Manitobans pride themselves - and rightfully so, one would argue - on our province's reliance on hydro power, which we and the rest of the world have hailed as one of the many energy sources being tapped for clean and silent carbon-neutral energy.
We make so much power, we're in a continuous state of adding to our list of north american energy clientele who buy it from us.
However, that idyllic image might have been defaced just a little when we in the south received news that members the Pimicikamak first nation had marched on the Jenpeg generating station's residences on the north end of the Lake Manitoba. Is all not well? What impact is Manitoba Hydro really having the communities who live so far north and so far away from us, where the generators and magical machines that make the power we use every day do their work?
This question is one that the Interchurch Council on Hydro power believes is worth asking, not just as citizens, but as Christians. The council is a coalition of the United Church, Mennonites, Anglicans, Catholics, and Lutherans who want to work reconciliation and good relationships between communities in the north and in the south specifically as it relates to the connection we have through hydropower generation.
On Wednesday, October the 22nd at 7:30 at Sam's Place, the council is hosting an evening of storytelling, sharing, and images of hydro's impact on northern communities and the efforts of the council to be in solidarity and relationship with those communities, forming plans and ideas for action on our side of the power line.
Will Braun is with Mennonite Central Committee. As he explains, the situation is complicated because hydropower has been going since the 1970s, and some communities have made formal agreements with Manitoba Hydro, some have not. Some are consulted about project implications before they proceed, and some have not. Ultimately, there is hope - not just to help restore the rights and dignity of those communities, but to really embrace Hydro power as the socially responsible and green energy it is and still needs to become.
Here he shares a bit of his experience.
Again, the free sharing and storytelling event is open to anyone curious or interested and takes place on Wednesday, October 22nd at Sam's Place at 7:30.