There was never much doubt Kathleen Wynne’s decision to sell off most of Hydro One was self-serving and brutally bad for Ontario.
And now Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer has exposed that con by putting a price on the cost of selling off the provincial electricity asset to help the Liberals balance their books — $1.8 billion.
That’s $1.8 billion the government could have saved had it chosen to use traditional debt practices to fund infrastructure projects, instead of privatizing 53% of Hydro One using sleight of hand, suggests the report by J. David Wake, who’s temporarily serving as Ontario’s FAO.
Opposition critics and unions have long been saying the same thing.
“Kathleen Wynne’s reckless fire sale of Hydro One will continue to make life harder for Ontario families,” tweeted interim Ontario PC leader Vic Fedeli.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath heaped scorn from the left, saying “Wynne’s Hydro One sell-off means billions less for health care, education and lowering hydro bills.”
And CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn, whose union is suing the Liberal government over the sale, said the FAO report proves “any benefit the Liberals claim having from the sale of Hydro One ends this year.
“The Liberals designed the sale of Hydro One so that voters see what appear to be positive numbers before the election and don’t see the real financial losses until later,” Hahn said. “It’s a classic bait and switch and voters are (not) going to be fooled.”
Selling off Hydro One generated $9.2 billion in one-time cash for the Liberals, which helped reduce their deficit by $3.8 billion over the fiscal years 2015-16 to 2017-18, the FAO estimated.
However, going forward, the government will lose $1.1 billion in revenue and the sale will “cost the Province an average of $264 million each year from 2019-20 to 2024-25,” the report estimated.
“Rather than funding infrastructure through low interest loans the way our parents and grandparents’ generations did, the Wynne government has chosen to make our children and grandchildren pay more,” Hahn said. “This will cost all of us in the future.”
Which isn’t what Kathleen Wynne suggested would happen when the Liberals put Hydro One on the block in 2015.
“These changes will strengthen our economy, create thousands of jobs and generate $4 billion for investment in infrastructure projects — representing the largest infrastructure investment in Ontario’s history,” Wynne said in an April 16, 2015 press release.
“We are positioning our province to thrive, long into the future,” Wynne said.
Turns out, not so much.
Meanwhile, Hydro One’s new private-sector investors include a part-owner of one of America’s largest coal-fired power plants and a toxic, 800-acre coal ash pond.
And ash, given the damning numbers in this FAO report, is a now familiar taste this toxic deal will leave in the collective mouths of all Ontarians.
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies