Today, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals voted against the “Listening to Ontarians Act”, a bill tabled by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath which would make it illegal to sell off Hydro One unless the government gets approval from the people who own it -- Ontario families.
“It’s a sad day for democracy when the Premier is voting against listening to Ontario families.” Said Horwath. “Kathleen Wynne promised Ontarians that they could expect better from their government, but that promise hasn’t been kept. That’s been made clear by their vote today.”
Horwath based the bill on existing legislation in Manitoba which protects the public ownership of Manitoba’s Public Insurance Corporation and hydro system; both acts prohibit the Government from selling off those public assets without first going to a referendum and getting the approval of a majority of citizens. Manitobans, with their public system, enjoy some of the lowest hydro rates in the country.
“Rather than listen to the people who own Hydro One, Kathleen Wynne has instead decided to listen to a small group of her powerful friends,” continued Horwath. “People deserve a hydro system that serves the public interest, but selling Hydro One is going to mean higher hydro rates. It’s going to mean the end of public oversight. It’s a strategic asset that supports job creation, energy efficiency, and economic growth. Handing control to offshore investors doesn’t make sense.”
For months the Liberals denied that they were planning to sell Hydro One; on October 21, 2014 Kathleen Wynne said “we're not selling off the assets,” but six months later the Premier announced her plan to sell a majority to the private sector.
Horwath notes that while the initial sale of shares is expected within the year, the fight against the Hydro One sell-off isn’t over yet.