The more or less surprising resignation of Sophie Brochu provoked many reactions. Ever since the appointment of Pierre Fitzgibbon as the minister responsible for Hydro-Québec, a power struggle has been brewing between the CEO and the minister. Ms. Brochu probably didn’t want to pay the costs of a power struggle against the “boys club” and I know what I’m talking about.
However, contrary to what various columnists have suggested, their visions of the economy are not all poles apart. They are part of the same larger business network. But Sophie Brochu is not as anxious as Pierre Fitzgibbon. You will find that my comments are out of step with the comments being made on this matter, but let’s look at the facts.
Ms. Brochu signed the contract with a large discount or loss of 20 TWh/year in the United States, when she knew full well that demand would increase in Quebec for 20 years. Linked to TWh / year energy transition. By 20271, less than 5 years from now, Hydro-Québec expects to run out of electricity. For those sounding the alarm about the danger of turning hydro into a “dollar of electricity,” Sophie Brochu is of the fire-fighting type. She, the former CEO of Gaz Metro, the CEO of Hydro, signed a contract to give the gas company (her former employer) up to $2.4 billion, mainly to manage the fracking gas distribution network, the planet, under false pretenses. At the expense of all electricity consumers. The facts speak for themselves.
Mrs. Brochu exhibits very questionable ethics. Let’s take the example of her becoming a highly paid speaker for her spouse’s company. There is also the example of his privilege to remain on the Bank of Montreal board while CEO of Hydro-Québec, a practice until then prohibited. She also said at that time that if she had to choose between these two, her choice would be easy. She chooses Bank of Montreal without hesitation. I repeat, the facts speak for themselves.
A key player in the climate crisis
As far as Hydro-Quebec’s governance is concerned, Quebecers deserve better. Hydro-Québec is a major provider of gas and oil quick terminations in Quebec. Hydro-Québec has the necessary expertise to reduce energy consumption, replacing fossil fuel technologies with more environmentally-responsible electricity technologies, especially with large industrial enterprises that emit large amounts of GHGs. It has solid expertise in transport electrification: motors, batteries, terminals and charging stations. Before considering building new dams, she could best document a more controlled scenario for improvements to existing infrastructure that would make it possible to use electricity already generated and manage the energy transition directly from the existing network.
The decision to appoint Hydro-Québec’s next director is more strategic than ever. The Prime Minister is at a crossroads and his decision will be very revealing. Giving Hydro-Québec a strong and independent mandate to take climate change seriously now with the appointment of the next management will work for the Earth and for future generations. Appointing a puppet to Fitzgibbon, agreeing to give up more of our collective jewels, signing Quebec’s retirement in the wake of the climate crisis.
Martin Ouellette, Head of Climate Quebec, former Minister of Natural Resources, former manager at Hydro Quebec