'Let's not stand on the sidelines while the few who will benefit greatly from this deal give away our crown jewel.' - Susie Proulx Daigle.
Fredericton (20 Nov. 2009) - The New Brunswick Union of Public and Private Employees (NBUPPE/NUPGE) has come out against the controversial sale of NB Power to Hydro Quebec.
"This proposed deal, which was announced to the public less than two weeks ago, has generated a large and justifiable outcry from our friends, our communities and ourselves," says union president Susie Proulx Daigle.
Information made public so far shows that the deal is unfair and provides insignificant value to the public, she argues.
"If the NB Power deal goes through, what crown jewel of the province will next be sold by Premier Graham and his select team?" she asks.
"Will it be our hospital delivery system? The Saint John Regional Hospital? Maybe the new governance model for the community college system to be packaged for sell off?"
The union leader says the secrecy surrounding the deal, the lack of public involvement and the mounting pile of misleading information related to the $5 billion in savings that the deal would supposedly generate, are "profoundly troubling."
No one really knows how the government came up with the figure or with the claim that 60% of all savings generated will flow to residential and small business customers, she adds.
She says it now appears that the $5 billion figure is based not on a reasonable time frame, such as five to 10 years, but a period stretching 30 to 40 years, or more, into the future.
Moreover, the deal appears to favour industry over ordinary citizens and small business, she adds.
"According to their own figures, in year one industry will save $91 million in power rates compared to $16 million for residential customers ... five and a half times more money for industry. The cumulative industrial savings are between $200 million and $300 million more than residential savings. Industry comes out way ahead - and in the first five years."
She says the premier's claim that the deal will cut provincial debt by 40% appears to be bunk. Three reputable credit rating agencies – Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and DBRS – have all indicated that the deal will have "have no impact on our burden of debt," she notes.
'A deal must work for all'
"Our bargaining history and experience has taught us that a deal must work for all parties. A deal must be negotiated in good faith. This proposed deal with Hydro-Quebec leaves us short in faith and long in skepticism about the deal and those who made it," she says.
"This is political. We are taxpayers. We are owners of NB Power. Let's not stand on the sidelines while the few who will benefit greatly from this deal give away our crown jewel."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE