Public interests must trump political games in spring session

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Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner is calling on the old parties to suspend politics as usual during the spring legislative session at Queen’s Park. 

“Ontario is facing difficult budget decisions, and it’s essential that we have political leadership that puts the public interest before vested political interests,” says Schreiner.  “The Green Party urges all parties to find ways to eliminate our deficit with long term solutions that promote high quality public services and job creation for us and future generations.”

The Green Party is looking for political leadership at Queen’s Park to adopt the following priorities:

Tackle the deficit

Ontario needs politicians with the courage to tackle vested interests and take a clear stand on recommendations submitted by the Drummond Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services. 

Efficiency and equity should guide deficit reduction. Before cutting essential programs, Ontario needs to eliminate needless duplication such as funding a separate religious school board. The Green Party also calls on the McGuinty government to form a public commission to reform and modernize Ontario’s tax system, and to cancel corporate tax cuts that Ontario can’t afford.

Reform health care to focus on healthy outcomes 

Ontario’s current system of treating sickness is costly and unsustainable. Health care reform must move Ontario from a sick care system focused on hospitals to a home and community care system focused on preventing illness. 

A focus on healthy outcomes will provide people the quality care they need at the lowest cost to the public purse. This starts with a funding formula that pays doctors for promoting health, not for the quantity of services they provide.  And we must empower all health professionals to operate at their full scope of practice. This will help keep people out of hospital, provide a better quality of care, and save money.  

Finally deliver on an efficient, affordable energy plan

The government must deliver the long overdue Integrated Power System Plan to efficiently meet Ontario’s long-term energy needs. The priority must be lower cost options–energy efficiency, hydro imports, combined heat and power– before committing billions to expensive new nuclear plants. 

This starts with removing barriers to conservation programs and reinstating the home energy savings program that creates jobs and helps people save money by saving energy.  

Conclusion

“It’s time for politicians to stop punting problems to our kids,” says Schreiner.  “We need to tackle the tough long-term challenges now.  The public deserves honest answers on where parties stand on the recommendations in the Drummond Report.”

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