The Politics of Power: Ontario Hydro and Its Government,1906-1995

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Ontario Hydro is a paradox. Omnipresent and omnipotent in the Ontario political and economic Landscape, its nature and identity have been shrouded in ambiguity for ninety years. The Politics of Power provides a fascinating account of Hydro's origins and history up to the 1995 provincial election. Freeman contends that the common perception of Hydro as the archetypal crown corporation is mistaken, despite its reputation as one of the first and most important examples of large-scale public enterprise in Canada. ...
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Overview

Ontario Hydro is a paradox. Omnipresent and omnipotent in the Ontario political and economic Landscape, its nature and identity have been shrouded in ambiguity for ninety years. The Politics of Power provides a fascinating account of Hydro's origins and history up to the 1995 provincial election. Freeman contends that the common perception of Hydro as the archetypal crown corporation is mistaken, despite its reputation as one of the first and most important examples of large-scale public enterprise in Canada. From the legislation that launched the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario (HEPC) in 1906 to its formal re-creation as Ontario Hydro in 1973, the utility was simultaneously considered in different quarters to be both a government enterprise and the trustee of a municipal cooperative. This ambivalence continues to be a central theme in Hydro's history. As Freeman shows, the ownership confusion was only attenuated rather than terminated with the creation of Ontario Hydro, and this has implications for its restructuring and privatization today. While municipal ownership is largely a myth, it has survived so long not only because municipal leaders gave it articulation; it conveniently supported the political objectives of Hydro to bolster corporate autonomy and the government to silence criticism of direct involvement in the economy. Through meticulous examination of statutory changes and government appointments, and through candid interviews with key government, municipal, and Hydro officials, Freeman gives us a much clearer understanding of this important corporation and its government.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Wilmott's fourth memoir following the post World War II years in London documents the author's reentry into civilian life, the beginning of her social work career, and marriage to Peter Willmott. This portion of the author's life, like the others, is presented in a series of vignettes and personal observations. As a historical document, the writing clarifies the historical rebuilding of Britain after the war, and changing gender relationships. Distributed by Dufour. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802071606
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press
  • Publication date: 4/19/1996
  • Pages: 252

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Introduction 3
2 Turn-of-the-Century State Intervention: Creating the Hydro-Electric Power Commission, 1902-6 10
3 Ruling the Hydro-Electric Power Commission through Personal Leadership: The Beck Era, 1906-25 30
4 Injecting the Hydro-Electric Power Commission with Political Sensitivity: The Ferguson Formula, 1925-43 59
5 Infusing the Hydro-Electric Power Commission with Policy Sensitivity: One-Party Dominance, 1943-63 87
6 Taming the Hydro-Electric Power Commission: The Age of Government Modernization, 1964-73 119
7 End-of-the-Century Public Ownership: An Epilogue for Ontario Hydro, 1974-95 162
8 Conclusion 180
Appendix: HEPC and Ontario Hydro Leaders, 1906-95 193
Notes 205
Bibliography 231
Index 243
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