PEI Premier Ghiz pins hopes on Churchill Falls development

$6.2 billion deal for 834 MW between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland another pie in the sky deal for Ghiz
Premier Ghiz is a wishing and a hoping lower energy rates will come to PEI.
Nova Scotia and Newfoundland this week negotiated an historic deal to produce another 834 MW from Churchill Falls.
PEI’s Premier Robert Ghiz is taking a hands-off, laid back approach while PEI’s economy worsens.
“If they make us an offer for a long-term deal that we think would be beneficial for the province, it’s something we’ll look at, similar to what we have with Point Lepreau,” Ghiz told reporters Thursday.” (CBC)
One hardly expects people to come running to them with a deal to lower PEI’s energy costs. Premier Ghiz is going to have to get on the phone, on a plane and start managing PEI’s energy crisis.
This is the same off-handed approach Ghiz took to the NB Power / Hydro Quebec deal. He was always out of the loop.
“So at the end of the day, we know hydro that’s produced in Quebec is cheap, renewable power and if now we’re able to receive more of that here in the Maritime region, that could be a good thing.” PEI’s Premier Ghiz in the dark on NB Power sale
Ghiz is adrift on energy policy and costs. Islanders have no confidence that he has negotiated a good deal in his new Energy Accord with Maritime Electric.  It’s sad to contemplate but our premier is a babe in the woods when negotiating with experienced business people like Fortus/Maritime Electric.

High energy costs pushing PEI into industrial decline
Energy rates have climbed 50% in three years while Ghiz fiddles in his office. Energy costs have a direct impact on the economy and industrial development.  Any province that allows it’s input costs to rise that precipitously is going to lose market share.
As it stands all Island businesses are at a disadvantage to those on the other side of the Northumberland Strait. McCain’s and Irving’s process potatoes cheaper in New Brunswick over PEI?  The PEI processing lines are shutting down and Islanders are being thrown out of work.
It’s no coincidence that the industrial expansion on PEI during the second half of the 1990s was due to the “NB Power plus 10%” rate cap that Premier Callbeck negotiated with Maritime Electric. With parity, processing plants could afford to locate on PEI and jobs were created.
Electricity costs affect every sector of the economy. The IT sector is especially sensitive to power rates. Each IT worker needs one or often two computers, plus routers, switches, servers all of them using more and more power as the processing speed goes up. Games programmers for instance need the most powerful and power hungry computers.
Ghiz’s Bio-Commons will only fill up with government tenants. Why would a bio processing plant locate on PEI when we are further from markets and with energy costs 50% higher?
PEI’s economy is headed downward. Unemployment is 13% and getting worse.
The Conservative Opposition lambasted the Premier in the Legislature for his poor showing on the economy.
“We always hear of one Island community but I think what we have is one Island embarrassment,” Innovation critic Mike Currie, adding the Liberals were breaking a promise that Islanders would have the highest wages in the country. “The wage in Alberta was $854 average weekly wage, the wage on P.E.I. is $630 a week. That $220, can you tell us when Islanders can expect to have that in their pockets? Will that be before the next election? That’s your promise.” CBC
Premier Ghiz seems paralyzed by the problems facing PEI’s economy. If he were a CEO, the Board of Directors would have sacked him by now.
I had a sales person in the 1990′s who was always telling he had a lot of big deals that were going to close soon. None of them ever did. I wanted to believe him but he never came through.

Sadly, Premier Ghiz is giving me bad vibes he is the same guy – all talk, no action.

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