Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday June 4, 2015
Liberals pass Ontario budget, clearing way for privatization of Hydro One
Ontario’s Liberal government used its majority Wednesday to pass the omnibus budget bill, which clears the way for the sale of Hydro One, the huge transmission utility.
The government hopes to raise $9 billion by selling 60 per cent of Hydro One, starting with 15 per cent this year, and will use $5 billion to pay down hydro debt and $4 billion on public transit and infrastructure projects.
“This was a difficult decision, but it is the right decision because if we do not do this, we cannot make the investments in transit and transportation infrastructure,” Premier Kathleen Wynne told the legislature.
The Progressive Conservatives and NDP warned electricity prices will rise, the government will lose control of Hydro One and legislative watchdogs like the ombudsman and auditor general will lose oversight of the utility.
“You may think you’re helping yourself politically by removing this oversight, in reality, without these checks, you will become more arrogant, more reckless, which will lead to even greater scandals,” warned PC energy critic John Yakabuski. “Will you not save yourself from your party’s own hubris and allow the auditor general and the ombudsman to continue to investigate Hydro One?”
— Rob Ferguson (@robferguson1) March 30, 2016