Lawyers for the Premier and Ministers of Energy and Finance were back in court today, trying to defend the sell-off of Hydro One that hurt the people of the province and benefited the Ontario Liberal Party.
The misfeasance suit, filed by Steven Shrybman and Goldblatt Partners on behalf of a group of concerned citizens led by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, was before the Ontario Court of Appeal today.
“Last month the Financial Accountability Office released irrefutable proof that the privatization of Hydro One will hurt the people of Ontario, just as experts told the Premier and her Ministers it would. They not only knowingly went ahead with the sell-off, they then held fundraisers so that the Ontario Liberal Party could benefit from those that made millions off the sale,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. “While the Premier tries to change the channel with today’s Throne Speech, we are continuing to hold her and her government accountable for the damage they’ve caused our province.”
The FAO report showed that though the sale of shares helps the books look better before the election, as soon as the election’s over the province starts to bleed money from the loss of ongoing revenue - $1.1 billion next year and hundreds of millions more for years to come.
The report also shows that it would have been $1.8 billion cheaper to take out a low interest loan than to sell off our public hydro system. That’s $1.8 billion that will either need to be cut from our public services or made up for through tax increases.
“We believe that Judge Cavanagh made an error in law with his decision to dismiss our misfeasance suit and we are asking the court to overturn his ruling,” said Hahn. “We are hopeful we will get a favourable decision that will allow the case to proceed”
“There is a principle at stake here that extends beyond any one political moment,” said Hahn. “That principle is that our government must act in the best interest of the people. Our elected officials cannot knowingly make a decision that hurts the people and then financially benefit from their actions. If they’re allowed to get away with this, what is the message that sends future governments.”
“The sad thing is, that even if the courts do hold them accountable, it won’t undo the damage that has been caused,” Hahn said. “The only way we can reverse the long-term damage is to end the privatization of our hydro system and return Hydro One to public hands.”
CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 260,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.