Hydro One Chutzpah Astounds

Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford holds a rally to speak about Hydro One in Toronto on May 15, 2018.
Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford holds a rally to speak about Hydro One in Toronto on May 15, 2018.

They say it never rains but it pours.

They say it because it’s true.

Outside the Hydro One annual general meeting in downtown Toronto Tuesday, it was actually raining.

The Progressive Conservative candidate for premier, Doug Ford, and a handful of supporters (and one protester) with their signs, stood in it, sometimes chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, Mayo’s gotta go.”

Inside the lobby of the Ted Rogers School of Management, where the AGM was being held and where said Mayo — Mayo Schmidt, Hydro One CEO and the guy Ford calls “the $6-million man” because he earned $6.2 million in salary and bonuses last year — various handlers looked on.

It was pouring in here too. It was a deluge of horse manure and its cousin, magnificent self-aggrandization.

The AGM was open to the press, with each reporter, it appeared, assigned a handler, who accompanied them to a registration desk and then to a room where we could hear, but not see, the AGM. Several handlers stayed in the room. It felt curiously nostalgic, like being part of the 1972 Team Canada in the old Soviet Union.

Anyway, if Hydro One runs its business like it ran that AGM, Schmidt et al should have their salary immediately doubled. That was some well-oiled machine. The meeting was over, complete with question period, in 57 minutes.

Board chairman David Denison presided.

First, the 14 board members were elected, or rather, re-elected; they were first appointed by the Ontario government in 2015, when Hydro One was taken private.

Just this week, an information circular for the AGM mentioned that the directors had voted to give themselves a $25,000-a-year raise, bringing their annual compensation for the part-time jobs to $185,000 and Denison’s own, as chair, to $330,000.

“Any questions from shareholders on the election of board members?” Denison asked and then, pausing a hair of a second, answered himself. “Seeing none,” the matter was closed.

Ditto the appointment, or rather re-appointment, of the external auditors. “Any questions from shareholders” on that matter, Denison asked, and again, “Seeing none…”

Ditto the “Say on Pay advisory vote on executive compensation.”

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