Open letter from Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to Premier Kathleen Wynne regarding asset sales

The Hon. Kathleen Wynne
Queen's Park

Dear Premier, 

Ontarians deserve to know if the Liberal government is planning to sell more of their public assets. I am writing because I am concerned that senior Liberal ministers appear to have yet again opened the door to more asset sales in the future.  

On Tuesday, November 3, 2015, the Deputy Premier and President of the Treasury Board, said “One of the things that we’re doing is broadening the ownership of Hydro One, but it’s not the only thing that we are doing… we are looking at other assets.”

Premier, I’m calling on you to commit to Ontarians that you will not be selling any more of our revenue-generating assets.

Your minister’s comments reminded me of a question I asked you on October 22, 2014, long before the government acknowledged it was selling Hydro One.

I asked you then whether the Liberal government was, in fact, planning to sell-off our revenue-generating hydro utilities.

Your response? “It is responsible and practical that we look at these assets.”

I’m sure you can see the source of my concern. In 2014 you talked about “looking at assets” which in reality turned out to be the selloff of Hydro One; a year later, your Deputy Premier is using that exact same language. 

Ontarians could be forgiven for not having confidence that your government won’t be engaging in more short-sighted selloffs since your government refuses to provide them with the clarity they deserve. 

On June 3, 2015, the Minister of Finance was asked if more assets were going to be sold, and he responded, “right now there is no determination.”

I asked you the following day, in Question Period, to clarify what the minister meant, and you did not provide any explanation of your minister’s comments.

In July, Catherine Fife, the NDP Finance Critic, wrote to the Minister of Finance to further clarify whether the Liberal government was planning more asset sales, and the minister has not responded.

If the Liberal government is not planning any more asset sales, why not simply say so?

Last week, your unelected embedded banker told your powerful friends on Bay Street that he wanted to “open [healthcare and post-secondary education] up, link them more closely to the private sector, turn them into exporters.” Instead of this announcement coming from an elected member in the legislature, it came from your unelected advisor at a $1,000 per table business lunch.

Mr. Clark wrote your plan for selling Hydro One. It appears he is now writing your plan for privatizing healthcare. Ontarians have every reason to be worried about what’s next.

Premier, I’m calling on you to do the right thing. To give Ontarians the clarity and comfort they deserve and plainly, clearly and unequivocally state that your government will not sell any more of our revenue-generating assets.

Regards,

Andrea Horwath

Leader, Ontario’s New Democrats

MPP, Hamilton Centre