By Mandy Marciniak, Kingston Heritage News (Sept. 17, 2015) – Earlier this month, Kingston city council joined over 130 other municipalities across Ontario when they voted on a motion to support the continued operation of Hydro One as a publicly owned asset. This vote, which passed unanimously, comes as speculation grows that the Ontario government wants to sell 60 per cent of Hydro One, privatizing the service – something many Ontarians are strongly opposed to.
In support of this opposition and in an effort to raise more awareness about the facts surrounding the issue, the Citizens Coalition Against Privatization (CCAP) held a public meeting in Kingston on Sept. 16.
“These info sessions have been happening across the province and the latest polls show that 83 per cent of Ontarians are opposed to the sale of Hydro One and opposed to privatization,” said David Lundy, a member of CCAP. “Residents know it will cost them more money and it will decrease their level of service and nobody wants that.”
According to Lundy, the price of electricity has already gone up 13 per cent since 2003 and is set to go up another 16 per cent. Lundy is also concerned with the impact further increases will have on businesses.
“One in 20 businesses say that if this increase happens and if privatization happens then they will have to close their doors and that is unacceptable,” he said. “This is a very bad deal no matter which way you look at it. It doesn’t work and it just doesn’t make sense.”
Lundy pointed to other communities in Canada that have experienced privatization as proof of what could happen here in Ontario.
“The places that have privatized services, like Nova Scotia, actually have the poorest service and the highest prices,” he said. “These areas also experience more outages.”
At the public meeting Lundy was joined by local councillors, experts in the hydro industry and approximately 30 community members who are all concerned about the future of Hydro One.
Local activist, Smoky Thomas urged everyone in the room to be outspoken about their views.
“If we lose this battle and Kathleen Wynne sells 60 per cent of Hydro One then the privatization of other services will just come like a tsunami,” said Thomas. “This is really important. We need to keep going and voicing our opposition and keep fighting.”
For those who want to help and aren’t sure where to start, Lundy recommends signing petitions, calling MPs and maybe even starting local grass roots groups.
“The sale hasn’t happened yet,” he said. “More opposition needs to be heard and that starts at community meetings like this.”
For more information about the Citizens Coalition Against Privatization (CCAP) visit www.hydronotforsale.ca