Rural Mayor’s Forum of Eastern Ontario opposes Hydro One privatization

Dear Premier Kathleen Wynne,

We, the members of the Rural Mayor’s Forum of Eastern Ontario (RMFEO), a newly created organization that formed to address the growing concerns related to fiscal management of small rural municipalities, are writing to you today to express, in the strongest possible terms, our opposition to the sale of Hydro One and any further fire sales of our provincially owned assets.

In rural Ontario, the lines employees of Hydro One provide excellent response to their customers to ensure continuity of a very essential service. Over the last number of years Hydro One has spent considerable money and effort to lessen the potential outages by removing danger trees from distribution right of ways and embarking on a pole upgrade program. This action has resulted in a much more reliable level of service to many rural customers as evidenced by reduced unplanned outages.

Many people in this Province firmly believe our provincial assets were created on the backs of, and belong to, the people of Ontario and are not yours to dispose of simply to attempt to raise funds for one time only infrastructure lottery plans. Your party was not voted in with a mandate to privatize Hydro One or any other provincially owned asset.

There was much opposition to sell 60 percent of Hydro One yet you went ahead and did so even though there were over 165 municipalities who officially opposed your plan through resolutions. There have been many requests made to your office stating that your government needs to listen to Mayors and Councils across Ontario and to consult with us when you implement your policies. We have seen yours, and your Minister’s, comments stating that you have indeed consulted with municipalities on the implementation of your policies yet none of us have had the opportunity to be involved in any policy consultations or discussions related to this particular issue. A number of our members attended a session on July 8th, 2105 in Ottawa attended by minister Navqui on how to spend 31 billion infrastructure dollars and at no time was there ever any mention of where this money was being raised much less the sale of provincial assets.

We are deeply concerned that moving to a situation where a majority ownership of Hydro One is comprised of organizations whose sole concern is a return for their shareholders will tend to negate any focus on customer service. We are also concerned the improvements made to date by Hydro One for rural Ontario will be allowed to deteriorate to unacceptable levels under the influence of this new ownership.

Sir Adam Beck was knighted for his long term objective to provide power to the people of Ontario at cost and this was one of the major influencing factors that made Ontario the manufacturing powerhouse in Canada for many, many years.

We urge you to return to those values and cease any further fire sale of Hydro One shares and any other provincial assets. Let us and all future Ontarians enjoy forever the returns from our provincially owned assets.

Respectively the undersigned,

Garry Gruntz, Reeve, Brudnell, Lyndoc & Raglan
Jim Gibson, Mayor, Head Clara Maria
Shaun McLaughlin, Mayor, Mississippi Mills
Henry Hogg, Reeve, Addington Highlands
Frances Smith, Mayor, Central Frontenac
Glenda McKay, Mayor, Greater Madawaska
Vivian Bloom, Mayor, Hastings Highlands
Bob Kingsbury, Mayor, Horton
Brian Stewart, Mayor, Lanark Highlands
Kim Love, Mayor, Madawaska Valley
Tom Peckett, Mayor, McNab Braeside
Ron Higgins, Mayor, North Frontenac
Brian Campbell, Deputy Reeve, Tay Valley
Bonnie Adams, Reeve, Carlo-Mayo
Clarence Kennedy, Reeve, Stone Mills