By Leith Dunick, Thunder Bay News Watch (Sept. 10, 2015) – Ontario selling Hydro One to the private sector would be a mistake, says a group of protestors attempting a last-ditch effort to convince Premier Kathleen Wynne to put the brakes on the plan.
About two dozen opponents of the plan marched through the downtown north core to Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle’s Algoma Street office on Thursday, seeking an audience with the long-time MPP.”
There are just too many risks and unknowns involved, said Terri Dimini with the Citizen’s Community Alliance Against Privatization.
“There’s a long history that shows privatization costs us more in the long run,” she said. “Everybody relies on hydro all the time now. Everything is connected, all our computers, laptops, TVs, cellphones.
“Everything is so reliant on hydro that if we don’t keep it public and ensure that it’s maintained properly, then it will cost us in the long run, both financially and in longer blackouts and power outages.”
Described as one of the largest privatizations in Ontario’s history, the province under Wynne’s guidance plans to sell off 60 per cent of Hydro One.
Of the money raised through the sale, $4 billion would pay for new transit lines, while $5 billion would be applied to Ontario’s debt.
Demini said she’s hopeful protests like the one in Thunder Bay can have an impact and convince the premier and her government to reconsider.
“I think the more that we get together and have these rallies, it shows we’re not going to sit down and just take it,” she said.
“There are a lot of people who think it’s a done deal and that there’s nothing that’s going to change the fact that Premier Wynne is going to sell Hydro One. And that’s not the case. It’s not done deal yet. It’s not a done deal until she sells off that first public offering and we’re hoping we can stop that.”
Union activist Kim Chicago said they’ve met with Minister of Natural Resources Bill Mauro, Thunder Bay’s other representative at Queen’s Park.
But, she added, Gravelle has refused to meet with the group.
The cabinet minister was not in his office on Thursday afternoon when the protesters arrived and was unavailable for comment.
“It’s a public service and we need to keep it that way so everybody can benefit from it,” Chicago said before gathering the troops and descending on Gravelle’s office.
“We hope it will change (Wynne’s) mind and she’ll understand that yes she does have a majority, and if she wants to take a page out of (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper’s book, she can be a bully. But the people of Ontario will remember the next election and she will probably suffer the same fate.”