April 20, 2002

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – April 20, 2002

Ruling spells trouble for Eves

Justice Arthur Gans’ ruling did more than just derail the government’s plans to privatize Hydro One.

Experts say it seriously damaged the Conservative government by drawing unwanted attention to its increasingly unpopular electricity privatization policy and providing fodder for the opposition.

The ruling, which said the Electricity Act prohibits the government from selling Hydro One, is quickly turning into the first major test for new Premier Ernie Eves.

Hydro One is the government-owned corporation that owns the electricity transmission system and is also a retailer serving 1.2 million customers.

As the government crafted a response yesterday, opposition politicians seized on the ruling, criticizing the government and claiming victory for the average Ontarian.

“The government has become a laughing stock because it did not take the time to make sure they were legally authorized to sell the shares,” said Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty.

“It speaks volumes about this government’s incompetence.”

McGuinty said the energy market can still be opened up to competition in generation and retailing as scheduled on May 1. But he said the sale of Hydro One should be scrapped. The Liberals have argued privatization will mean higher energy costs and unreliable service.(Source: Hamilton Spectator)

Ontario, 2003 Ontario election, Ernie Eves, election, Hydro One, Hydro, editorial cartoon