By Arron Pickard, Sudbury.com (May 8, 2016) – A few dozen people didn’t let a little rain get in their way of delivering a message to the rest of Sudbury on Saturday: Hydro One is not for sale.
Volunteers pounded the pavement during the launch of Sudbury’s Keep Hydro Public campaign, encouraging residents of Sudbury to contact MPP Glenn Thibeault and ask him to speak out against the sale of Hydro One.
Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, was in Sudbury for the launch.
“The Liberal government has decided to sell our hydro network without our permission,” Hahn said. “Eighty-five per cent of people across Ontario are opposed to the sale, yet they’re going ahead with it, and we don’t think that’s OK. At the end of the day, any politician is elected to represent the interest of the people who voted for him, and the people who voted for Glenn Thibeault don’t want him to sell Hydro One.”
Similar campaigns are happening right across the province. He said the Liberal government wants residents to think selling off Hydro One is a done deal and that there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.
“It’s not too late to save our hydro system,” Hahn said. “There’s always something we can do when people work together. These politicians’ jobs depend on people voting for them, and they need to understand their constituents won’t vote for them again if they keep doing things that make no economic sense, like selling our hydro system.
“What the Liberals need to understand is, that the passion people have about this isn’t going to go away. People will be dogging them, whether through this campaign or through people just opening their hydro bills and understanding they are paying too much for an essential service. They’re going to be dogged all the way to the next election.”
Valerie Trudeau, president of the Sudbury District CUPE Council, said there are a lot of close ties with the anti-poverty coalitions in Sudbury.
“We know people won’t be able to afford their hydro bills,” she said. “It’s terrible. There’s already an increased use in food banks, and that’s only going to increase. It puts stress on all of society.”
The idea of the campaign is to bring everyone to the same table to work together to inform the public, she said.
“Many people don’t realize what the ramifications are going to be. Everyone needs to know there will be a problem if they sell off Hydro One. The more the public is aware, the better, and we want to put the pressure on our politicians.”
Wendy Watson, spokesperson with Greater Sudbury Hydro, said Greater Sudbury Hydro is 100 per cent publicly owned and not involved in this issue, but has taken exception to the use of their logo on flyers for the campaign.
She said after speaking with some of the campaign members, they had decided to include the Sudbury Hydro logo, thinking it would make the issue clearer for people in Sudbury.
“In fact, we believe it confuses the issue even more,” Watson said. “This is a city served by both Greater Sudbury Hydro and Hydro One. We are not involved in this issue, and feel the inappropriate use of logo is intentionally misleading, perhaps even fraudulent.”