Ontario Liberal budget confirms the sale of Hydro One and tightens health, education spending..
The behind-the-scenes influence of big business in politics was never so evident than it was in the tabling of the 2015 Ontario budget on Thursday.
Two glaring examples stand out in the budget: 1) the 60% sell-off of government-owned Hydro One; and 2) the unwillingness of the Wynne Liberal government to reverse the McGuinty Corporate Tax reductions that are costing the Ontario treasury $2.5 billion annually.
First, some numbers from the budget.
The Hydro One sale is expected to generate about $9 billion, $5 billion of which will be used to pay hydro debt, with the remaining $4 billion to be allocated to transit and other infrastructure projects. Continue reading
The decision by the Ontario Government to take the advice of former T.D. Bank head Ed Clark to privatize 60% of Hydro One will benefit a tight-knit group of Bay St. insiders.
In early April, Bruce Bodden was appointed to the board of Infrastructure Ontario.
The name will mean little to the vast majority of Ontarians but in light of Ontario’s decision to take the advice of former T.D. Bank head Ed Clark and privatize 60% of Hydro One, it should.
To understand the connection between the Hydro One privatization and the appointment of Mr. Bodden to the Infrastructure Ontario (IO) board, one first has to understand the role that IO plays in the privatization “industry”.
Infrastructure Ontario is the provincial body that tenders and oversees the development of P3 (public-private-partnership) infrastructure projects for the Government of Ontario. Continue reading
Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s report finds that Public-Private Partnerships cost Ontario Taxpayers $8 billion more than if built through the public sector.
Public-private partnerships (P3’s) have cost Ontario taxpayers nearly $8-billion more on infrastructure over the past nine years than if the government had successfully built the projects itself. $6.5 billion of the overpayment of $8 billion comes from the higher borrowing costs of P3’s relative to traditional government infrastructure financing.
The revelation, from Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report, comes as Premier Kathleen Wynne stakes the province’s future on a vast construction program that will see dozens of new schools, bridges and subways built over the next decade using the P3 model.
And the report strongly suggests that the Liberal Government can build that infrastructure more cheaply using conventional public sector financing. The current Ontario deficit stands at $12.5-billion. Continue reading
The LCBO, Beer Store, OPG, and Hydro One are all in play as T.D. CEO Ed Clark – pictured above – readies privatization report for Ontario Premier Wynne.
To overcome massive public dislike for the privatization of Ontario’s electrical generation, distribution and transmission utilities, Premier Kathleen Wynne would have to first ratchet up concern over the province’s deficit, said Liberal pollster and chief strategist in Wynne’s recent election campaign, David Herle. And he just doesn’t think that is going to happen.
Three times more people trust the public sector to run the Crown corporations Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) compared to those who would trust the private sector, said Herle, speaking to the Ontario Energy Association’s annual conference in downtown Toronto Wednesday.
Wynne, who received her first majority mandate from Ontarians in last spring’s election, appointed an advisory council on April 11 to examine how the government could ‘maximize the value’ Ontarians get from Hydro One, OPG and the LCBO. Continue reading