TORONTO — The Speaker of the Ontario legislature says the Liberals did not violate the privilege of members and was not in contempt of parliament when it negotiated deals to give workers shares in Hydro One before the utility’s sale is approved.The government refuses to divulge any details of the tentative contracts reached with the Power Workers’ Union at both Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation until the deals are ratified. The union also declines comment.But a copy of the Hydro One deal obtained by The Canadian Press shows the workers will get shares in the electricity transmission utility equal to 2.7 per cent of their base pay every year from 2017 until 2028.New Democrat Gilles Bisson says the tentative deals undermine the authority of the legislature by presuming legislation will pass, which he insists is a breach of privilege and contempt, a position supported by the Progressive Conservatives.But Speaker Dave Levac rejected the privilege argument Thursday by ruling “there is no indication that anyone’s freedom of speech has been compromised by virtue of anything that has happened, or been said, inside or outside the House.”Hydro One prices first debt deal since Ontario announces IPO plans: More money on similar termsOntario’s Power Trip: No windfall in selling off part of Hydro OneTerence Corcoran: Why the Hydro One ‘privatization’ is a shamLevac also ruled there was no case for contempt because negotiating contracts that gave workers shares in Hydro One was “normal planning that effective organizations would be expected to engage in.“Presumably if the legislation does not pass these arrangements will not be implemented,” added Levac.Interim Progressive Conservative Leader Jim Wilson said the Speaker was “off base” in his rulings.“They’re moving ahead without any legislative foundation whatsoever, without any permission from the people of Ontario and without any debate here in the legislature, and it shouldn’t be allowed,” said WilsonThe Liberals announced last month they intended to sell 60 per cent of Hydro One, which they predicted would raise about $9 billion, $4 billion of which would be used for public transit projects and the rest to pay down hydro debt.The opposition parties complain the Liberals never mentioned they would sell Hydro One during last year’s election campaign, and warned that privatizing it will drive up Ontario’s already high electricity rates for everyone.“People don’t remember hearing about this plan because there isn’t a single Liberal MPP who ran on selling Hydro One,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “The premier’s plan helps out Bay Street bankers, it helps out consultants, it helps out well-connected Liberals.”Deputy Premier Deb Matthews said the Liberals did campaign on their pledge to review government assets to help fund a 10-year, $130 billion infrastructure plan, but she never acknowledged that they never mentioned selling Hydro One.“We ran on building infrastructure, and that is what we are going to do,” Matthews told the legislature.Horwath said, however, that giving potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in shares to power workers without knowing their true value means none of that money will go to fund transit projects as the Liberals’ claim,.“The value of those shares, whatever it’s pegged at, is not going to go into infrastructure and it’s not going into transit,” she said.
by Mike Tarasko Posted May 22, 2015 7:45 am MDT (City News) There is no doubt the energy sector is getting hit hard thanks to low oil prices.A report this week estimated some 185,000 jobs will be cut across the country when all is said and done, but does that mean companies have the right to renege on promises of community programs and developments?Alan Ross is a partner with the Calgary law firm Borden, Ladner and Gervais.He’s been keeping an eye on oil and gas companies during the downturn and says so far most are living up to their promises.“They recognize that they have long term investments in a community. They recognize and take the long view on energy pricing and that they will have to deal with these communities on the projects in the future,” he said.However, if low oil prices remain a year from now, Ross says companies may have to make some tough choices as they are not legally obligated to continue community programs.“It depends on the economics of each particular company: how much they have invested, what their breakeven point is, for example, as to whether it makes sense a year from now to continue on with projects,” he said Will economic downturn mean oil companies back out of social obligations? AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
The play, written by Howard Barker and directed by Gerrard McArthur, is set in ‘Ancient China’ and features characters with Chinese names.A protest is now planned to coincide with the play’s opening night on January 19. It is not known if Princess Eugenie will be attending.The protest’s organiser Andrew Keates, who is directing a play called Chinglish at the Park Theatre in North London, which will feature East Asian performers, has written an open letter to the Print Room accusing the venue of endorsing the “racist, outdated and unnecessary practice of ‘yellowface’ and instead find actors who are appropriate.”Mr Keates said Princess Eugenie should revoke her patronage of the Print Room in recognition of the controversy surrounding the play.He told the Daily Mail: “As a representative of British East Asians in this country, I do not see how she could lend her name to a theatre that is not supporting racial equality, either actively or through ignorance.”Supporters of the Princess defended her patronage of the Print Room, saying her role had nothing to do with the details of particular productions staged there.Equity, the trades union representing actors and performers, has backed the protests over the casting of In the Depths of Dead Love.Christine Payne, Equity general secretary, says: “This casting clearly shows that the Print Room is not engaging with the industry-wide discussion on diversity.”But the Print Room defended its choice of casting, pointing out that In the Depths of Dead Love is not a Chinese play and that the characters are not Chinese.In a statement it said: “The production references a setting in Ancient China and the characters’ names are Chinese. These are literary allusions in Howard Barker’s fable and never intended to be taken literally.“It is, in fact a very “English” play and is derived from thoroughly English mores and simply references the mythic and the ancient. It has therefore been cast accordingly.”The theatre added: “We understand that some will find such an interplay between cultural reference and artistic imagination troubling. We regret that our initial public announcements about this play were not sensitive to this fact.“The Print Room has long been a champion of multiculturalism and diversity in the arts in London.”Buckingham Palace declined to comment. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. I do not see how she could lend her name to a theatre that is not supporting racial equality.Andrew Keates Princess Eugenie has found herself caught up in an embarrassing racism row over the use of white actors to play Chinese characters at a London theatre where she is the Royal patron.Campaigners have urged her to revoke her patronage of the Print Room at The Coronet, in Notting Hill, after accusations of ‘yellowcasting’.The Princess, daughter of Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York, was said to have been delighted after being made royal patron of the Print Room last month.But the theatre, a former historic cinema which featured in the 1999 Richard Curtis film Notting Hill, has been attacked over casting white actors to play Chinese parts in its opening play, In the Depths of Dead Love.