Hydro bills paying for lobbyists: Ontario NDP
Provincial Liberals take cash from publicly-owned utilities.
Toronto, November 1, 2010: On the day Ontario families began to pay higher winter time-of-use electricity rates, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea revealed the McGuinty Liberals raked in tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions from publicly-owned municipal hydro companies.
"When hydro bills are going through the roof, people want to know that their money is building a hydro system, not paying lobbyists and fundraisers," said Horwath.
The NDP Leader revealed that at least four public utilities have recently hired lobbyists, according to the Ontario Lobbyist Registry. They include Horizon Utilities, which serves Hamilton and St. Catharines (two lobbyists), Toronto Hydro, Burlington Electricity Services Inc. and Thunder Bay Hydro.
The revelation comes a day after records showed that several utilities made donations to the Ontario Liberal Party. Utility companies described these fundraisers as "necessary networking events".
"The government says presidents of publicly-owned utilities can pick up the phone and call the Minister," said Horwath. "Why are they squandering ratepayer dollars on insider lobbyists?"
Horwath said getting access to the McGuinty government comes with a cost.
"It seems that hiring insider lobbyists and making donations to the Liberal Party is the cost of getting access to the McGuinty government," said Horwath.
Links and sources
Public utilities should not be donating to Ontario Liberal Party, NDP says
Posted: November 05, 2010
Public Values (PublicValues.ca) is a project of the Golden Lake Institute and the online publication StraightGoods.ca