Something rotten has happened in Maine over the last few years. We have allowed a foreign government-owned company to exploit a loophole in Maine law to electioneer here, and the results were and continue to be quite ugly.  I’m here to say that it is not OK and that I remain disappointed that the Legislature failed to close this loophole by just one vote after receiving wide bipartisan support last year.

But there is hope for us yet. My friend and colleague Sen. Rick Bennett has petitions circulating around the state to bring this important issue directly to Maine voters.

Last year, beginning well before more than 80,000 voters triggered what became Question 1, proponents of the Central Maine Power corridor launched an overwhelming and expensive media blitz to defend the project against the will of Maine voters. Many of the ads were funded by a PAC called Hydro-Quebec Maine Partnership. While this PAC was masquerading as a “partnership” with Maine, it was funded solely by the taxpayers of another country looking to advance their agenda at our expense. This sort of spending is strictly prohibited for candidate elections, but until we act, it is legal in elections directly initiated by Maine voters.

When all was said and done, Canadian taxpayers spent more than $22 million  — more than twice the previous record for referendum spending — in their crusade to build an unpopular corridor through Maine to reach new customers in Massachusetts. And even though they resoundingly lost this very expensive battle, Hydro-Quebec has continued to fight the war against the will of Maine voters. Just last week, a spokesperson said that the company is “committed to the legal challenge to the referendum initiative.”

So, after spending an unsightly sum of money to lucrative defend a project, that same foreign government is now unwilling to recognize our new law. They have partnered with CMP — by one measure the lowest-rated utility in America — to block the will of nearly 60% of Maine voters. And perhaps even worse, they have also joined CMP’s lawsuit against the public lands case to defend a lease that, according to the Legislature and a judge, violated the Maine Constitution.

The company has also doubled down on lying to the people of Maine about the source of power.


On Jan. 20, Hydro-Quebec issued a press release urging its Canadian customers to turn down their thermostats and reduce electricity consumption during the cold snap because “Hydro-Quebec anticipates that electricity consumption could again exceed historic highs.”

Six days later, a spokesperson for the foreign government-owned utility told this newspaper that NECEC, the project Maine voters resoundingly rejected last November, could provide “a clean, reliable and cost-competitive energy resource, every hour of the year, including during periods of high electricity consumption, especially relevant with the cold temperatures we are seeing this winter.”

It is so painfully obvious to anyone paying attention that Hydro-Quebec isn’t as flush with excess power as it claims. If it were, the company wouldn’t have avoided testifying under oath or before every regulatory body in this state, and it certainly wouldn’t have hired lobbyists to kill L.D. 640, a bill which would have commissioned a comprehensive study of the global impacts of the CMP corridor project.

Hydro-Quebec, and by extension the government of Quebec, withheld pertinent information during the permitting process for the CMP corridor, it then abused a loophole in our law to try to sway the outcome of a referendum directly initiated by Mainers with ads chalk full of unsubstantiated claims that appear to have been false, and now the company has refused to accept our law and constitution.

It’s no surprise to those who know me that I am fiercely opposed to the CMP corridor, but regardless of how you voted last November, this pattern of behavior should alarm us all. If this is how our “friends” to the north treat us, I’d hate to see what a hostile foreign government would do. Continuing to allow foreign governments to electioneer in our state would be foolish. Let’s band together to qualify the Protect Maine Elections initiative for the 2023 ballot. Visit for more information.

Jennifer Poirier of Skowhegan is in her first term in the Maine House of Representatives.

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