Majority oppose Hydro One sale: government poll

The provincial government's own polling suggests that most Ontarians oppose the sale of Hydro One, and fear it will push up the price of electricity.

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The provincial government's own polling suggests that most Ontarians oppose the sale of Hydro One, fearing a rise in electricity prices. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

The provincial government's own polling suggests that most Ontarians oppose the sale of Hydro One, and fear it will push up the price of electricity.

Premier Kathleen Wynne's staff released the polling data to Queen's Park reporters on Thursday.

The documents show the government conducted extensive polling about people's views of three major Crown corporations — the LCBO, Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation — as it was reviewing privatization last fall.

Of 1,202 Ontarians polled in October, 73 per cent said Hydro One should definitely or probably be owned by the province, and 75 per cent said the same of OPG. Only 56 per cent said the LCBO should definitely or probably be owned by the government.

This spring, after the government announced it will sell off most of Hydro One, only 7 per cent of those polled said they "strongly support" the plan, 28 per cent said they somewhat support it, 19 per cent were somewhat opposed and 39 per cent strongly opposed.

Asked about the impact of the sale, 62 per cent said they think it will have a "somewhat negative" or "very negative" impact on the cost of electricity. 

Wynne's Liberal government is promising to put the proceeds of the Hydro One sale toward building new infrastructure, such as roads and transit. About six in 10 of those polled said they believe the sale would have a positive impact on infrastructure and public transit. 

The spring poll also asked about the plan to allow beer sales in grocery stores. The move was seen as "good news" by 66 per cent of those polled.  

The polling was done by the firm Pollara. Government officials have not yet replied to a question about how much the polling cost. 

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