February 15, 2018 – The Financial Accountability Office’s recent report that the Ontario Government’s sale of Hydro One will drive up costs of energy is not a surprise to Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, PC candidate for Kanata-Carleton. Dr. Fullerton sees the sale of Hydro One as an attempt by Premier Kathleen Wynne to win the up-coming Ontario election – “at any cost.”
The Financial Accountability Office has reported Ontario taxpayers would have saved $1.8 billion, which is added to Ontario’s deficit this year, had the Provincial Government not sold Hydro One shares to fund its infrastructure projects. Jeffrey Novak, chief financial analyst for the FAO, states, “Over the long term, the FAO estimates that the province’s net debt will be higher as a result of the partial sale of Hydro One when compared to an alternative of borrowing to finance an equivalent amount of infrastructure investment.”
Merrilee Fullerton sees the sale of Hydro One by the Government is a costly disservice to Ontarians. “The Government sold an important public asset to fund its infrastructure program and to make their books look better in an election year,” says Fullerton. “The Wynne Liberals are doing whatever it takes to win, at any cost, whether it is in the best interest of Ontarians or not. What is evident from the FAO report is that selling Hydro One has driven up the cost of living for families, seniors and businesses.”
“Ontarians are facing escalating hydro costs and, whether we talk about the Hydro One selloff or the cap-and-trade policies, Ontarians are suffering as a result of the Liberal energy programs. It is time to change policy direction, “ and Fullerton adds, “that’s exactly what the PCs intend to do should we get the mandate in the June 7th election.”
Hydro One went public in November 2015, with the province saying it planned to use the sale of shares to fund transit and infrastructure projects. By December 2017, the province had sold off a majority 53 per cent of its stake in Hydro One.
The FAO analysis said that in the first three years after the partial privatization, the province saw a total profit of $3.8 billion on the deal. But by 2018-2019, the FAO forecasts a loss of $1.1 billion because of one-time charges and fewer dividends as a result of the province’s smaller stake in the company.
PC finance critic, and local Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod said the majority share selloff of Hydro One will have consequences down the road. “This was short-term gain for very long-term pain,” MacLeod said. “This is not a good deal for Ontarians.”
“The Liberals like to talk a big game on infrastructure, but the Hydro One fire sale was never about investing in infrastructure,” added MacLeod.
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Dr. Merrilee Fullerton