By: Jennifer Massie, Timmins Today (June 28, 2016) – Tonight a town hall meeting held by Hydro One Not For Sale coalition was held at St. Dominique’s Parish Hall in Timmins to listen to concerns from area residents, businesses and industry.
The Hydro One Not For Sale coalition consists of volunteers across the Province from various walks of life who want to stop the Wynne government from selling publicly owned portions of Hydro One. The sale would mean privatization of the electrical service provided in Ontario.
Gilles Bisson, NDP MPP for Timmins-James Bay; NDP MPP Rosario Marchese, who is also the Chair of Citizens Coalition Against Privatization and former Minister of Culture in the Bob Rae government; and Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay met with 14 concerned residents during the meeting.
Residents were voicing their concerns regarding the proposed sale of the remaining 60 percent of Hydro One which is still publicly owned.
During the meeting, Rosario Marchese addressed those in attendance and provided facts regarding the Liberal Provincial Government’s ideas, and the idea of passing a bill to privatize electricity.
Marchese advised those in attendance that the province’s Financial Accountability Officer has reviewed the sale and determined that if Hydro One is sold, the privatization would cost Ontario hundreds of millions of dollars annually with no end to the losses in sight.
Several in attendance brought up that they were concerned about the impact the privatization would have on those who are on low or fixed incomes; as well as the effects to the economy, specifically that in Northern Ontario.
Marchese said he believes businesses and industries all across Ontario should be very concerned with the potential sale as they may not receive any discounts or cuts like the currently receive to offset their costs.
It is currently estimated that the privatization would cause high increases to the cost per kilowatt hour for residents and businesses.
In the early 2000s the Ontario pulp and paper industry lost over 60 percent of its jobs, and saw several locations close due to rising costs to production including hydro rates.
Many of the mills have reopened or moved to Quebec where publicly owned hydro assists in keeping rates low and thus more attractive to businesses.
If Hydro One was to be sold, there would be an estimated 20,000 businesses in Ontario close within the first five years of the Hydro One sale due to the increased costs of operating within Ontario.
As the meeting closed off the group in attendance agreed to meet and create a branch of the Hydro One Not For Sale Coalition in Timmins. Members will be volunteers and the group is open to anyone who may wish to help spread information regarding the potential sale of Hydro One.
Please check out www.hydronotforsale.ca or facebook.com/hydronotforsale for additional resources or to become a volunteer.