Schreiner responds to Fall Economic Statement

QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to the government’s Fall Economic Statement:

“The government refuses to be honest with Ontarians about the state of our finances.

Despite what the government says, the $1.3 billion in spending is simply a reversal of cuts in the last budget, not new money for health care, education and social services.

We need an honest conversation, not magic math or storytelling.

But my biggest disappointment in this update is that it completely ignores the fastest growing sector of the global economy – the $26 trillion clean economy.

The government is either blind to the low-carbon future or it wants to cut Ontario off from it.

An economic plan from the 1970s doesn’t do us much good in 2020 when the climate crisis is bearing down on us.

We cannot be competitive in the 21st century clean economy with an auto strategy that is silent on electric vehicles or a jobs plan that makes no mention of cleantech innovation, advanced manufacturing, and low-carbon technologies.

Worse yet, young people entering the workforce will bear a greater debt burden after the $671 million in cuts to financial assistance.

This financial update also sends the wrong message to farmers and people in need of housing.

For the 170,000 households on a waitlist for social and affordable housing, the $368 million cut to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is a slap in the face.

For farmers, the $187 million cut to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs leaves them with less support to deal with the challenges they face.”

Cutting 10,000 teachers will fail Ontario’s children

Guelph, ON – Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, released the following statement in response to the FAO’s report “Expenditure Estimates 2019-20 : Ministry of Education:

“Cutting 10,000 teachers from our education system is a mistake that fails our children.

The education system is under stress right now. Ford’s cuts will push public education over the edge.

Many students can’t access the courses they need now. Students with special needs aren’t getting the support they need.

Taking 10,000 teachers out of the classroom will only make these challenges worse. It seems like the government is trying to sabotage public education.

Our children deserve better.

Premier Ford should take the new math test for teachers because his math on class sizes does not compute.

First Doug Ford created a fake debt crisis. Then he said we’ll have to cut, cut, cut. Our children will pay the price for Ford’s political games.

Although the Premier campaigned as if he would simply trim the fat, his cuts are digging into the bone. This is a direct threat to the quality of education in Ontario.”

Schreiner responds to potential job actions in education

Guelph, ON – Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, released the following statement in response to CUPE’s announcement that they would be considering job action:

“I support teachers and education support staff, who are standing up for kids and for high quality education.

We know that cuts hurt kids. And I respect the right of teachers and education support staff to collective bargaining and labour action in order to defend quality education.

We have already seen how Premier Ford’s education cuts are having a negative effect on students.

I’ve talked to students who can’t get into classes they need. I’ve met with teachers and students who are experiencing elevated levels of violence in the classroom and a lack of support services for children with special needs.

Although the Premier campaigned as if he would simply trim the fat, his cuts are digging into the bone, which is a direct threat to the quality of education in Ontario.

Changing the tone does not change the policy of increased class sizes and cuts to education. Premier Ford and Minister Lecce need a new approach that puts our kids first.”

Schreiner urges government to invest in rural broadband

VERNER, ON — Green Party of Ontario Leader and MPP for Guelph, Mike Schreiner, issued the following statement on the day of the 2019 International Plowing Match:

“I’m so glad to join farmers, organizers and all the visitors at the 2019 International Plowing Match, to celebrate and promote our incredible Ontario food and farmers.

Across Ontario, the food and farming sector contributes almost $40 billion to Ontario’s GDP and employs more than 807,000 people.

That’s why we need to protect farmland and invest in rural infrastructure, treating reliable and affordable rural broadband as an essential service.

If you’re a business owner or farmer, it’s a requirement for doing business.

The government earlier this summer announced money for investments in rural broadband infrastructure; but the money amounts to a cut from the previous government’s pledge.
 the government to get this investment right, and commit the money needed to ensure broadband internet is available as an essential service for everyone in Ontario.”

Schreiner supports transparency in public appointments process

Orangeville, ON — Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, released the following statement in response to former OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair’s request for a public inquiry:

“I support the call for a public inquiry into the public appointments process.

Brad Blair’s abrupt dismissal earlier this year was deeply concerning. Even the appearance of improper interference by the Premier’s office in firing a whistleblower undermines public trust.

And we know that the existing appointment process is flawed beyond just this one instance.

The Ford government has only committed to reviewing the appointments process internally, behind closed doors, away from the public eye.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. A public inquiry would shed light on what happened, and enable the government to move forward with changes to improve the appointments system to ensure fairness and accountability.”

Schreiner responds to updated deficit numbers

Orangeville, ON — Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, released the following statement in response to updated deficit numbers released today:

“The Premier has overstated the deficit over the last year in order to pursue an ideological agenda of government cuts.

Municipalities, children with autism, school programs, the arts, and community groups are all feeling the sting of Ford’s cuts, even while the government delivered tax breaks to the wealthy last year.

Ontario needs a balanced fiscal plan. I call on the Ford government to stop with the partisan spin and have an honest conversation about a sustainable approach to investing in public services.”

Schreiner responds to Ford’s Supreme Court appeal

QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to the provincial government’s carbon tax appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada:

“I, like many Ontarians, am frustrated that the Premier continues to waste our tax dollars on his politically motivated legal challenge to undermine climate solutions.

We are facing a climate crisis that is costing us more each day.

Instead of working on solutions, the Premier continues to use our children’s future as a political wedge issue to attack the federal government. This is wrong and reckless.

I urge the Premier to put his time and our money towards delivering climate solutions, not wasting his time fighting a hopeless legal battle.

Our children and grandchildren deserve a Premier that is focused on embracing the clean and caring economy, so they have a livable planet and prosperous future.”

Ford government continues to politicize math scores

QUEEN’S PARK — Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, released the following statement after recent PC government announcements about math scores:

“The Ford government is creating alarm over math to distract from the harm they are doing in other areas of education.

After upending the sex-ed curriculum and flip-flopping on classroom sizes after courses had already been cancelled, they are clearly using math scores as a distraction tactic.

This politicization of math was on full display yesterday when the Minister made a sensational statement implying that all students are failing at basic math.

This hyperbole doesn’t help.

If the Conservatives were truly concerned about giving students the fundamentals, they would not have replaced in-class instruction with online learning or threatened to raise class sizes.

Further, we should not be scapegoating teachers with a new entry exam that experts say will have no impact on student math scores.

The idea that a kindergarten teacher should excel at calculus is absurd, and I am worried about highly qualified teachers in non-math disciplines being lost from the system.”

Schreiner responds to Ford’s comments on carbon tax lawsuit

QUEEN’S PARK — Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, released the following statement after the Premier suggested he might walk back his carbon tax lawsuit:

“This lawsuit was political theatre from the get-go, with the vast majority of legal experts predicting it to fail.

But what’s really causing the Premier to consider backing down is people’s overwhelming desire for climate leadership.

No one wants a Premier who will waste tax dollars sabotaging solutions when the local and global impacts of climate change are becoming more and more dire.

Putting himself on the side of polluters and climate denial was a losing strategy from the outset and I’m not surprised the Premier is already eyeing up an exit plan.”

Schreiner responds to wage cap for public sector workers

QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act:

“This surprise announcement calls into question the legitimacy of negotiations between the government and public sector unions.

The government is trying to change the channel on their budget cuts and beer debacle by attacking labour and bargaining rights. This is completely unfair and disrespects the relationship with workers.

No matter the fiscal challenges our province faces, revoking workers’ collective bargaining rights cannot be taken lightly and will certainly create more chaos in the public sector.

But since taking power, Ford has repeatedly taken aim at public services, whether he is disparaging public health inspectors or vilifying teachers.

I am particularly worried that a blanket cap on wage increases will hurt vulnerable workers the most, those who make low and modest incomes.

And by including provisions in the bill that would shield the government from charter and human rights challenges, it seems like the government is in fact admitting that its actions cross a line.

The government is setting the stage for instability that Ontario doesn’t need.”