09/15/2015 03:39 EDT | Updated 09/15/2016 05:12 EDT

Ontario Liberals Defend Hydro One Sale They Once Opposed

The Conservatives dug up a 2002 motion that said Hydro One "is best kept in public ownership and public hands.


TORONTO — Ontario's Liberals are being forced to explain why they want to sell Hydro One after condemning the previous Progressive Conservative government for proposing a similar privatization plan.

The Conservatives dug up a 2002 motion from veteran Liberal Jim Bradley, now the chair of cabinet, that said Hydro One "is best kept in public ownership and public hands."

Bradley cited cabinet confidentiality Tuesday when asked if he had ever spoken against Premier Kathleen Wynne's plans to sell 60 per cent of the giant transmission utility to raise an estimated $9 billion.

Wynne says she would use $4 billion from the sale to help pay for a $130-billion, 10-year infrastructure and public transit program, and $5 billion to pay down hydro debt.

Bradley insists he supports all government policies, and says he opposed the Conservatives' plan to sell Hydro One 13 years ago because they wanted to sell 100 per cent of the utility.

PC Leader Patrick Brown explains his opposition to the sale by saying he won't be tied to positions taken by previous Conservative leaders, and warns that privatizing Hydro One will drive up electricity rates.

The New Democrats have consistently opposed any move to privatize Hydro One, and say Wynne is not being clear with ratepayers about the lack of accountability and oversight at the utility that will follow the sale.

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