Manitoba Wildlands’ Pre-Election Survey

February 2007



Survey Response from the Manitoba Liberal Party



Will your government:

1.    establish an energy plan for Manitoba?

Yes, in the first term of a Liberal Government. Manitoba must have a provincial energy plan for both environmental (e.g. Kyoto targets) and economic (i.e. green energy leadership) reasons.

2.    report on progress on the energy plan every two years?


3.    establish public licensing/assessment standards for new renewable energy projects ?

Yes, in our first term. However, we will also consider an exemption for very small, highly localized renewable energy projects in order to expedite the move to renewable energy production in Manitoba.

4.    undertake consultations regarding renewable energy projects before any are licensed/ constructed on crown lands or waterways?

Yes, Manitoba Liberals will undertake consultations regarding renewable energy projects on crown lands or in close proximity to waterways prior to licensing / construction.


Manitoba Hydro

Will your government:

5.    require Manitoba Hydro to report to the Crown Corporations Committee of the Legislature annually?

Yes, in our first term.

6.    post all current Manitoba hydro water power licences and environmental licenses  online?

Yes, in our first term.

7.    act on Clean Environment Commission recommendation to review and license existing hydro system in Manitoba, through a public process?

Yes, Manitoba Liberals note that the Canada-Manitoba Lake Winnipeg Churchill and Nelson Rivers (LWCNR) Study Board report (1971-1975) called for long-term ecological and socio-economic monitoring and research to protect northern residents from the adverse effects of hydroelectric development. As noted in the CEC review of the Wuskwatim projects, this has never happened under either Conservative or NDP governments.  The CEC also noted in its Wuskwatim projects review, “the CRD (Churchill River Diversion and LWR (Lake Winnipeg Regulation) have been operating for nearly three decades with interim licences.”  Liberals therefore agree with the recommendation of the CEC that “The application for the approval of final licenses for Churchill River Diversion, Augmented Flow Program and Lake Winnipeg Regulation should include a review of the terms and conditions, an operational review and any required environmental impact assessments.”  Liberals also believe this process needs to include the long-term ecological and socio-economic monitoring originally recommended in 1975 so that changes from conditions in 1971-1975 can be adequately and scientifically assessed. This process must also include adequate opportunity for public input.

8.    require Manitoba Hydro to publicly file its technical reports, data, and scientific findings?

Yes, Liberals will work with Manitoba Hydro in identifying and releasing into the public domain technical reports, data, and scientific findings whose public release would not reveal important market-sensitive information to Hydro’s corporate competitors.

9.    require regular, independent external audits of Manitoba Hydro (finances, policies, contracts, and negotiations)?

As a result of documentary evidence by the CBC raising issues about Manitoba Hydro’s handling of expenses in northern Manitoba, Liberals believe it is appropriate for the province’s Auditor General to provide an independent assessment of Manitoba Hydro’s spending in northern Manitoba.   Manitoba Liberals will be guided by the Auditor General’s recommendations as to whether long term changes are needed.

10.    ensure Manitoba Hydro makes development intentions public?

Yes, Liberals will require Manitoba Hydro to input its development intentions into the process that establishes a provincial energy plan, which Hydro would then be required to follow in moving ahead with any of its development projects.

11.    require environmental assessment/license for retrofitting, upgrading, or changing existing hydro dams?

Yes, for those projects over a given size and scope.

12.    make notifications for changes in water levels from generation stations public, at least 2 weeks in advance ?

Yes, Liberals recognize the difficulties that northern communities have experienced in terms of sudden changes in water levels by Manitoba Hydro. Liberals will introduce a more open and transparent process for Manitoba Hydro, one that provides communities with better knowledge of impending changes in water levels.

13.    make sure Manitoba Hydro settles all outstanding compensation claims ?

Yes, Liberals recognize there are a number of outstanding claims going back many years and even decades. We need to expedite the handling of these claims. Liberals will examine the current claims process and make the changes necessary to provide for a fairer and quicker resolution to these outstanding compensation claims.


Climate Change

Will your government:

  1. report publicly on actions since the 2002 Climate Change Action Plan, and 2001 Climate Change Task Force report?
  2. Yes, in our first term. But we add that the NDP has done little to keep this plan up-to-date to reflect the urgency in addressing climate change. Liberals therefore also believe the current Climate Change Action Plan needs to have yearly updates incorporating new information and changes. Additionally, Liberals see the need for an annual day of debate on the Climate Change Action Plan inside the Manitoba Legislature. 
  3. establish third party, independent auditing of climate change actions/ reporting by government and industry in Manitoba?
  4. Yes, by the end of a second term of a Liberal government but possibly earlier. Liberal also want annual reporting of emissions in a public format, accompanied by regular reports on the extent to which the changes undertaken address climate change.
  5. establish public posting of emissions data for large emitters in Manitoba, starting at 100,000 tonnes of emissions per year?
  6. Yes. Federal reporting starts at 300,000 tonnes of emissions per year, but Liberals agree that for the purposes of Manitoba’s climate change planning needs, provincial reporting starting at 100,000 tonnes a year is necessary.
  7. post publicly Manitoba air pollution sources, especially including particulate matter?
  8. Yes, over a certain size – see answer to question 3.
  9. make all Manitoba Hydro emissions and carbon loss public, rather than ‘private information’ in greenhouse gas inventories?
  10. Yes, in our first term. Liberals would also go further and extend this requirement to other crown corporations and large private-sector corporations.
  11. establish a public inventory of carbon held in Manitoba soils, forests, lands and waters?
  12. Yes, in our first term.
  13. adopt a ‘no net loss of carbon and no net gain in emissions’ policy?
  14. Yes, Manitoba Liberals believe we need an even more aggressive climate change policy than this, one that goes beyond ‘no net loss of carbon / no net gain in emissions’ if we are to make real headway in reversing global warming.
  15. incorporate emissions reduction objectives into environmental licensing and operations standards for all public works?
  16. Yes, During our first term, Manitoba Liberal government will develop an approach to public works which incorporates an evaluation of the impact on greenhouse gas production, and provides for approaches which will reduce greenhouse gas production associated with the construction or operation of public works.
  17. mandate renewable portfolio standards  and renewable energy quotas with specific targets and deadlines for Manitoba?

Yes. Liberals will make this part of a provincial energy plan.


Parks, Protected Areas, World Heritage Site

Will your government:

  1. continue to use the definition for protected areas reflected in public policy,  legislation in Manitoba since 1990?
  2. Yes, Manitoba Liberals see the present definition as acceptable.  However, under the NDP, the whole approach to protected areas has been slow and inadequate, and the present definition is often not being acted upon.
  3. complete the network of protected areas in Manitoba’s natural regions started in the 1990’s?
  4. Yes. A Liberal government will put a priority on completing the network and will establish five new protected areas per year in our first term.
  5. uphold the principles of the First Nations protected areas MOU?
  6. Yes. Manitoba Liberals believe it is essential to work cooperatively with Manitoba’s First Nations in order to achieve the network of protected areas.  Liberals are upset that both the Conservative and NDP governments of the last fifteen years have not fulfilled the province’s side of the MOU by failing to establish the network by the year 2000. Liberals will respect the terms of the MOU signed with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) and the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakinak (MKO) using an updated target date for achieving the network. In addition, Liberals will engage the Southern Chiefs Organization (established in 2000) and the AMC with respect to protected areas in southern Manitoba.
  7. establish new protected areas before a new forestry license, mill or hydro (dam and transmission project) license is issued?
  8. Yes, Manitoba Liberals would make the examination of establishing additional protected areas part of the license review process.  Manitoba Liberals would ensure that at the time of licensure, there is an appropriate reference to protected area(s), and that adequate plans are in place to establish the protected area at the time the license is granted.
  9. protect traditional lands nominated by First Nations for inclusion in the proposed  World Heritage Site?
  10. Yes, Manitoba Liberals fully support the WHS proposal initiated by several First Nations communities and endorsed by the Eastside Planning Initiative. We will respond promptly to requests from First Nations for protected area status for lands within their resource management areas.
  11. retain and act on the more than 100 protected areas candidates in Manitoba?
  12. Yes, Liberals are aware of the over 100 candidates for recognition as protected areas and are very aware of how the Doer NDP has been unacceptably slow in reviewing these candidates. Manitoba Liberals will give prompt attention and priority to the full establishment of these protected areas.
  13. priorize action for significant protected areas in our forest regions?

Yes, Manitoba Liberals will provide leadership in prioritizing action on protected areas in Manitoba’s forest regions, particularly boreal forests.   Manitoba is uniquely positioned in Canada to take a leadership in ensuring improved recognition of the importance of our boreal forests and of achieving better boreal stewardship.


Public Access to Information & Consultations

Will your government:

  1. make public all materials used or filed in public hearings, legislative committee hearings, or similar events?
  2. Manitoba Liberals will make public all materials presented in public hearings, legislative committee hearings, and similar events.
  3. make public speeches and presentations by ministers and Premier?
  4. Manitoba Liberals will make the full text of major policy statements and announcements available to the public.
  5. make maps and data sources for government publications public?
  6. Yes, Liberals will make maps used in government publications publicly available. Under the NDP, government publications often provide data which is not fully sourced. Liberals will change that policy so government publications provide improved references to data sources, and where these are not provided in the public document, government will ensure that there is a process for making the data sources available to the public when such requests are made.
  7. direct government staff to respond to information requests, and while avoiding these becoming freedom of information requests?
  8. Yes, in our first term.
  9. adequately staff the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?
  10. Yes, in our first term.
  11. make public review comments for any consultation or public policy/regulatory/license review?
  12. Yes, to the exclusion of any market-sensitive information which many unduly damage the financial operations of private-sector businesses.
  13. adequately resource the Public Registry so it includes, on a timely basis, planning, policy, licensing, and regulatory review files from all government departments?
  14. Yes, in our first term.
  15. set up an online Public Registry, to contain paper public registry files?
  16. Yes, by the end of a second term.
  17. make a complete government phone, address directory available to Manitoba citizens, updated regularly?

Yes, in our first term.


Environmental Licences

Will your government:

  1. maintain up-to-date listing and online copies of all environmental licences under The Environment Act?
  2. Yes, in our first term.
  3. make public for comment alterations, additions, or grandfathering steps under environmental licenses?
  4. Yes, in our first term.
  5. require cumulative environmental impact assessments when renewing Class 2 & 3 licences (such as logging, mills, mining, plants, hydro, etc)?
  6. Yes, by the end of a second term.
  7. make loans, incentives, business agreements, subsidies etc. pertaining to projects requiring environmental licences public?
  8. Yes, where the loans, incentives, business agreements, subsidies, etc. involve public money.
  9. define the geographic scope for significant (Class 2 & 3) projects subject to environmental assessments?
  10. Yes.  Manitoba Liberals see it is a provincial responsibility to define the geographic scope to be considered when proponents seek a license for projects requiring an environmental assessment.
  11. initiate a review of 20 year old Environment Act?
  12. Yes.
  13. have developers respond to public comments about their Environmental Impact Statements in advance of decisions about holding hearings?
  14. Yes, Manitoba Liberals will examine ways to improve the environmental review process to make it more orderly and stable, as opposed to the NDP, which has the bad habit of making unilateral changes to the process for political purposes.
  15. resume posting public review comments, and responses by developers in the public registry?

Yes, in our first term.



Will your government:

  1. post and update  all boil water orders in Manitoba online?
  2. Yes, in our first term.
  3. act on recommendations of the 2005 Lake Winnipeg Implementation Report, with public reporting?
  4. Yes, in our first term, but Liberals want to go further than this by requiring an annual report on the state of Lake Winnipeg with updated annual recommendations, since some of the recommendations of the 2005 report are already out of date.
  5. ensure water conservation is the primary criteria for proposals on new water/wastewater/pipeline projects?
  6. Manitoba Liberals see that water quality, wise use of water, and water conservation are primary criteria for such proposals.
  7. post all water permits, licences, and allocations, with updates including infractions?
  8. Yes, over two terms.
  9. make all water allocations, water reserve, resource permits and licenses public ?
  10. Yes, in our first term.
  11. act on recommendations in the February 2007 Lake Winnipeg Stewardship report, with public updates ?

Yes, in our first term. Manitoba Liberals will also go further to require an Annual Lake Winnipeg Water Stewardship Report and in certain areas we will act immediately to reverse nutrient-loading in the lake, notably by an immediate ban on phosphorus in dishwasher detergents in Manitoba.


Land Use Planning

Will your government:

  1. support and fulfill original East Side Planning Initiative principles for land use planning?
  2. Yes.
  3. acknowledge that 6 years later only one lands plan is in place among 16 east side First Nations, and provide funding assistance to other communities for lands planning?
  4. Yes, in our first term.
  5. continue the current pause in development in the east side ‘planning area’ until communities’ lands plans are in place?
  6. No, Manitoba Liberals will provide adequate funding and assistance in land use planning, while at the same time, work alongside communities to explore eco-friendly development projects (such as eco-tourism) which can fall within WHS plans.
  7. honour the lands plans of individual communities?

Yes, Manitoba Liberals will work with communities and their leaders in respecting their land plans, using a cooperative and non-bureaucratic approach in helping communities.

Environment & Government

Will your government:

  1. appoint an Environmental Commissioner and Auditor for Manitoba, having both a public policy and regulatory auditing role?
  2. Yes, in our first term.
  3. put in place an Environmental Bill of Rights for Manitobans?
  4. Yes, Manitoba Liberals hope to incorporate environmental issues into a broader Bill of Rights for Manitoba.
  5. separate environmental inspection, auditing, licensing, policy, hearings, etc. from the department that manages or protects resources?
  6. Yes, in our first term.
  7. make the Clean Environment Commission independent of the minister, by including it with the Office of the Environmental Auditor?
  8. Yes, in our first term.
  9. maintain online archives of public policy announcements, reports, documents regarding lands and waters and the environment?
  10. Yes, over two terms.
  11. indicate (via notice on departmental website) when a public policy is being retired, updated, or replaced?
  12. Yes, in our first term.
  13. list current public policies regarding lands and waters and Manitoba’s environment in an easy to access, online tool?
  14. Yes, over two terms.
  15. re-establish and fill all scientist and biologist positions in government as of 10 years ago?
  16. Yes, Manitoba Liberals clearly recognize that the current NDP government has done a dismal job in providing necessary support for science and research inside government. Liberals are committed to addressing this shortfall and developing an adequate scientific knowledge base on which to base sound public policy.
  17. fulfill federal/national environmental, water protection, conservation, species standards which Manitoba has signed on to (includes Council of Ministers of the Environment policies, and guidelines, all Ministers’ Councils’ policies and guidelines)?

Yes, Manitoba Liberals will honour environmental commitments that the Manitoba Government has made to other jurisdictions.


Clean Environment Commission / Public Utilities Board

Will your government:

  1. increase staff to enable evidence and proceedings from CEC hearings to be readily available to the public?
  2. Yes, Manitoba Liberals will review the operations of the CEC to ensure that presentations are readily available online to the public.
  3. require ministers of the Manitoba government to respond to CEC reports in a public manner within 90 days of their release?
  4. Yes.
  5. Make CEC evidence, archives, and transcripts easily accessible?
  6. Yes, in our first term.
  7. Make sure that CEC hearings remain open, easily accessible, providing citizens the right to participate?
  8. Yes.
  9. Separate decisions as to who receives participant funding for CEC hearings from administration of funds?
  10. Yes, under the NDP, the Clean Environment Commission has become politicized.  It is important that under all circumstances, but particularly with the politicized model of the CEC under the NDP, to separate decisions as to who will receive intervenor funding and the administration of these funds from the Clean Environment Commission.   Manitoba Liberals will ensure such separation occurs. 
  11. Make the updated schedule for hearings public, on a daily basis ?
  12. Yes.
  13. Make sure that all participants receive copies of all documents from hearings?

Yes, Manitoba Liberals will ensure that all participants can have access to electronic versions of CEC hearing documents in a timely fashion.