June 5th, 2015

CoC-Guelph member Paul Costello at Hydro One Anti-Privitization Rally

The Council of Canadians helped rally against the privatization of Hydro One today.

Blackburn News reports, “More than 1,000 people converged on Queen’s Park this afternoon, calling on MPP’s to cancel plans to privatize Hydro One. The rally took place as the legislature began its final clause-by-clause review of the provincial budget bill, which includes legislation intended to make the sale legal.”

Protests also happened in a number of communities across the province including London. At that location, the Council of Canadians London chapter participated in a rally in front of the constituency office of London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews. She is also the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister Responsible for Poverty Reduction.

At the protest in Toronto, Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario, said, “We are here to tell the Liberal government that Ontario opposes this sell-off. Hydro One belongs to all of us, it is not theirs to sell. …Selling Hydro One makes no economic sense, it makes no moral sense, and Ontarians oppose it. We fought the P.C.s when they tried to privatize hydro, and we won. We’ll use every tool at our disposal to fight this sale, too.”

The Toronto Sun adds, “Hundreds of protesters, many carrying CUPE union signs, rallied at Queen’s Park Thursday afternoon to demand that Hydro One stay entirely in public hands. …The NDP Leader [Andrea Horwath also] announced Thursday she is introducing a private member’s bill that would force the Ontario government to hold a public referendum before putting electricity assets up for sale.”

A recent poll found that 60 per cent of respondents disapprove of selling off the majority of Hydro One to the private sector and that 77 per cent believe that privatization will increase electricity prices.

In our recent campaign blog Hydro One privatization has water and trade implications (May 12, 2015), we noted that the Liberal government’s legislation to sell Hydro One will also allow local electrical distribution companies to expand their businesses into areas such as water and wastewater services. Transnational corporations that sell both water and electricity services that could conceivably be interested in this include Suez S.A. and Veolia Environnement S.A. The blog also noted that the privatization of Hydro One could result in future investor-state dispute settlement challenges against provincial measures that, for example, require environmental assessments for new facilities.

To read the CUPE Ontario media release about today’s protest, Ontarians turn out in force to tell MPPs to Keep Hydro Public, please click here.

Photo: Guelph chapter activist Paul Costello at today’s protest. Photo by Mark Calzavara.


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