Special to the Toronto Sun
By Fred Hahn, Guest Columnist
People’s anger towards the Ontario Liberal government is well founded, according to the province’s Financial Accountability Officer (FAO).
Not surprisingly, the new FAO report proves that the only people to benefit from the sell-off of Hydro One, were the Liberal party’s corporate friends and bankers – unless you also count the donations those friends gave back to the Ontario Liberal Party.
Sure, the sale of shares brought in an initial wad of cash to make the government’s books look good before the election, but as soon as the election’s over the province starts to bleed money from the loss of ongoing revenue – $1.1 billion next year and hundreds of millions more for years to come.
It also turns out, the premier’s story – that selling Hydro One was the only way to pay for needed infrastructure – proves to be a complete falsehood. It would have been $1.8 billion cheaper to take out a low-interest loan than to sell off our public hydro system.
That’s $1.8 billion that will either need to be cut from our public services or made up for through tax increases.
So, the Liberals’ corporate friends are richer and the rest of us are stuck with the fallout.
What’s worse is this report only scratches the surface of the problem.
Privatizing our hydro system means shareholders require ever-increasing profits and those profits mean ever-increasing electric bills for the rest of us.
All of our lives depend on electricity. Beyond our homes and our businesses, electricity powers our hospitals, schools, transit, street lamps, water treatment and all the other services we depend on. As all electricity bills rise, more of our tax dollars will be used to pay for private profit rather than the services we need.
The impact of the Liberals’ decision to privatize our hydro system will be felt for generations.
We’ve seen this movie before when the Conservatives privatized Highway 407. This is just the truth about privatization of public services – it’s a complicated scheme between our governments and corporations where we lose control over our valuable assets, we pay more for the services we need, and they make lots of money.
The privatization of Hydro One, can and must be reversed – it’s too important to our provinces future.
Our government originally brought a privatized hydro system under public control. Our next government needs to do the same.
Fred Hahn is the president of CUPE Ontario