Three years ago, when I became involved in the movement to oppose the CMP Corridor as a Registered Maine Guide, I knew that public opinion was in our favor, but I never imagined that a group of raft guides would begin a movement that would one day become the most expensive referendum in Maine history. As we were all told, the Corridor was “too big to fail” and the multinational corporations were too powerful for everyday Mainers to succeed, or even be considered.

But, as our movement gained momentum, the multinational corporations that once ignored us took notice, and soon, millions of dollars began pouring into Maine to influence the outcome of what became Question 1.

When we set out three years ago, I knew that these foreign corporations had a lot of profit on the line, but I never imagined that Maine’s governor and a handful of other lawmakers would pave the way for Hydro-Quebec, a Crown Corporation owned 100 percent by the government of Quebec, to exploit a loophole in Maine law to protect the will of foreign taxpayers over the will of Mainers. In total, Hydro-Quebec exploited this loophole to spend a whopping $24 million on propaganda and outright lies to sway the outcome of an election initiated by more than 80,000 Maine voters from all corners of the state.

While I am so pleased that Mainers were able to cut through the noise created by excessive spending from beyond our national borders, I am fearful of the precedent that has been set. Hydro-Quebec just established a roadmap for foreign interference on referendums to come. That’s why I am proud to support Sen. Rick Bennett’s referendum to protect Maine elections. I firmly believe that Maine elections should be reserved for Mainers, and that when voters view an ad on television, social media, the radio or in their mailbox, they shouldn’t have to question if the message is crafted to benefit a foreign country.

So let’s come together again to qualify the Protect Maine Elections referendum to close the loophole. Let’s preserve Maine referendums for Mainers.

Sandi Howard,
Volunteer Director of Say NO to NECEC,
Caratunk and Westmoreland, NH

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