Protesters rally against NB Power / Hydro Quebec deal

Megan MacKay – The Aquinian

Nearly 1,000 turn out to voice concern over possible sale of utility

Opposition leader David Alward addresses nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Legislature last week to protest the sale of N.B. Power. (Kyle Albright/AQ)
Opposition leader David Alward addresses nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Legislature last week to protest the sale of N.B. Power. (Kyle Albright/AQ)

Upwards of a thousand demonstrators braved the cold to stand in front of the legislature and express their anger with the sale of NB Power to Hydro Quebec last week.

The deafening cry of “It’s our power, keep it in New Brunswick” could be heard bouncing off the walls of the legislature. Many colored banners flew in the air, but none more bold than the color blue.

Many organizations were present, including the NDP – selling orange signs that read “NB Power is not for sale – NDP”, NB People First, the Conservation Council, CUPE, the Green Party, and perhaps the loudest voices of all, the Progressive Conservatives.

David Alward, leader of the opposition, emerged from the legislature as the demonstration was beginning.

He and a handful of other conservative MLAs joined the crowd, grabbing “No to the sale of NB Power” signs from protesters and holding them high in the air for all to see.

Alward, along with many others, delivered a speech to the crowd, criticizing the Graham government for the proposed sale.

The crowd thinned to a few hundred after the speeches ended, slightly spooked by the appearance of the Honorable Guard who arrived to greet Lieutenant Governor Graydon Nicholas.

Nicholas delivered his first throne speech since his appointment in September.

Jody Carr, the conservative MLA for Oromocto, lead the remainder of the crowd to a window on the left side of the legislature.

He instructed the crowd to be as loud as possible.

The protest continued, a little disorganized, but the demonstrators were egged on when two arms emerged from the window and, like an orchestra conductor, beckoned the crowd to chant louder.

Amidst chants of “send Shawn out”, the doors of the legislature opened and conservative MLA Margaret-Ann Blaney emerged, assuring the crowd that their “voices were being heard” within the legislature.

Carr left the throne speech to join the crowd in chanting. He grabbed a megaphone from a demonstrator and enticed the crowd to chant “hey hey, ho ho, Shawn Graham has got to go.”

The Graham government proposes to have the NB Power deal settled by March. Graham is up for re-election September of 2010.

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