Government lawyers appealing the court ruling that scuttled the privatization of Hydro One tipped their hand, indicating the government wants to privatize the utility that generates most of Ontario’s electricity.
But CUPE and CEP, the two unions that stopped the sell off of the power grid, have vowed to fight to preserve public power generation.
Appearing in court June 19, lawyers representing the Ministry of Energy argued that even though the government was pushing through legislation that would allow it to privatize Hydro One, the court ruling that stopped the sale of the transmission grid must be overturned or it would restrict the government’s ability to sell off its generating capacity, Ontario Power Generation (OPG).
In his original ruling, Mr. Justice Gans agreed with CUPE and CEP that the government did not have the authority to privatize Hydro One.
“As usual, the Eves government is scheming behind closed doors – we never get the full story,” said CUPE National President Judy Darcy. “Now we learn they plan to privatize OPG. That would be a disaster for ratepayers, for Ontario’s economy and for the environment. They don’t have a mandate to sell off our power utilities and we won’t let them get away with it.”
“Privatizing OPG means that Niagara Falls could be sold off to private investors,” said Cecil Makowski, CEP Ontario Region Vice-President. “This government is out to privatize all major public utilities, claiming these sales will be used to pay down the government debt. In fact they are bankrupting the people of this province.”
OPG, previously part of Ontario Hydro, contributes about $1.2 billion annually in taxes, dividends and other payments to the province of Ontario.
The unions called on the government to back off from the sale of any part of Ontario Hydro and instead invest in strengthening public power in the province.