Barely understood “Supercorp” plan dies of terminal complexity

Barely understood “Supercorp” plan dies of terminal complexity

Not for sale by owner: the LCBO keeps its Crown master (Image: Allen Gathman)

For almost a year now, the Liberals at Queen’s Park have been mulling the idea of semi-privatizing the profit-making crown corporations they own—most notably the lotteries, the power grid and the beloved boozeries (LCBO). The plan involved grouping all the businesses together then selling shares in the company they’d prefer we not call “Frankenstein Inc.”

The Globe tells us:

While conceding that “you don’t want to be accused of a fire sale,” [Dwight] Duncan insisted it was logistical issues that dissuaded the government from even formally taking the idea to cabinet….Senior Liberals had previously suggested the proceeds from Supercorp could be used for capital investments, likely in post-secondary education, that would help fill out their platform in next year’s provincial election. But Mr. Duncan said any upfront investment of proceeds would have “run afoul of the auditor.”

So they weren’t really concerned with the critics who said the province was giving up long-term dividends for a short-term hit of money. At ground level, customers probably wouldn’t have noticed much difference, though there was hope that private money would make the sluggish public corporations more aggressive and responsive to their customers.

The good news is that with this resolved, Ontarians can rest easy knowing that their friendly neighbourhood liquor stores will continue to charge them too much for booze.

• Ontario Supercorp dead in the water [Globe and Mail]