CMP kicked off its latest round of legal shenanigans this week with a lawsuit filed by Representative Christopher Caiazzo of Scarborough in the Cumberland County Superior Court against Secretary Shenna Bellows. The lawsuit seeks to split our referendum question into three separate questions as a desperate attempt to dilute our support and confuse the voters.
First Story of the Week
Clearly CMP Corridor proponents saw the same recent polling that we did, and they know that tens of millions of money spent to sway Maine voters hasn’t gained them much of anything.
Second Featured Story
Support for Blocking CMP Corridor Leads by Double Digits
On Wednesday LD 194, Senator Rick Bennett’s bill to prohibit foreign governments from electioneering in Maine, received its initial vote in the Maine Senate. The bill soared through “under the hammer”, which means there was no roll call vote or debate. We expect the House to vote on the bill sometime early this week, and you should know that CMP and Hydro-Quebec’s lobbyists have flooded the State House (pun intended).
So please, take a moment to contact your state representative NOW to urge support for LD 194. CMP may have an army of lobbyists on the payroll, but they can’t buy what we have - the support of Mainers like you. I can’t emphasize enough that if you haven’t yet reached out, your lawmaker needs to hear from you today.
Featured Column of the Week
By Senator Joe Baldacci
Last November, the people of Bangor and Hermon elected me to represent them in the Maine State Senate. It’s the honor of a lifetime to serve the citizens of these great communities in this way, and I’m confident in saying that the election was fair and free of any undue foreign influence because our laws protect Mainers from it in all candidate elections. But since being elected, I have learned that the foreign government interference prohibition that protects the integrity of candidate elections in our state does not extend to citizen-initiated referendums and that a foreign government has exposed this dangerous loophole and has since spent a record sum to influence the outcome of an election in our state.
That’s why I will support GOP Senator Rick Bennett’s bipartisan bill to close this dangerous loophole, LD 194, and I urge my fellow lawmakers to do the same.
The right to vote is deeply ingrained in the very fabric of our country. It’s the cornerstone of our democracy, which is why it is reserved solely for the citizens of this country. As a lawmaker, I’m sensitive to the fact that when a voter steps into the ballot box, it’s important that they have faith in the safeguards put in place to protect the integrity of that election. That’s why allowing a foreign government, whether it be Canada, China or Russia, to openly spend money to influence an election of any kind in this state is unacceptable.
Last year, Hydro-Quebec, a Crown Corporation owned solely by the Province of Quebec, did something that, as far as I know, has never been done before. It opened a Political Action Committee to spend money against a referendum that was initiated by the citizens of Maine. It did this even though it’s strictly prohibited as a foreign government-owned entity from influencing other types of elections in Maine, and it’s similarly illegal for foreign nationals to participate in referendum elections in Quebec.
What we’ve witnessed since is shocking, and regardless of how you feel about the Corridor project or the current referendum, HQ’s actions in our state highlight just how dangerous this loophole is.
As you can see, bipartisan support for Senator Bennett’s bill is growing, and I’m confident that if we band together to make our voices heard now, LD 194 will become law. Please join me in thanking Senator Baldacci for standing up for his constituents, and the people of Maine, in authoring this important column.
By Bob Haynes of Skowhegan
Third Featured Story
The good news is that despite CMP and Hydro-Quebec’s ongoing efforts to prevent a statewide vote on the project, and their high-dollar public relations campaigns, polls clearly show that Mainer’s remain fiercely opposed to the CMP Corridor project.
Testimonial of the Week
Activist of the Week
This week we’d like to recognize John “Jack” Nicholas of Winthrop. Last week, we asked for your help in authoring letters to the editor in support of our referendum. John is the gold standard as far as letters to editors are concerned, having submitted more than two dozen of them. An avid fly fisherman, John has actively opposed the CMP Corridor since the very beginning, testifying before the PUC, DEP, LUPC and the Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. John also helped gather signatures for the first referendum, and has served as a plaintiff on the Black V. Cutko case, which challenges the Bureau of Parks and Land’s backroom deals with CMP to lease our public lands for the project, in violation of the Maine Constitution.
Please join us in thanking John for his years of dedication. We always enjoy his letters and his advocacy.
Finally, in other related news, this week it was announced that Doug Herling, CMP’s President and CEO, is retiring. In a statement, Herling said that leading the company has been an “honor and a privilege”, referring to CMP as a “great company.” Considering the CMP’s fall from grace during his tenure, he either was talking about some other company, or CMP’s leadership has completely lost touch with reality.
I’ve never been more pleased to bid someone adieu. When the going gets tough, the weak get going. See ya, Doug!
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