dan continues to provide valuable insights to North American media and policy makers. He brings three decades of experience and proven efforts on behalf of consumers in both the private and public spheres. Dan is committed to improving energy affordability for Canadians and promoting the benefits we all share in having a strong and robust energy sector.