November 4th, 2014

Liberals and PCs vote for asset sales: NDP

Queen’s Park – Today, Liberal and PC Members voted together to preserve the status quo and ensure that public assets could be sold on a whim. New Democrats moved an Opposition Day Motion which would protect public assets and stop any political party from running roughshod over public opposition. By defeating the motion, the Liberals and PCs made it clear they wanted the door left open to privatizing public assets by fiat.

“Our shared public assets are owned by Ontarians. They’re not owned by any political party of any stripe. Today the Liberals and PCs voted to treat our shared public assets like political party piggy banks,” said Horwath. “Ontarians deserve the opportunity to say ‘no’ to the Liberal privatization or sale of our shared public assets. As we speak the Liberals are getting ready to privatize the Hydro One Distribution assets and local hydro utilities without even asking the people who own them. That’s not right.”

Ed Clark, the Premier’s privatization advisor has indicated that the plan is to separate Hydro One’s distribution assets and privatize them, saying  his recommendation is the “separation of the transmission and distribution businesses currently within Hydro One Networks. We would then dilute the government's interest in that resulting distribution business by bringing in private capital.”

Horwath also raised questions about the financial wisdom of privatizing an asset that provides clear financial benefits to Ontarians, noting that statements in Hydro One’s 2013 Annual Reports show their distribution assets brought in $452 million in pre-tax revenues. Those revenues could be lost if the assets are privatized.

“In Manitoba, an NDP government ensured that no government could sneak an asset sale past the owners, namely the people of the province. Ontarians deserve the same protections,” continued Horwath. “The Liberals think they know better than Ontarians when it comes to public assets. I say that Ontarians own these assets and they deserve a say.”