CUPE is warning Ontario residents they shouldn’t be fooled by promises the Eves government will retain public control of Hydro One.
“Ernie Eves is playing the role of carnival magician,” says National President Judy Darcy. “Through diversion and sleight of hand, he’s trying to draw our attention away from the government’s agenda, which remains privatization and deregulation.”
“The premier says he’s backed away from his reckless plan to hand over all of Hydro One to private investors,” says Darcy. “But he’s clearly only half listening to the people of Ontario because he’s still talking about selling off half the utility, which would open the door to a foreign takeover of a strategic public service.”
The government has been scrambling since CUPE and CEP launched a successful court challenge that scuttled its plans to put the utility up for sale through an offering of shares.
“The premier says he wants to move before the next election to restructure Hydro, yet he has no mandate. They haven’t abandoned their appeal of our legal victory and they continue to push through legislation that will give them a blank cheque to do whatever they want,” says Darcy.
CUPE is concerned that income trusts and various other schemes all have the impact of putting the interests of investors over consumers and foreign markets over domestic needs.
CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan issued a warning to the board of OMERS, a pension plan that covers tens of thousands of CUPE members.
“CUPE members and retirees whose deferred wages have built up OMERS will not allow their money to be used to privatize a public asset like Hydro One,” said Ryan.
“We don’t need a new get-rich-quick scheme that puts a priority on returns,” says Darcy. “We need to build on the strong tradition of reliable service at a fair price that we’ve come to expect from Ontario Hydro.
Delegates to the CLC convention strongly endorsed an emergency resolution calling for a halt to electricity privatization and support for improved public power systems. Discussions among hydro workers from Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Quebec at the convention have lead to the formation of a national coalition to protect public hydro.