VANCOUVER, June 19 /CNW/ - Ontario government Cabinet ministers must reject a proposal to cede control of the province's Crown corporations to private investors, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says.
"Together, the four Crown corporations earn more than $4 billion a year in pure profit for Ontario taxpayers, not counting the taxes they collect," said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, in Vancouver for a National Union convention. "That money pays for schools, hospitals, roads, children's aid, environmental protection - the whole gamut of public services.
"Surrendering our assets and the income from them will rob our children of the revenues they need tomorrow to keep Ontario strong," he said. "It's short-term gain for long-term pain, and it's a bad, bad idea."
The McGuinty Cabinet is set to debate the largest privatization in Ontario history at its Cabinet meeting June 23, according to news reports. The plan to be debated would place the LCBO, Ontario Lottery and Gaming, Hydro One, and Ontario Power Generation into a single corporation. Government would hold a majority stake in the new entity but cede "fiduciary control" to investors.
"It's hard to believe that McGuinty has come up with a privatization plan so similar to what happened with Highway 407 a decade ago," said Thomas. "The public built the 407, the public owns the 407, but investors control it. If we go down the same road with our Crown corporations, we will see the same result: a rip-off of monumental proportions."
Ontarians want sober and responsible management of government, not panic-driven asset sales, Thomas said.
"The public is not calling for the sale of Crown corporations," he said. "Nobody supports this except Dalton McGuinty and his advisors from Goldman Sachs, who are smacking their lips at the thought of the billions of dollars they can suck from what belongs to all of us.
"If the 'Supercorp' proposal goes ahead, we guarantee a full and frank public debate that will continue right up to election day," Thomas said. "Voters will reject this scam, and if the Premier does not reject it as well, many of his MPPs will pay for it with their seats."
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