The Premier of Ontario should end his new infatuation with secrecy and release the White Paper and CIBC/Goldman-Sachs report recommending selling shares in a new “SuperCorp” combining Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) and the Ontario Lottery Corporation (OLG), says the president of the province’s largest public sector union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.
“CUPE Ontario is deeply concerned that Ontario is secretly preparing to combine its most profitable public assets—including electricity, alcohol and gaming—for a sell-off of shares to private investors while the public is kept unaware of the details,” CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn said today.
The LCBO, Hydro One, OPG and OLG generate approximately $4 billion in annual revenue that the province needs for vitally necessary social services, education and health care, services that help make Ontario work for the people who call it home.
“Mr. McGuinty needs to reread the fairytale about killing off the goose that lays the golden eggs,” Hahn says. “Selling off 20% of “SuperCorp” will lose Ontario $1 billion in revenue every year—forever. Add that to the already lost $4.6 billion in revenue from corporate tax cuts, and our education, health care and social services will be in jeopardy.”
Beyond the loss of revenue, CUPE Ontario warns that selling shares in SuperCorp will reduce Ontario’s ability to use the Crown corporations as levers of public policy as privatizing even a portion of the assets will make boards of directors accountable to new corporate stakeholders. Already published media reports indicate the government acknowledges that, under SuperCorp, they would cede fiduciary control to investors with only regulatory control remaining in public hands.
“Monday’s power blackout should remind us all of the importance of public, day-to-day control of our electricity system, not to mention the ongoing need for responsible and accountable control of alcohol and gaming,” Hahn says.
CUPE Ontario says a fire sale of public assets is neither sound economic policy nor good social policy, especially not in the middle of a recession. The government should focus on creating good jobs and letting our revenue stream grow through appropriate and fair taxation rather than sacrificing long-term revenue for a one-time-only boost to the bottom line.
CUPE Ontario is the province’s largest union with 230,000 members working in every community across Ontario.
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Tel: (416) 553-9410