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(Sami Siva)
(Sami Siva)

Robert Silver

Why selling Toronto Hydro is a good idea Add to ...

Former Liberal Party national director Rocco Rossi launched his campaign today with two specific policy proposals.

One is barely worth mentioning because it is the epitome of symbolic, cheap, almost meaningless politics. Rolling back the mayor's salary by 10 per cent may play well on reactionary talk radio but it should not be confused with substantive policy.

The same can not be said about Rossi's proposal for selling Toronto Hydro to pay down city debt. This proposal has three attributes:

1. It is specific - no empty rhetoric here. Sell this asset, use the proceeds to pay down debt and invest in capital investments.

2. It is bold - its certainly not something the current gang would consider doing and I presume a pollster would tell Rocco it's a bad idea.

3. It is good policy. There is absolutely no reason other than "it's how it's always been" why cities should own electric utilities.

Oh, but electricity is a vital public service! You say.

I agree, that's why the province regulates utilities through the Ontario Energy Board regardless of who owns it.

Groceries are also kind of important and yet for some reason we are all able to eat in this great city without having to go to Toronto Food Is Us.

There are lots of vital services that nobody would ever suggest should be owned by municipalities, why would distribution wires be an exception?

There is no argument for why the city needs to continue owning Toronto Hydro - go ahead commenters, give it your best shot and I will rebut in turn.

Using the proceeds to pay down debt or for capital investments is also the only defendable use of proceeds.

While I don't support Rossi in this race (I'm not supporting anyone at this point), if his entry means we are going to have a substantive debate with specific proposals then welcome to the race, Rocco.

(Photo: Sami Siva / The Globe and Mail)

 

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