OTTAWA – Ontarians shouldn’t be fooled by promises the Eves government will retain public control of Hydro One, says Canada’s largest union, pledging to keep up the fight to protect affordable, reliable and accountable electricity.
“Ernie Eves is playing the role of carnival magician,” says Judy Darcy, National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. “Through diversion and sleight of hand, he’s trying to draw our attention away from the government’s agenda, which remains privatization and deregulation.”
CUPE is one of two unions that scuttled the government’s plans to sell off Hydro One by launching a successful legal challenge.
“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.”
“Given their performance over the past two months, why should we trust them to act in the public interest?” asks Darcy. “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.”
CUPE remains concerned that income trusts and various other schemes that have been identified as options all have the impact of putting the interests of investors over consumers and foreign markets over domestic needs.
“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.
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Robert Fox, CUPE Communications