A debate on privatization is long overdue in Ontario, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has said in letter to OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, in which she commends the union for “stepping up to the plate” to call on provincial leaders to participate in such a debate.
“The Conservatives and Liberals took a pass on the proposal, but that’s no surprise. In an open and honest debate they’d lose, pure and simple. And they know it,” Horwath wrote in the May 29 letter.
The past 20 years under Liberal and Tory governments have yielded many examples of failed privatization, she said, citing the 407, P-3’s, the gas plant scandal, and Ornge.
Both the Liberals and Tories have said they want to sell off parts of the LCBO, OPG, and Hydro One even though their own previous governments rejected the ideas that would cost the public more and “put service at risk”, said Horwath.
“Yet, year after year, Liberals and Tories keep resurrecting the same discredited schemes.”
Certain services should remain public, according to Horwath – and not only for the good of individuals, but “for the common good”. She referred to the benefits for business of enjoying hydro rates through publicly-owned and publicly-accountable hydro companies.
Horwath’s letter argues that there is room in Ontario for both the private and public sector, saying the former has “a vital and important role to play in our economy” and the latter a “fundamental role to play in our society”. Her letter is an appeal to leaders and other decision-makers to recognize common ground, and offers some examples of where that lies.
“Whether it’s our schools, our hospitals, or, I’d argue, our power plants and roads, we need to work together for the common good,” Horwath wrote.