An environmental coalition surprised Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen Tuesday with 10,000 letters urging the province to stand firm against a major transmission line down the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
McFadyen and his party have long opposed the government’s stance, arguing BiPole III should be built down the east side, rather than west of lakes Winnipegosis and Manitoba, the route the government chose in 2007.
Ron Thiessen, Manitoba director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, had a brief discussion with McFadyen as he presented him with a CD version of the letters and one blank piece of paper symbolizing them.
“Debate and perspective on these issues is good,” McFadyen said, noting that his party has “a respectful disagreement” with CPAWS and its partners in the initiative, including The Wilderness Committee, the Boreal Forest Network and the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council.
The groups argue running BiPole III down the east side would jeopardize a bid to have the area designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as compromising the ecological and cultural benefits of keeping the forest intact.
A spokeswoman for the Tories said the vast majority of the signatories to the letters are American, with only a handful coming from Manitoba.