BEST WISHES to provincial energy minister Bill Bennett on his search for answers as to why BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line budget ballooned from a range of $561 million to $617 million in early spring (already substantially more than first envisaged) to $736 million by the end of May.
But why Mr. Bennett, a cabinet minister not known for his calm approach to governing, would dredge up a BC Hydro scandal from the 1990s is a mystery.
The scandal involved a BC Hydro investment in a Pakistani power project, one saddled with tales of corruption in Pakistan and desperate measures by senior officials back home to make the whole thing go away.
“At least,” said Mr. Bennett in the legislature June 27 during debate on the Northwest Transmission Line, “this investment is taking place in British Columbia and not in Pakistan.”
Mr. Bennett obviously intended this as a shot at the NDP under whose watch the Pakistani project was conceived and executed.
There’s no doubt Mr. Bennett’s questioning of BC Hydro needs to be thorough and exact and, for taxpayers, accountable.
If heads need to roll, so be it. But to equate the Pakistani scandal with the Northwest Transmission Line is more than a bit of a stretch.
This is a time for a cool-headed assessment of what went wrong and not the time for political posturing.