Time for police to investigate Hydro One sale: CUPE

Craig Saunders —

Following revelations that a bank underwriting the Hydro One sale backed a fundraiser that funnelled tens of thousands of dollars into Liberal party coffers, it is time for police to investigate, says Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.

“It was a banker – Ed Clark – who proposed the sale, and now we’re learning that a bank underwriting the sale was pushing a Liberal fundraiser to other banks shortly after netting the Hydro One contract,” said Hahn. “If this isn’t illegal, it should be. It certainly smacks of corruption. The police should investigate before the Liberals sell off any more public assets to curry favour with the banks who fund the Liberal Party.”

The Globe and Mail this morning revealed that the Bank of Nova Scotia actively promoted a Dec. 7 fundraising event featuring Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli. Emails obtained by the Globe suggest the bank helped secure participation in the $7400-per-person fundraiser by 22 people. These included executives of other banks involved in the Hydro One IPO, including TD, RBC, CIBC, Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Raymond James. The paper reports the emails included at least one overt reference to Hydro One privatization.

“These banks are using the Liberal thirst for power to drive a massive privatization agenda. It’s causing history’s biggest transfer of wealth from the public to the hands of a very wealthy few,” said Hahn. Banks involved in the Hydro One deal made more than $29 million off the IPO.

CUPE Ontario has been a leading voice opposing Hydro privatization and is renewing its call for an immediate moratorium on privatization and P3s.

“We already know the public won’t benefit from Hydro privatization. Now it’s becoming very clear who the beneficiaries are, and it’s just wrong,” said Hahn. “Whether the Liberals broke the law is for the police and courts to decide, but governments need to be held to a higher standard. It’s not good enough to operate on the edge of the law, you have to do what’s ethical. And this Liberal government simply isn’t.”

CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 250,000 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.