Horwath tables bill to protect families from pre-pay hydro meters

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Horwath tables bill to protect families from pre-pay hydro meters

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is introducing a new law to ban pre-pay hydro meters, protecting people from having the electricity cut off if they don’t feed the meter.

“When it comes to hydro bills, Kathleen Wynne has brought us one disappointment after another, from the sell-off of Hydro One to her $40-billion borrowing scheme that will send hydro bills soaring after the election,” said Horwath. “Now, the privatized Hydro One has applied for the power to install pre-pay hydro meters on people’s homes and small businesses.

“That means that families, seniors and businesses will have to keep the meter fed, or lose their power automatically.”

That plan was quietly inserted into Hydro One’s distribution rate application for 2018 to 2022. It would give the company power to replace smart meters with pre-pay meters. The Liberal government has been defending that move, despite the experience of other countries like the United Kingdom, which banned pre-pay water meters 20 years ago.

“This is what privatization looks like,” said Horwath. “Seniors living on small pensions resorting to candles and blankets when they can’t afford more credits. Parents telling their kids they can’t afford to keep the lights on. It has to be stopped.”

Horwath is concerned that the new meters would skirt the ban on winter-time disconnections, since they cut off electricity automatically if the meter isn’t fed by buying credits at a corner shop or online.

“Kathleen Wynne and Hydro One’s solution for high hydro bills is to make folks pay up-front to ensure the company comes out on top. My solution is to lower hydro bills so families can actually afford them.”

The NDP’s Protecting Hydro Consumers Act, prohibiting distributors from installing pre-pay meters anywhere in Ontario, is in addition to Horwath’s plan to cut hydro bills down by about 30 per cent for all homes and businesses, ending mandatory time of use pricing and bringing Hydro One back into public hands.

Patrick Brown and the Conservatives are offering no change for hydro. According to Brown’s platform, the Conservatives will keep Kathleen Wynne’s privatization, and her $40 billion dollar borrowing scheme, and send hydro costs soaring after the election. On Nov. 30, Brown’s Conservatives voted with the Wynne government to block an NDP motion to start bringing Hydro One back into public ownership.

 

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Monday, December 11, 2017 - 15:00
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Wynne’s hospital privatization scheme diverts millions of dollars from front-line care

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Wynne’s hospital privatization scheme diverts millions of dollars from front-line care

In question period on Thursday, NDP Health critic France Gélinas said the Liberal government must answer for its privatization scheme, which is now forcing hospitals to divert resources away from front-line care in order to cover millions of dollars in maintenance costs that private contractors refuse to provide.  

The 2017 Auditor General’s report, released Wednesday, revealed that hospitals are diverting millions from operating budgets to pay for high privatized maintenance costs, which privative contractors now argue are not included in the price of the public-private partnership (P3) contracts Liberal and Conservative governments signed. 

Previously, the auditor found that Ontarians were paying $8 billion extra because of those P3 deals.

“Yesterday, the Auditor General revealed that 16 P3 hospitals where ongoing maintenance and repairs have been privatized by this Liberal government and the Conservatives before them are being forced to take money from nursing and front-line care to cover millions of dollars in maintenance costs that the private contractor refuses to cover,” said Gélinas. “Every hospital the Auditor General contacted told her the exact same thing. They are not seeing the benefits that were promised under this privatized model.

“How can this government force our hospitals to take money away from nursing and front-line care just to mask the failure of this health care privatization scheme?” asked Gelinas.

P3s are a form of privatization in which a government pays extra to have a private sector company finance and sometimes also maintain public sector assets, like hospitals.

“Those P3 contracts were supposed to cover all hospital maintenance costs—that was the entire point of signing those contracts,” said Gélinas. “But now, hospitals are being forced to divert their operating funds—funds that this Liberal government froze for four years straight. Money meant to hire nurses, open up new beds, cut wait times, provide quality care—that money is instead being diverted to pay private companies that won’t hold up their end of the deal, that refuse to do the work.

“Why is this government forcing people to wait longer in our hospital system and forcing nurses to work without the proper staffing levels instead of stopping this massive failure of this health care privatization scheme?” asked Gélinas.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 19:45
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Wynne’s hospital privatization scheme diverts millions of dollars from front-line care

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Wynne’s hospital privatization scheme diverts millions of dollars from front-line care

In question period on Thursday, NDP Health critic France Gélinas said the Liberal government must answer for its privatization scheme, which is now forcing hospitals to divert resources away from front-line care in order to cover millions of dollars in maintenance costs that private contractors refuse to provide.  

The 2017 Auditor General’s report, released Wednesday, revealed that hospitals are diverting millions from operating budgets to pay for high privatized maintenance costs, which privative contractors now argue are not included in the price of the public-private partnership (P3) contracts Liberal and Conservative governments signed. 

Previously, the auditor found that Ontarians were paying $8 billion extra because of those P3 deals.

“Yesterday, the Auditor General revealed that 16 P3 hospitals where ongoing maintenance and repairs have been privatized by this Liberal government and the Conservatives before them are being forced to take money from nursing and front-line care to cover millions of dollars in maintenance costs that the private contractor refuses to cover,” said Gélinas. “Every hospital the Auditor General contacted told her the exact same thing. They are not seeing the benefits that were promised under this privatized model.

“How can this government force our hospitals to take money away from nursing and front-line care just to mask the failure of this health care privatization scheme?” asked Gelinas.

P3s are a form of privatization in which a government pays extra to have a private sector company finance and sometimes also maintain public sector assets, like hospitals.

“Those P3 contracts were supposed to cover all hospital maintenance costs—that was the entire point of signing those contracts,” said Gélinas. “But now, hospitals are being forced to divert their operating funds—funds that this Liberal government froze for four years straight. Money meant to hire nurses, open up new beds, cut wait times, provide quality care—that money is instead being diverted to pay private companies that won’t hold up their end of the deal, that refuse to do the work.

“Why is this government forcing people to wait longer in our hospital system and forcing nurses to work without the proper staffing levels instead of stopping this massive failure of this health care privatization scheme?” asked Gélinas.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 19:45
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Wynne’s hospital privatization scheme diverts millions of dollars from front-line care

posted in: Provincial | 0
English
News Content: 

Wynne’s hospital privatization scheme diverts millions of dollars from front-line care

In question period on Thursday, NDP Health critic France Gélinas said the Liberal government must answer for its privatization scheme, which is now forcing hospitals to divert resources away from front-line care in order to cover millions of dollars in maintenance costs that private contractors refuse to provide.  

The 2017 Auditor General’s report, released Wednesday, revealed that hospitals are diverting millions from operating budgets to pay for high privatized maintenance costs, which privative contractors now argue are not included in the price of the public-private partnership (P3) contracts Liberal and Conservative governments signed. 

Previously, the auditor found that Ontarians were paying $8 billion extra because of those P3 deals.

“Yesterday, the Auditor General revealed that 16 P3 hospitals where ongoing maintenance and repairs have been privatized by this Liberal government and the Conservatives before them are being forced to take money from nursing and front-line care to cover millions of dollars in maintenance costs that the private contractor refuses to cover,” said Gélinas. “Every hospital the Auditor General contacted told her the exact same thing. They are not seeing the benefits that were promised under this privatized model.

“How can this government force our hospitals to take money away from nursing and front-line care just to mask the failure of this health care privatization scheme?” asked Gelinas.

P3s are a form of privatization in which a government pays extra to have a private sector company finance and sometimes also maintain public sector assets, like hospitals.

“Those P3 contracts were supposed to cover all hospital maintenance costs—that was the entire point of signing those contracts,” said Gélinas. “But now, hospitals are being forced to divert their operating funds—funds that this Liberal government froze for four years straight. Money meant to hire nurses, open up new beds, cut wait times, provide quality care—that money is instead being diverted to pay private companies that won’t hold up their end of the deal, that refuse to do the work.

“Why is this government forcing people to wait longer in our hospital system and forcing nurses to work without the proper staffing levels instead of stopping this massive failure of this health care privatization scheme?” asked Gélinas.

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Social housing goes from bad to worse under the Liberal government

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Social housing goes from bad to worse under the Liberal government

Thousands left languishing on social housing waitlists

A day after the Auditor General released a scathing report of the Wynne government’s financial statements, NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky demanded answers as to why there are now more people waiting for social housing than actually living in social housing in Ontario.

“In my riding, in Windsor, we have 4,000 people and families on our waitlist,” said Gretzky. “The wait list in Ontario has grown by 36 per cent since the Liberals have been in power — that’s 185,000 families.”

On Wednesday, the Auditor General revealed that only 5 per cent of people on the social housing waitlist actually get housing each year, and the wait times within some municipalities can be as long as nine years. While the need for social housing has reached a tipping point, Gretzky said that the Wynne Liberals have no provincial strategy to address growing waitlists.

She called on all MPPs in the house Thursday to try to imagine what that would feel like.

“Some families have to wait close to ten years before they are provided with a place to live,” she said. “Imagine their lives in those ten years – could anyone in this house hold on that long before their families had a safe, secure, place to live?”

The last Conservative government laid the foundation of today’s social housing crisis by downloading responsibility for social housing onto municipalities, without providing a way to pay for it. The Liberal government has continued with this policy, cutting another $150 million per year out of municipal social housing in 2013.

Gretzky said that both new social housing builds and existing social housing stock are declining, making things even more difficult for families. 

“About a third of all social housing in Ontario is at risk of being lost forever due to the expiry of contracts which will allow private landlords to convert social housing into condos,” said Gretzky.

“What will this government do to save these social housing units? And will they commit to building enough new units to meet the needs of Ontario families?” asked Gretzky.

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