Conservative Critic Todd Smith Slams Hydro One Sale

Todd Smith, the Hydro Critic for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario dropped by our Brampton studio to share how taxpayer dollars are being spent and wasted. Mr. Smith is the MPP for Belleville–Prince Edward Hasting and gives us a devastating perspective on the province’s finances.

Mr. Smith highlighted issues in relation to the sale of 30% of Hydro One and the recent Auditor General’s report. Public pressure seems to have been effective in slowing down the remaining 30% sale of Hydro One. Mr. Smith says that the sale of Hydro One is for “short-term gain that results in a long-term pain for Ontario.”

The Hydro One Ombudsman has received over 10,600 complaints over billing and the sale of the provincial asset. And while residents unable to afford rates are getting their power disconnected, top management salaries are through the roof, with the top job getting ten times as much as the equivalent position in Quebec, where rates are about half of what Ontarians are paying.

Hydro One was a major election issue in the by-election loss by the provincial Liberals in the Scarborough Rouge River riding.  It may have marked a turning point in how the Premier approaches the issue going forward.

Another spending controversy raised by the province’s Auditor General is the $8 billion cost and 14 years of time for an incomplete e-health programe. Money that could be used for hospitals, pay for more doctors and nurses is flowing on a project where significant components are not operational. It has been plagued by mismanagement, where employees were being paid $1,000 a day while claiming expenses for a $1.50 cup of coffee. In recent comments, Mr. Smith notes how in the same time frame as the Province’s e-health project, Apple has released 7 editions of the iPhone.

You can also hear what Premier Kathleen Wynne has to say about the Hydro One Sale on Sunday, February 5th at 7pm on Rogers Television. To get an early viewing of the Premier’s interview, you can also subscribe here.

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I don’t disagree with any of the criticisms. However, I can’t help but point out the irony: We have the Progressive Conservatives to thank for the sale of the 407, and starting the process of privatising Hydro One that led to the debt retirement charge. I’ve not seen any evidence that the PCs have moral authority at this time argue any point about any political part not willing to “fix the problem”. After all, they were the ones that kept hydro prices artificially low and failed to invest in electricity infrastructure. Remember how fun the blackout of 2003 was? What’s… Read more »