Theycame in buses, luxury coaches for the unionized workers and school buses for the opponents to the continuation of the hastily built Hertel-des Cantons 735 kv lines of Hydro Quebec into New-Hampshire, where it is promoted by a company named Northern Pass, to the Granite State legislature in Concord, New-Hampshire.
The union workers were in green t-shirts, the opponents in orange, the latter at least twice if not thrice as many as the first. At issue is a bill, HB-648, that would for all intents and purposes, if passed by the State Senate which hosted last Thursday’s hearings, bring a halt to expropriation, called eminent domain south of the border. The bill would in fact provide a right of veto to any property owner when a utility would want to build a power line unless it is shown that it is absolutely necessary. In other words, if one owner disagrees while all the others do not, the project dies. The Bill passed the House by a huge margin on March 30th, 317 to 51, and will be presented to the Senate at a later date.
While hearings in Canadian parliament are full of decorum, no colored t-shirts here, in New-Hampshire, whose motto shall we remind some is Live Free or Die, it looks like a high school debate. When the chair, Senator Matthew Houde, scolded the orange team for applauding and asked them to do so silently, he almost congratulated them when they started showing their appreciation by waving their hands.
The line would pass through East Hereford, on the land of Hélène Pariseau, across the Connecticut River to NewHampshire into the land of Lucie-Roy Alain in Pittsburg, NH. It is another try by Hydro-Quebec to make real use of the Hertel-Des Cantons line, built supposedly in the late 90’s to guarantee the electrical supply of Quebeckers following the great Ice Storm. It will be remembered that when tribunals sided with the opponents, who argued that the sole purpose of the line was to export electricity to the United States, the Landry government passed a special law setting aside the tribunal’s finding. Since then Hydro has been trying to get the line into the United States, first into Vermont and now in the neighbouring state of New-Hampshire.
As is always the case, huge promises are made in job creation and in a doomed economy, as is the United States right now, the promise of 1,200 jobs is something to consider. But the opponents, led by New Hampshire Building Trades Council president, Joe Casey, see the threat of the bill not only in the context of the Northern Pass project. “If it passes, then it will almost be impossible to build another electrical line in the state; this would impact all projects, not only Northern Pass.”
If built, the line would bring billions of dollars in revenue into Quebec over decades. Holy Spirit, you who makes everything clear to me, who enlightens all paths, leading to my ideal, who gives me the divine gifts of forgiveness, forgetting the wrongs done by me and who is with me every moment of my life. I want at this moment, to thank you for everything and so, strengthen once more my wish of never being separated from you, because of, or in spite of material illusions. Thank you for your mercy towards me and those dear to me. (This prayer should be said during three consecutive days. The grace requested will be obtained following the three days of prayer. Have the prayer published without divulging the request and simply add your initials)
While the Northern Pass project almost gets no coverage in Quebec, in New-Hampshire it is big news as Josh Mcelveen of WMUR-TV is interviewing some of the Quebec citizens who travelled to Concord.