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Ontario premier, 2 senior ministers sued for ‘misfeasance’ over sale of Hydro One

Hydro One sign in the building headquarters wall. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images).
Hydro One sign in the building headquarters wall. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images). Roberto Machado Noa / File / LightRocket via Getty Images

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has filed a lawsuit against the Ontario government for “misfeasance in public office” over the sale of shares in Hydro One.

The lawsuit, which was filed in court on Tuesday, alleges Premier Kathleen Wynne, Finance Minister Charles Sousa and former energy minister Bob Chiarelli inappropriately mixed government and party business by holding expensive fundraisers with cabinet ministers that was attended by bankers who profited from the sale of Hydro One.

“We had hoped that the Premier and her Ministers would finally decide to do what is right for the people of Ontario and commit to stopping any future sale of shares in Hydro One,” said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario.

“In the absence of any response, we have no choice but to proceed with our lawsuit and look to the courts to hold them to account for their decisions that have caused harm to the people and the province.”

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READ MORE: Hydro One launches review of more than 1,400 disconnections

CUPE served the Ministry of the Attorney General with a notice of intent to sue in September. None of the claims have been proven in court.

Joining the list of plaintiffs are Dianne Dowling, who runs a family farm in eastern Ontario and is the Kingston area president of the National Farmers Union, and John Clarke, an organizer for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

The premier admitted last month the high electricity prices were her “mistake” during the Ontario Liberals’ annual general meeting.

“The Premier needs to move beyond apologizing for the damage her government has caused and actually fix the problems they created when they opened our electricity system to private shareholders,” Hahn said.

Wynne had defended the decision to sell up to 60 per cent of the utility, saying the money raised is needed to fund the Liberals’ $160-billion, 12-year program to modernize public transit and infrastructure across the province.

The Ontario government, which hopes to raise $9 billion from the partial privatization of Hydro One, raised $3.8 billion from the sale of 30 per cent of the utility so far.

READ MORE: Opposition parties warn Hydro One sale will raise electricity rates

Prior to the sale, the giant transmission utility brought in over $750 million annually to government coffers.

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Opposition parties had warned the Hydro One sale would eventually lead to even higher electricity prices in a province which already has some of the highest rates in Canada.

VIDEO: The Canadian Union of Public Employees is suing the Ontario government over the sale of Hydro One, the province’s electricity transmission monopoly. Shirlee Engel has more.

CUPE Ontario files lawsuit against Liberals to block further sale of Hydro One shares
CUPE Ontario files lawsuit against Liberals to block further sale of Hydro One shares

-With a file from The Canadian Press

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