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Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario and MPP for Guelph, is the first Green MPP elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2018.

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Schreiner calls for federal government action to stop Ford’s new gas plants

January 25, 2023

"I’m calling on the federal government to fill Ontario’s leadership vacuum with decisive action to block a giant step backwards."

GUELPH — Ontario Greens leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner is calling on the federal government to stop construction of gas-fired power plants in Ontario.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Schreiner calls on the federal government to move immediately to establish federal clean electricity regulations that ban new gas plants and require Ontario to move to a net-zero carbon electricity grid by 2030.

“Doug Ford has badly mismanaged the province’s electricity supply,” Schreiner said today.  “Recklessly cancelling hundreds of renewable energy contracts and successful energy efficiency programs has undermined climate solutions and cost Ontarians millions.

“Now we are facing an energy crunch and Ford’s solution is to ramp up expensive, polluting fossil gas plants.”

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Schreiner said that emissions from the proposed new gas plants will cancel out half of the emissions reductions achieved by phasing out the province’s dirty coal-fired power plants and threaten Canada’s ability to meet its Paris climate targets.

“Doug Ford has demonstrated time and again that he will obstruct, oppose and delay any meaningful action to address the climate crisis,” said Schreiner.

“I’m calling on the federal government to fill Ontario’s leadership vacuum with decisive action to block a giant step backwards to fossil gas generation.

“Low-cost renewable energy projects and ambitious efficiency programs will drive progress on climate and help people and businesses save money by saving energy.

“A clean grid will attract new industries, create tens of thousands of new jobs and give Ontario a strong foothold in the booming climate economy.”

Text of Letter Attached Below

The Rt Hon Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa K1A 0A6
via Email: Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca

January 25, 2023

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

Your March 22, 2022 Supply and Confidence Agreement with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pledged to “achieve significant emissions reductions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.” Canadians view this pact as proof of your commitment to climate action and they trust you and Mr. Singh to deliver on this promise.

However, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced plans that threaten your ability to follow through on your agreement. Premier Ford’s government has announced that it will build new gas-fired power plants while increasing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the province’s existing gas plants by 375 per cent by 2030 and more than 600 per cent by 2040.

This new plan threatens Canada’s ability to meet its Paris Agreement climate targets. It will cancel out half the pollution reduction benefits Ontario achieved by phasing out its dirty coal-fired power plants. And it imperils the ability of you and Mr. Singh to deliver on the commitment you made to Canadians.

Fortunately, Ontario has realistic, achievable alternatives to the Ford Government’s ill-advised initiatives. Ontario can have a clean electricity future and lower energy costs by 2030 by investing in energy conservation and efficiency, wind and solar energy, and by increasing its electricity cooperation with Quebec, including using its neighbour’s reservoirs as giant storage batteries for Ontario’s wind and solar energy.

According to a report released by Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator last September, Ontario can avoid the need for new gas plants and lower its electricity costs by up to $290 billion by investing in zero-carbon options to keep our lights on, including solar power, energy storage and smart efficiency programs. 

Ontario is well positioned to lead the way to a net zero electricity system. This will help grow the provincial economy by attracting businesses looking for clean energy. It will also create vast new economic opportunities in renewable energy development, district energy, load control technologies, cold climate air-source heat pumps, and bi-directional chargers allowing electric vehicles’ batteries to put power back into the grid during peak demand periods.

Now is the time to act.

I urge you to please establish federal Clean Electricity Regulations that will:

  • prohibit the building of new gas plants in Ontario effective immediately; and
  • require Ontario to move to a net zero-carbon electricity grid by 2030.

With strong leadership and continued climate action from your government, we can create a cleaner, safer, and more prosperous future for Canadians and the world. I am open to and welcome the opportunity to work with the federal government to ensure we meet our climate obligations. 

Yours sincerely,

Mike Schreiner Leader, Green Party of Ontario MPP, Guelph