TORONTO, ON — In his remarks at the AMO conference this morning, the leader of the Green Party of Ontario urged the government to dig into their pockets and respect municipalities by providing flexible and adequate funding:
“We need the Premier to be more than a negotiator and a cheerleader. He too must dig into provincial pockets to support municipalities.
I know budgets are tight, but we cannot cut our way to prosperity.
The bottom line is that the province has more fiscal capacity than municipalities do, and we have to use that fiscal capacity to open our communities and get our economy going again while preparing for a second wave”, said Schreiner.
Schreiner called on the government to restore funding formulas for public health and childcare; reverse cuts to ambulance services; cover 50% of operating costs of local transit and double the share of gas tax funding for municipalities.
The Leader also outlined his party’s priorities for a greener and more caring recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, including:
- making Ontario a global leader in electrified transportation;
- creating thousands of good-paying jobs helping people save money and making businesses more competitive by retrofitting our buildings to make them energy-efficient and accessible;
- supporting Ontario farmers and cleantech innovation by being a global leader in bioproducts;
- declaring broadband an essential service;
- investing in walking and cycling infrastructure;
- overhauling the way we care for elders beginning with a commitment to minimum standards of care and responsible staffing ratios in long-term care homes;
- investing in safe schools;
- investing in primary, home and community care;
- addressing homelessness, poverty and racism – the social determinants of health that drive up costs in health care, social services and justice;
- transitioning CERB to a permanent basic income;
- investments in mental health services, harm reduction and the removal of systemic barriers that harm Black, Indigenous and people of colour;
- support frontline workers with decent pay, job security and benefits;
- buying local by permanently protecting prime farmland and source water regions.
“I have two daughters, and I’ve often talked with them about how they will always remember the historic crisis they lived through.
They can be proud of the way we’ve come together to care for each other.
I want them to be proud of how we recovered from the crisis as well – of how we learned to listen to science and make the big changes we need to secure their future.”
In calling for a greener and more caring recovery, MPP Schreiner said, “We have a chance to chart a new path based on some of the lessons from this pandemic. The old path was not sustainable and this is our chance to pivot to building a better Ontario.”