With Québec’s public hydro system delivering electricity at rates less than half what Ontarians pay, Premier Kathleen Wynne should use her joint cabinet meeting with the Québec government to learn why Hydro One must not be sold, said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on Friday.
“After suffering high electricity rates for decades under private owners, Québécois in the 1960s fought to claim their hydro system on behalf of the public, and they have enjoyed the benefits ever since,” said Horwath. “But Kathleen Wynne has gone in the opposite direction, turning her back on Ontario’s proud history of public hydro to sell our oldest and most important public asset for a short-term, one-time gain.
“Kathleen Wynne should use this joint cabinet meeting to learn from Québec about the importance of affordable public hydro,” said Horwath.
Hydro-Québec’s electricity bills are the lowest in Canada along with those of Manitoba, which is also a public hydro system. Nova Scotia, which privatized its electricity system in the 1990s, has the highest rates.
Horwath reminded the government that its proposed energy integration with Québec depends on keeping Hydro One public, according to Ed Clark’s first report from last December. That report said: “We believe this is an asset that, if retained in public ownership, can play a positive role in many aspects of electricity policy, including ongoing energy-sharing discussions with Québec. Accordingly, we believe Hydro One transmission should remain in public hands as a core asset at this time.”
“On Hydro One, Ed Clark got it right the first time when he told the government not to sell,” said Horwath. “Energy integration with Québec will become much more difficult, risky and costly with Hydro One in private hands.”