(Queen’s Park): Today, Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, and Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North and Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada, are calling upon all MPPs in the Ontario Legislative Assembly to vote responsibly and ethically against the selloff and privatization of Hydro One.
They are calling upon MPPs to put the best long term interests of Ontario and their constituents ahead of partisan politics, and reverse this desperate proposed action by the Wynne government.
Below are statements by the two Green Party politicians. You can also download as a PDF here.
Statement by Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario:
I challenge the Premier and the opposition leaders to work together to find ways to fund transportation that do not include selling off a strategic public asset in Hydro One.
Privatizing Hydro One is a poor choice–a bad decision from a desperate Liberal government looking for money to fund transit.
The fire sale of an important public asset is irresponsible. It trades our future wealth and control over our electricity system for a short-term shot of cash. It will be an expensive mistake that Ontarians will pay for every month on their electricity bill.
Ontario desperately needs political leaders with the courage to be honest about how to fund transportation. The Premier has foolishly rejected other revenue sources for transit recommended by expert panels, business groups and civic organizations. So have the NDP and PC parties. This failure of leadership at Queen’s Park will sell out our future.
I am asking MPPs from all parties to do the right thing for their constituents and vote against liquidating Hydro One.
Statement by Bruce Hyer, MP Thunder Bay – Superior North:
The selling off of Hydro One by Kathleen Wynne is not a federal issue. Nonetheless, I feel a need as a representative of my constituents, as an Ontario taxpayer, and as a citizen of Northwestern Ontario to speak out on this important issue.
Both Premier Wynne and Prime Minister Harper were elected with only 39% of the popular vote, but under our flawed electoral system, they have “false majorities” that lead to running roughshod over the real majority of voters. Sadly, both the Federal and Ontario governments are selling off our strategic resources and industries, and relinquishing control of our energy fates and futures to large multinationals with no loyalty to Canada or Canadians.
The most recent and egregious example is the proposed sale of the majority of Hydro One shares by the Liberal government of Ontario. This move is absolute madness, putting short term cash flow and political expediency ahead of long term Ontario energy autonomy. Do we need to finance mass transit in Toronto? Absolutely, but it will require political leadership and real public debate to do so in a responsible and honest manner, as Green Leader Mike Schreiner has asked for repeatedly. Nowhere in the Liberal platform was there a single hint about a possible sell-off of our key Ontario supplier of electricity, other than the possibility of selling off “some assets”.
Does have Hydro One have huge economic and management problems going back decades, due to bungling by the governments of all three mainline parties? Yes. But if you think our electricity bills are ridiculous now, hold on for a very expensive ride. Anyone who believes that privatizing our electricity monopoly will be good for electricity users in our region or anywhere across Ontario is avoiding a looming and expensive reality. The real answers to reducing electricity costs are energy conservation, and to steadily increase the amount of low-cost, low-carbon waterpower from Quebec, Manitoba, and from within Ontario. We also desperately need a Federal national energy strategy.
I call upon Premier Wynne to rethink this foolish and anti-democratic move. I call upon our MPPs Gravelle and Mauro to stiffen their spines, do the obviously right thing, actually put the interests of Northwestern Ontario ahead of their party, and vote against the privatization of Hydro One.