More than 200 people came to the Montreal convention centre to hear experts present the latest facts on the dangers of privatizing public electricity services. Researchers used numbers to make the case that the Coalition Avenir Québec’s plans for the energy sector are bad news from a socioeconomic perspective. 

“This jewel of ours is being dismantled through the back door. Reintroducing the private sector has distorted Hydro-Québec’s mission, and the citizens of Quebec will not come out ahead.  Hydro-Québec talks about a just transition, but we could miss out on a just transition,” warns Pierre-Guy Sylvestre, a CUPE economist and representative. 

The attendees came from unions, political parties, environmental groups and community groups. They listened to speakers from the Institut de recherche en économie contemporaine and the Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques, as well as to senior energy analyst Jean‑François Blain. 

“Broadly speaking, experts have confirmed to us that the government is selling off our energy capacity at bargain-basement prices without doing any actual planning for the sector. The Legault government’s stubborn and ideological promotion of the private sector robs our public services of the financial resources they need,” added Sylvestre. 

The half-day symposium was organized by CUPE, which represents 16,000 Hydro-Québec workers.