Liberals fail to learn: privatized Hydro a boondoggle in the making

Craig Saunders —

Pursing the Liberal government’s privatization plan for Hydro One’s electrical distribution assets is a costly mistake, cautions Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

“The auditor general just revealed the Ontario government wasted $8 billion on privatization schemes, and the same week, the government signalled they’re heading in the same direction with Hydro One’s distribution assets,” said Hahn. “It’s time the Liberals learned: Privatization doesn’t work. It costs the public money, and in this case will drive up hydro rates. That’s bad for the residents and it will drive away business and jobs.”

Hydro One distribution generated $452 million in “profit” last year, a portion of which provided much-needed revenue for the provincial government.

“It doesn’t make sense to sell off revenue-generating assets,” said Hahn. “By keeping them public, we’ll continue to generate revenue for public infrastructure and services for generations to come. Selling them off is bankrupting our future. We need a government with long-term vision, not one that just goes for a quick buck.”

The government’s track record on the hydro file does not inspire confidence, he added, noting the more than $1 billion squandered on the gas plants P3 scandal and the $2 billion spent on smart meters, which the auditor general criticized in her report last week.

“After years of corporate tax cuts that didn’t create jobs, and after squandering billions on failed privatization schemes, Ontario can’t afford more privatization contracts,” Hahn said. “They divert public revenue into private profits. Let’s learn from past mistakes. Stop the privatizing. Stop P3s. Invest revenue from public assets into public services and public infrastructure that benefit all Ontarians.”

CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with members providing quality public services we all rely on in every part of the province every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.