The Decline and Fall of Ontario’s Electric Empire

By Jamie Swift and Keith Stewart


Out of Stock




View on Overdrive

“Nothing is going to go wrong.” -Mike Harris, 2001

Privatization of power soon became one of the biggest political disasters in Ontario history. Hydro reveals a train wreck that was decades in the making. First there was blind faith in the nuclear option, steeped in ecological arrogance. Then came the promise of marketplace magic.

Jamie Swift and Keith Stewart tell the tale of how it unfolded. It’s a dramatic story of the greed, intrigue, and resistance that led to the dismantling of Canada’s largest crown corporation. A crucial part of the story is how Ontario ignored thirty years of green arguments for conservation and renewable energy.

Based on interviews with former premiers, Hydro insiders, and grassroots activists, Hydro will intrigue anyone wondering how to keep the lights on without frying the planet.

More by this Author


Given that most books on energy policy could be prescribed to cure insomnia, it’s great to find the history of a public utility that is not only informative and accessible, but also graced by a certain panache and sense of humour. Writer/activists Jamie Swift and Keith Stewart have generated an extraordinarily good read in their history of one of the largest energy enterprises in North America.

– Matthew Behrens, Quill & Quire


Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction The Rise and Fall of an Electric Empire
Chapter 1 Power and the Tory Dynasty: The Making of a Crisis
Chapter 2 The Electric City and Public Power: Promise, Peril, and Peterson
Chapter 3 Liberalizing Electricity: Chile, Britain, and Ontario
Chapter 4 The NDP Years: Clearing the Tracks for Privatization?
Chapter 5 South of the Border: California, Enron, and the Yankee Alternative
Chapter 6 All Aboard the Privatization Express: The Harris Tories
Chapter 7 Danger Ahead: The Wheels Fall Off
Chapter 8 Morbid Symptoms and a Regime Change
Appendix A Chronology of Ontario Hydro History 1906-2003