Thursday, December 17, 2009

McGuinty to borrow a page from Harris' book?

Sure looks that way:

The cash-strapped Ontario government is looking into the sale of all or part of its collection of Crown corporations, including the provincial lottery company and the retail monopoly on liquor sales, to raise cash to close a $24.7-billion deficit this year.

The Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty recently hired two banks with experience in privatizations, CIBC World Markets Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and charged them with writing a blueprint for possible privatization of agencies, investment banking sources said. The sale candidates include icons such as Hydro One Inc., the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and Ontario Power Generation, said the bankers, who asked to remain anonymous because the talks with the government are private.

The planned time frame for the initial study is short, just a couple of months, and then the government can decide whether to go ahead with any sales.

From the Globe and Mail. It seems awfully shortsighted to me, especially with things like Hydro and the LCBO, which are reliable sources of government revenue. To sell those would be choking the chicken that laid the golden egg. Indeed, it's noteworthy that even Mike Harris backed away from doing this, so hopefully McGuinty will do so as well.

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