Province needs more investments in community and preventative health care

GPO leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner made the following statement regarding the report on ending hallway health care:

“Today’s report on hallway medicine confirms that we will need innovative solutions to ensure quality health care continues in Ontario. The number of people being cared for in hallways is unacceptable.

It’s clear that investments in community-based solutions and preventative health care – two solutions the Green Party has pushed for years – are needed to address the root causes of hospital overcrowding.

As this report confirms, we need to make sure that health care options, particularly for mental health and long term care, are available in the community outside of hospitals to free beds for acute care. This includes primary health care reform with more community health centres, nurse practitioner-led clinics, and family health teams.

Better community-based care, not cuts, is the solution to hallway healthcare.

As the government approaches their first budget this spring, I urge them to offer more than band-aid solutions. Ontario needs investments in the long-term solutions that will alleviate the strain on our hospitals. Decades of ignoring the root causes of hospital overcrowding have left us in a constant game of catch-up.

Neither funding cuts or just throwing money at the crisis will offer the solutions we need. Smart investments in integrated care with better mental health services, senior care, and community health care is needed to improve quality and efficiency.”

Premier must restore funding for health care

GPO leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner made the following statement regarding the Premier’s re-announcement of funding for construction at CAMH:

“The Premier’s re-announcement of money promised in 2017 for two new facilities for mental health will not address the mental health crisis we face.

I’m calling on the government to reverse cuts to mental health funding. The $3.8 billion over 10 years that the Premier promised is a yearly cut of $.145 billion from the 2018 Ontario budget. It is far less than the $4.1 billion over four years promised in the Green Party’s costed election platform.

People need access to mental health services now, not in 10 years.

The wait times for mental health services, especially for youth, are unacceptable. The Premier needs to announce an action plan to help the 12,000 young people on a mental health wait list, a wait that can last 18 months.

Instead of cutting taxes for the 1%, the Premier should prioritize investments in mental health services. He should recognize the urgency of the crisis and establish a Ministry for Mental Health and Addictions.

#BellLetsTalk day is a good reminder of how important it is to reduce the stigma around mental health.

Sadly, the Premier and his caucus are all talk and no action when it comes to delivering the mental health services people desperately need now.”

Increasing class sizes is not the path to finding balance

QUEEN’S PARK — Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to the Ontario government’s announcement of consultations on class sizes:

“On the first International Day of Education, we should be recognizing how proud we are of our education system, and how important it is to keep focused on the quality of education.

Yesterday’s announcement that the Ministry of Education was launching consultations on education that could lead to outcomes such as increased class sizes is worrisome.

Is the quality of our kids’ education next on the chopping block?

I urge the Minister of Education to listen to the feedback of parents, teachers, students, principals and unions for ways to improve education.

Ontario should invest in improving education, not focus on how to cut support for quality education as a path to balance. There are better ways to restore balance to Ontario’s finances.”

Public pressure forces the Ford government to backtrack on threats to the Greenbelt and water

QUEEN’S PARK — Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to Hon. Minister Steve Clark’s tweet that Schedule 10 will be removed from Bill 66:

“Thank you to the people of Ontario for standing up for the places we love.

Thank you to the many municipal councils who passed resolutions to protect the Greenbelt.

I will continue to work hard at Queen’s Park to protect the people and places we love in Ontario. And I will make sure Minister Clark follows through on his tweet.

Pressuring the government to backtrack on Schedule 10 of Bill 66 is a victory for citizen engagement.

People were clear during the election. And they have been clear since Bill 66 was introduced: the people of Ontario want to protect the Greenbelt and clean water.

I urge the government to listen to the people and strengthen protections for farmland, water and green space. I’m ready to work across party lines to make that happen.

Thank you to everyone who signed a petition, wrote a letter, or phoned their MPP. You made a difference in standing up for the people and places we love in Ontario.”

Premier Ford wrong to say carbon pricing will cause a recession

QUEEN’S PARK — Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to Premier Ford’s supposition that carbon pricing would cause a recession:

“The Premier must stop misleading people about climate action and pollution pricing.

It is simply not true that pricing pollution causes a recession.

Alberta and BC continue to lead the country in economic growth and both provinces have carbon pricing in place. In fact, many of the highest performing economies around the world have or are planning to put a price on pollution.

Although I was not a big fan of the Liberals’ cap and trade plan, Ontario had its lowest unemployment rate in 18 years with pollution pricing in place.

It’s dangerous and disappointing for the Premier to mislead the public about pollution pricing.

Climate change is already costing Ontario billions, and the costs will only go up if the Ford government continues to take us backwards.”

Cancelling renewable energy projects is bad for business

Mike Schreiner, GPO leader and Guelph MPP, made the following statement regarding the PC announcement cancelling 758 renewable energy contracts:

“Today’s announcement by the Ford government that they are cancelling renewable energy projects is bad for business.

Cancelling contracts puts a chill on any business wanting to invest and create jobs in Ontario.

During the election, Premier Ford promised to put up an open for business sign. Clearly the only sign out right now says – in big letters – that Ontario is closed for business when it comes to the $7 trillion clean tech economy.

Renewable energy is good for the climate and for our economy. In fact, 274,000 Canadians have clean tech jobs with an average salary of $92,000 per year. The PC government is killing these good jobs.

Premier Ford has already misled people on how his hydro actions will save money. He said that the severance of Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt would cost nothing. The next day we learned about his $400,000 retirement package and $9 million in stock options.

How much will cancelling these renewable energy contracts really cost the people of Ontario?

If the PC government was serious about saving people money, the Premier would save $1.1 billion a year by closing the Pickering nuclear station on time. Instead, the Premier is costing us billions by keeping it open past its best before date.

Premier Ford is choosing to side with the powerful nuclear lobby rather than fix what’s really wrong with our broken energy system.

This is not a good deal for Ontario.“

Throne Speech outlines costly political agenda

Queen’s Park – Doug Ford and his PC caucus campaigned on saving money. But their first Throne Speech outlines a political agenda that will cost citizens big time.

“This plan announces that Ontario is closed for business for those companies wanting to create jobs in the clean economy – missing out on a $7 trillion dollar global economic market,” said GPO leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner.

The PC decision to pull Ontario out of cap-and-trade with no alternative plan has created uncertainty for businesses and risk for the people of Ontario, who could be on the hook for paying back the $2.8 billion in now worthless permits purchased by Ontario companies. It could cost even more in legal challenges.

“The PC plan will kill jobs and hurt clean economy businesses. It also takes money out of the pockets of people trying to save money by saving energy,” added Schreiner.

This is a plan that moves Ontario backwards. For example, it will cost $1.1 billion per year to keep the outdated overpriced Pickering nuclear station open past its best before date.

“I want to work with Premier Ford on building Ontario up, but is hard when he declares war on the modern world,” said Schreiner. “This applies to their non-existent plans to deal with the climate crisis, and the Premier’s plan to risk our children’s safety by going back to the 1998 sex education curriculum. We can’t let the Premier’s political agenda trump our children’s safety.”

The Green Party supports providing our children with the information and tools they need to be safe in the modern world. Cyber-bullying, sexting, consent, LGBTQ+ rights – these are all important parts of the updated curriculum that are critical to the health and well being of our children.

Schreiner and the Green Party will work to push the government to fulfill its commitment to increase support for mental health and addiction services, autism and long-term care beds, and will make every effort to work across party lines to improve important public services.