A silent partner?

Today, the Campbell administration announced it would be going ahead with the $404 million northwest transmission line. This, after the federal government committed to fund $130 million worth of that project. So where is the remaining money coming from? Is the private sector contributing any cash toward the project? Well, as you can see for yourself, that's where things got confusing.

When Public Eye asked Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom that question in his office he said, "We are in discussions and always open for discussions with the private who may or may not locate there if there's opportunity for new industry to go there - whether it be the mining industry or the clean energy industry."

But Finance Minister Colin Hansen later told us $90 million would be coming from by an already identified private sector partner he refused to name.

Minister Lekstrom didn't give any more details when the press gallery cornered him on his way into a caucus meeting. Nor was he able to say whether BC Hydro Corp. or British Columbia Transmission Corp. would be responsible for the Campbell administration's portion of that project.

Minister Hansen later clarified BC Hydro would "arrange for the financing," adding the government has "private sector interest in (the electrification of) Highway 37 and we're going to continue working with some of these private sector partners to see if we can firm up the dollars that we think are available to help make this project."

But just make matters even more confusing, his predecessor Richard Neufeld promised in June 2008 the province would contribute $250 million toward the line.

So, if the project is getting $90 million from the private sector, that's $66 million than is needed!

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