Queen’s Park – By law any money raised from the sale of Hydro One must be used to pay off its $27 billion debt, Chatham-Kent-Essex MPP Rick Nicholls said today.
Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government has stated that they will change this law so they can spend the money as they please. Hydro One’s debt will be passed to electricity ratepayers.
“They’re willing to change the law for a temporary quick fix to feed their spending addiction. What this means for residents of our community is even higher hydro rates, further cutbacks in health care, the reduction of services to seniors, and the potential of school closures which we are already starting to see around the province,” stated the MPP.
The Auditor General warned the Liberals in her last report that failing to address the provinces growing debt, which is approaching $300 billion, will result in the “crowding out” of essential services like health care and education.
Nicholls is concerned about the impact that passing Hydro One’s debt to customers will have on Chatham-Kent-Essex and Southwestern Ontario as a whole.
“Our region has already lost thousands of manufacturing jobs under this government. Unemployment rates are high and many are living paycheque to paycheque if they have a job at all. This news only makes things worse,” Nicholls said.
“Chatham-Kent-Essex residents will see large hikes to their energy bills, which the government says will fund transit projects. Will any of these projects be in our riding, or are we just footing the bill for projects elsewhere?” Nicholls asked.
Opposition parties were unable to ask the Premier any questions today, as the Premier and eight ministers skipped Question Period, dodging questions about the announcement to sell-off of a majority of Hydro One and how much energy bills will increase as a result.
“This announcement will directly impact each and every person that lives in my riding. Our region will lose jobs. My job is to hold the government to account, and I was very upset with the disrespect shown to the people of Ontario by the Premier refusing to answer questions that a lot of people are asking,” Nicholls stated.
Nicholls is also wondering why the Liberals failed to mention many of their plans during the 2014 election campaign.
“I don’t recall Liberals running on a platform to sell a majority of Hydro One, lay off teachers and nurses, close hospital units and introduce a carbon tax which is basically a tax on everything.” Nicholls concluded.