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Oshawa against Hydro One sale

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Oshawa council has drawn a line in the sand.

At the latest regular meeting of council, councillors passed a resolution staking their position against the privatization of Hydro One.

Councillor Nancy Diamond, who expressed strong support for the motion, said she feared the Liberal provincial government was making rash decisions when offering as much as 60 per cent of Ontario’s public power operator, Hydro One.

The province hopes to gain $9 billion from the sale, which it plans to put toward infrastructure.

The decision to sell was pushed through by the majority government, along with the provincial budget, on June 3.

“(The Liberals are) so desperate for money, they are making desperate moves,” Diamond said.

Jim Freeman, the president of the Durham Region Labour Council. spoke at the meeting, stressing the importance of keeping power in public hands.

Not only would service fees increase, but Freeman said the fears of reduced service could also become a reality.

“I think it’s important that we keep it in public hands, and I think it’s important that council join the growing list,” Freeman said of those opposed to the sale.

“We still have the power to stop them from implementing it,” he added.

A recent CUPE-funded poll found that 83 per cent of Ontarians opposed the sale of Hydro One. That number grows to 89 per cent when looking at Oshawa specifically.

Freeman, who said the sale would be robbing the province of a “crown jewel,” stressed it’s not just about the the average resident, but also the businesses who operate in the city.

“It is about the economy and it’s about the businesses being actually able to produce products as cheaply as possible,” he said.

Late last month, a local group of lobbyists, the Public Power Coalition, held a public meeting at the Jubiliee Pavilion in Oshwa to discuss the sale. Present were provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath and Oshawa MPP Jennifer French, among others.

Hundreds attended the meeting to protest the province’s decision.