Toronto

Horwath calls Hydro One IPO 'irresponsible, undemocratic'

Horwath's reaction comes one day after the utility announced plans to issue more than 81 million shares next Thursday priced at $20.50 each.

Wynne won't be available to answer questions in the legislature before next week's sale

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath criticized the sale of Hydro One, saying Premier Kathleen Wynne chose to ignore evidence that the move could cost billions. (CBC File)

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath came out swinging at the Liberal government Friday for what she calls the "irresponsible" sell-off of Hydro One. 

Her reaction came one day after the utility announced plans to issue more than 81 million shares next Thursday priced at $20.50 each, and a report by the province's financial accountability officer questioning the long-term wisdom of the sale.

"The past twenty-four hours have seen what may be the most irresponsible, undemocratic and arrogant behaviour by a government and a premier in the history of our province," Horwath told a news conference this morning. "The premier chose to ignore the evidence."

The initial sale of shares is expected to generate billions of dollars for the province. 

Premier Kathleen Wynne says the partial sale is necessary to fund the expansion of transit and other infrastructure.

But the report by the province's financial accountability officer, Stephen LeClair, says it's unclear if the impact on the province's budget will be positive or negative as more shares are sold. 

Wynne unavailable for questions

When all is said and done and the Liberals have sold the 60 per cent of Hydro One they plan to put on the market, the budgetary impact will ultimately be a negative one, LeClair says.

Meanwhile, Premier Wynne is getting set to head out of the country on a 15-day trade mission to California and China to promote investment in the province. That means she won't be available to answer questions in the legislature about the sale before the initial public offering next week.

For Horwath, the trip's timing is no coincidence.

"She should be here," Horwath said Friday to reporters. "She should be living up to her obligations as premier of this province and responding to not only my questions and questions here in the legislature and your questions."

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