TORONTO, ON – Today at Queen’s Park, the Keep Hydro Public campaign unveiled the look for a new phase in the fight to stop privatization of Hydro One.
“An overwhelming majority of Ontarians are angry about the Liberal’s planned hydro sell-off. This new phase in the campaign will help people already organizing in communities across the province to channel that strong and growing opposition to hold their Liberal MPP to account. It is an MPP’s job to represent their constituents, and their constituents want them to keep Hydro public,” said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.
Campaign materials remind us that 85 percent of Hydro One is still owned by the people of Ontario, and it’s not too late to Keep Hydro Public, he said. Liberal MPPs have a choice, they can listen to their constituents, to the Auditor General, to the Financial Accountability Office, to Chambers of Commerce and others in the business community, and to the 194 municipalities that passed resolutions opposing the sale – and stop any further privatization. As the campaign rolls out in Liberal ridings, advertising and leaflets will feature the face and contact information of local MPPs.
Hahn was joined at the launch by Ontario Health Coalition Executive Director Natalie Mehra and TTCriders Executive Director Jessica Bell, as well as representatives of many Keep Hydro Public campaign partners, including the Canadian Federation of Students, ACORN, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, the Ontario Federation of Union Retirees, Put Food in the Budget and the Ontario Federation of Labour.
“Like everyone else here, we are in support of investing in infrastructure, but selling Hydro One isn’t the way to do it,” said TTCriders Executive Director Jessica Bell. “The sale provides less than a drop in the bucket of the Liberals’ $130-billion infrastructure plan, and removes public control over hydro. Coupled with rising hydro rates to pay for investor dividends, that doesn’t make sense at a time when transit is increasingly electric.”
Mehra pointed out that the privatization agenda is broader than just hydro and is already hurting Ontarians as more and more people are pushed into for-profit long-term care facilities and hospital services are outsourced to private clinics.
“Health care budgets are already causing a crisis as we see hospital closures, service cuts and growing waiting lists across the province. Skyrocketing hydro rates resulting from privatization will only make matters worse. Hospitals and long-term care homes have to pay to keep the lights on and run medical equipment,” she said.
The campaign will roll out over coming months, starting in two Toronto ridings later in February.
“Just like the anger Ontarians feel, we’re not going away until the Liberals stop the hydro sell-off mistake,” said Hahn.
The Keep Hydro Public campaign is supported by more than 20 community, labour, environment, anti-poverty and student organizations. Find out more about the campaign at KeepHydroPublic.ca.
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