'Are we looking at smaller things? Possibly, but no decision’s been made.'
Toronto (29 June 2010) - The Ontario government denies it is considering the sale of equity worth billions of dollars in the province's largest and most profitable Crown corporations.
Dwight Duncan, the province's finance minister, has told Bloomberg Businessweek that reports indicating that the province may try to raise up to $12 billion by combining several large Crowns and selling shares in them are wrong.
One published report said the money would be raised by selling equity to pension funds and the public, although the province would retain overall corporate control. Crown corporations at the centre of the speculation include the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG), Ontario Hydro and Ontario Power Generation (OPG).
“There’s no plan whatsoever - there’s nothing coming to cabinet,” Duncan said. However, Ontario has created a committee to review its assets and recommend ideas to help the government cope with record deficits caused by the global economic recession.
While dismissing reports on large-scale decisions such as those speculated in recent news reports, Duncan did not rule out that something may be in the works.
“Are we looking at smaller things? Possibly, but no decision’s been made,” he said.
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) has been fighting hard to keep the province's lucrative Crown corporations in public hands and to retain, for the benefit of taxpayers, the billions they generate each year to help pay for public programs and services.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE