Community Press, Quinte Edition
October 10, 2003
Wise souls will readily advise us, “Be careful what you wish for … because you might just get it.”
At a deep, perhaps subconscious level, Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal followers must be wondering what they have gotten themselves into through their recent ascension to power in Ontario. Their dreams have come true. Now all they have to do is keep those dreams from turning into a nightmare.
If our MPP Leona Dombrowsky is still in a betting mood I’ll happily wager her $5 that one of the first announcements her Liberal party will make after settling into office will be something like, “We are very sorry to have to inform the Ontario public that things are much worse than we feared. The Conservatives have driven us further into debt than even we had dreamed to be possible under their misguided leadership. The debt Ontarians are burdened with is enormous! Billions and billions of dollars. Therefore, since the cupboard is bare, nay, since the cupboard has been stolen or sold to the highest bidder amongst the Conservative’s buddies in big business we must put off some of our planned improvements to the lives of teachers, healthcare workers and many other hard working Ontarians. But as soon as we figure out how to balance the books … surely before we call the next provincial election, the money will be there to fulfill each and every election promise we made to you to get you to vote for us.”
And then there is Ontario Hydro.
Exactly how the Liberals will handle this hot potato which has been dropped in their lap should be interesting. That phony 4.3¢ per Kwh cost that we see on our bills will have to go one day. Or else the service charges will have to be raised by another 500 per cent.
I have a little booklet called “Breaking Up Ontario Hydro’s Monopoly” which the Liberals might benefit from reading. I happened upon it the other day as I went through a box of old books trying to decide which ones to give to the local library. It was written by Lawrence Solomon in 1982. There are some interesting historical facts about the evolution of what we knew as Ontario Hydro.
On page 64 Mr. Solomon says, “Our recommendations would have ownership of most of the generating plants returned to the municipalities, with Ontario Hydro becoming, once again, an intercity distributor of others’ electricity. As originally conceived in 1905, private producers would also have access to the grid. Ontario’s least disruptive route would be to return to its roots and re-establish a competitive system directly.”
The booklet details how bloated Ontario Hydro became and how government had no control over it. One fine example is evidence filed before the Ontario Energy Board: “Ontario Hydro’s Public Relations staff – 120. The entire staff of the Ministry of Energy – 158. Bell Telephone’s PR staff – 16. Inco’s PR staff- 19.” Trust me, you don’t want to know about comparative salaries in 1982.
The Hydro beast has grown since 1905. Good luck Dalton!