The misfeasance suit against the Premier and Ministers of Energy and Finance over the sale of Hydro One shares is headed back to court with a hearing expected in the spring, after CUPE filed an appeal to the courts ruling in June.
“This case is about more than the sale of Hydro One. It’s about the government’s responsibility to act in the best interest of its citizens,” said CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn, speaking at a press conference at Queen’s Park. “This case is about protecting our democracy from elected officials who are tempted to use their power to benefit themselves and their friends at the expense of the people’s good.”
“Claims like this one are challenged by the Crown as a matter of course – this was no exception,” said lawyer Steven Shrybman, a partner with Goldblatt Partners. “In their attempt to have the suit dismissed the Defendants threw everything but the kitchen sink at the claim, and most of their objections were dismissed by the Court, including their challenge to the adequacy of the pleading of misfeasance.”
“The Premier and her government took something that we collectively owned, that our parents and grandparents paid for with their taxes – something that we all rely on – and they put it in the hands of profiteers who will continue to jack up rates and make life harder for the rest of us,” said Hahn. “But the thing is, they didn’t just privatize it – they structured the deal in a way that led to donations in the hundreds of thousands to the Liberal Party of Ontario, and that have saddled rate payers with charges totalling more than $1 billion. This is misfeasance in public office, and it cannot be allowed to go ahead unchallenged.”
“Despite the fact that the courts found that the claim we filed against the Premier and Ministers had properly made out a case of misfeasance, the court also found that the issues in question concerned core policy matters and were therefore immune from challenge,” said Shrybman. “It’s from this decision that an appeal will be argued before the Ontario Court of Appeal.”
“We hope that the Premier and her Ministers will still be held accountable for their decision to sell off our hydro system in a way that benefited their friends on Bay Street and their own political party,” said Hahn. “Once this case moves to trial the Premier and Ministers will be required to provide full disclosure and the public will be able to know the full story of what went on.”
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.