05/22/2015 11:50 EDT | Updated 05/22/2016 05:59 EDT

Hydro One Sale Must Be Severed From Budget Bill: Ontario NDP

TORONTO - Premier Kathleen Wynne has shot down an NDP call to separate the sale of Hydro One from the rest of the budget to allow for more debate.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the Liberal government has buried the sell-off in its "omnibus" budget bill and wants to see it severed.

"I am calling on Kathleen Wynne to do the right thing and give Ontarians their chance to be heard on Hydro One," Horwath said Friday.

Asked if she would consider Horwath's request, Wynne simply said, "No."

The province plans to sell 60 per cent of the utility, starting with a 15-per-cent initial public offering. The sale is expected to raise about $9 billion, $4 billion of which would be used for infrastructure projects and the rest to pay down hydro debt.

The NDP has been calling for committee hearings on the budget bill to travel the province and hear from Ontarians who can't travel to the legislature. A government spokesman said people are welcome to present to the committee via teleconference or videoconference, as well as written submissions.

There is only one more day of hearings left, then the majority Liberal government will pass its budget bill.

The NDP opposes the sale of Hydro One, saying it gives up strategic control of the province's electricity system and will drive up hydro rates.

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