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WINNIPEG — The board of directors at Manitoba Hydro has resigned en masse, citing a lack of communication with the provincial government.

The chairman of the board of the Crown corporation, Sanford Riley, says the board has been trying in vain to meet with Premier Brian Pallister for more than a year.

In a written statement, Riley says the board has been unable to discuss important issues such as Manitoba Hydro’s finances and its relationships with Indigenous peoples.

Riley says nine board members are resigning — a move that leaves Tory government backbencher Cliff Graydon as the lone remaining member.

Manitoba Hydro is spending billions of dollars to build new generating stations and a massive transmission line.

The Progressive Conservatives criticized the plans while they were in Opposition, but after winning the 2016 election, said it was too late to cancel the projects.

To help manage its debt, Manitoba Hydro has asked provincial regulators for rate hikes of between 4.5 per cent and 7.9 per cent each year for the next several years.

“For over a year we have attempted to meet with the premier to resolve a number of critical issues related to the finances and governance of Manitoba Hydro, including matters related to Hydro’s efforts to further develop its relationship with Indigenous peoples,” Riley said in a statement released Wednesday.

“Despite repeated attempts, we have not been able to have a meaningful dialogue with the government and we have reached an impasse. We have been informed the government intends to remove the chair and has therefore lost confidence in the board. Accordingly we have determined that it is necessary to resign.”

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