The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) is calling on the labour and democratic movements to raise the roof over an estimated 43% hydro price hike to effect over the next year.
The cause of the hike is the break‑up of the publicly owned Ontario Hydro under the Tory government of Mike Harris. Privatization and deregulation have shorn hydro users while “generating” huge profits for the private electricity generators, distributors, retailers, investors, brokers, and others on the for-profit gravy train.
“We need that rising tide of public anger to swamp the government and the Legislature with a demand to restore public power in Ontario, and put it under public democratic control,” says a statement from the CPC (Ontario). “Otherwise, a 46% increase will be just one of many more coming down the wires to overloaded homeowners and tenants and small business owners.
“We need to end this gouging and profiteering by the corporate friends of the Tories and Liberals in Queen’s Park once and for all. Putting energy under public ownership and democratic control means delivering power at cost, power that rightfully belongs to the people of Ontario, not the energy pirates and profiteers.”
The Ontario NDP has responded to news of the price shocks with a proposal to remove the HST from hydro bills. But the Communists say this is addressing the impact of profiteering, not the cause. Privatization and deregulation of power must be addressed.
“Furthermore, why remove the hated HST only from hydro bills?” asked CPC (Ontario) leader Liz Rowley. “Why not abolish the HST altogether? This is another Tory/Liberal tax gift to the corporations, one that’s costing the public $4.5 billion annually. “People feel like they’ve been had over the last 20 years ‑ and so they have,” Rowley added. “Ontario needs a new government with a progressive agenda that will put people before profits, and people’s needs before corporate greed. That’s what this is really about.”