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OPSEU’s Thomas repeats call for public inquiry into privatization industry

TORONTO – The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union is repeating a call for a public inquiry into the privatization industry in Ontario.

“Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plans to sell off parts of the province’s electricity distribution and liquor retail systems are, in my opinion, nothing but corruption in action,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said today. “What we’re seeing is a campaign of asset stripping that will result in nothing but the enrichment of well-connected Liberal donors at public expense.”

“It’s about time we had some transparency in these discussions,” Thomas said. “That’s why I’m repeating my call for a public inquiry into the privatization industry in this province.”

According to reports, the Wynne government plans to sell off parts of Hydro One and greatly expand private liquor retailing by allowing major grocers to sell beer and wine in their stores.

“If you care about the public interest, neither of these ideas makes any sense on its own,” Thomas said. “They can only be understood as the product of a too-cozy relationship between Kathleen Wynne and the richest people in Ontario. That’s where we need to shine the light.”

Thomas first called for an inquiry in December when Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk reported that the province paid $8 billion too much for 74 major infrastructure projects when it hired private companies to manage and finance them.

“When I see that one of the co-chairs of Kathleen Wynne’s election campaign is a top Bay Street lawyer who specializes in privatization deals, and the other co-chair is a former Minister of Health who approved more of them than anyone, I have questions,” he said. “When I see that Ed Clark, Wynne’s privatization czar, and Galen Weston, head of Loblaws, have attended Bilderberg meetings together, I’m curious to know when they first discussed beer and wine in grocery stores.”

Thomas called on Wynne to put all current privatization plans on hold.