Positives and negatives of partial Hydro One sale
(Toronto Sun files)
Sparks are flying at Queen’s Park as the Kathleen Wynne government prepares to pass legislation that sets up the sale of up to 60% of publicly-owned Hydro One to private interests.
The Progressive Conservatives held a media conference Monday to announce the launch of a website — www.StoptheHydroFireSale.ca — in opposition to the Liberal government’s plan.
The NDP already have an online petition — www.ontariondp.ca/not_for_sale — for those who want the sale halted.
An amendment to the budget bill announced by the government last week would ensure that Ontarians would retain a 40% stake in Hydro One, no matter how large the company grows.
All three parties weighed in on the controversial plan Monday, outlining the positives and negatives of leveraging the public asset in order to put $4 billion into infrastructure such as transit and road improvements.
POSITIVE: “The reason we are in the process of reviewing assets, the reason we have made a decision about Hydro One, is that we know that investing in transit and transportation infrastructure is critical to the economic life of this province and the opportunity to grow.”
- Premier Kathleen Wynne
NEGATIVE: “You have to understand, losing a majority control (in Hydro One) is damaging for a number of reasons ... If we are the minority stakeholder we are not in control of those rate increases.”
- PC Leader Patrick Brown
POSITIVE: “The proceeds from this sale — a significant amount of them — will go to build infrastructure without raising taxes, without raising more debt and without cutting programs. It is the right thing to do. That is why we are proceeding with it.”
- Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli
NEGATIVE: “Ontarians are paying some of the highest hydro bills in this country. They cannot afford to pay more. Even Bay Street fraudsters think that the premier’s numbers are fishy. Once the premier starts down this road, there is no going back.”
- NDP Leader Andrea Horwath
POSITIVE: “It is a very pragmatic and deliberate way to maximize the valuations of a substantial Crown corporation while at the same time holding the majority shares of that corporation for the benefit of the public. It’s going to be one of the largest growth companies.”
- Finance Minister Charles Sousa
NEGATIVE: “Whether the government owns 40% or 14%, the fact remains the same: It is not a majority stake and they will no longer have control. The majority will do what is in the best interest of their bottom line, not the best interests of Ontarians. Hydro One is a natural monopoly.”
- PC MPP John Yakabuski