TORONTO – The deficit-plagued Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne is hanging the “For Sale” sign on government assets. The Liberals’ spring budget won’t be so much a fiscally responsible financial document outlining the government’s plan to prudently manage government programs as it will be a fire sale to help fund the Liberals’ 12 years of mismanagement.
Suddenly, Hydro One is for sale. And the government is going to open up wine and beer sales to large grocery stores and rake in millions in franchise fees.
This all has a Nixon to China flavour to it. If a Conservative government suggests changes to liquor sales or selling off utilities, it’s accused of being in the pockets of big business.
When Mike Harris’ government suggested selling off parts of Hydro One more than a decade ago, it was slammed for trading away the province’s “central nervous system.”
The difference back then was that Harris suggested selling off Hydro One because his government philosophically believed the private sector could do a better job. In hindsight, looking at the mess Hydro One is in, Harris was right.
Provincial Ombudsman Andre Marin issued a scathing preliminary report Wednesday outlining problems with the giant utility.
In an earlier report, Marin said Hydro One customers had been massively overbilled for electricity with erroneous, astronomical bills sent to beleaguered customers.
Last week, Marin reported numerous complaints of Hydro One threatening to cut off customers in freezing winter weather, despite a company policy that prohibits them from doing so.
“Hydro One is lying to the citizens and that’s what often causes citizens to lose trust in their institutions,” Marin said.
This chatter about Hydro One privatization flies in the face of what the Liberals said just a year before they came to power.
For the rest of this column, click here: http://www.torontosun.com/2015/03/14/spring-budget-is-liberals-fire-sale-to-cure-12-years-of-mismanagement