New Year, new brand of politics needed at Queen’s Park

QUEEN’S PARK – The 2017 fall sitting of the Ontario legislature confirms what Ontario voters already know: Ontario cannot afford another four years of majority Liberal government.

 

“It’s time to shake up the status quo at Queen’s Park,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner. “The Liberal electricity plan—now supported by the Conservatives— to buy votes by lowering electricity rates a year before the election will cost nearly $40 billion. People cannot afford these cynical political games and the higher prices they will pay after the election.”

 

Ontario’s independent legislative watch-dogs – the Auditor General and the Financial Accountability Officer – both dispute the Liberals’ claims to have finally balanced the books. They say there will be years of deficits. The FAO also reports Ontario’s debt will rise $75 billion in four years to a staggering $400 billion, mainly to pay for the temporary hydro rate cut.

 

“The Liberals decided on the most expensive temporary electricity rate cut in history,” said Schreiner.  “Instead of cancelling plans to spend over $13 billion to squeeze more life out of old nuclear plants and triple electricity prices, the Liberals have bought an expensive band aid to get through next year’s provincial election.”

 

“We will pay the price for these political games,” said Schreiner. “But there is a better way. At the Green Party, we are committed to standing up for people and presenting honest solutions to our energy challenges.”

 

Under Liberal management, things only got more wasteful and expensive this year:

 

  • The Auditor General also found the government spent a record $58 million on advertising in the year ahead of the election – on self-serving ads, 30% of which she said were designed to make the government look good and that would have been rejected before the Liberals changed the rules.
  • Energy companies have gamed the system for hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • The province is not prepared for a large-scale nuclear emergency because the provincial nuclear response plan hasn’t been updated since 2009.
  • The newly-privatized Hydro One invested in a coal-fired generating station in the U.S. and wants to introduce pre-paid hydro meters.
  • There are more people on the waiting list for social housing than there are social housing units.
  • Endangered species are under threat from development with no oversight, because protections have been gutted under the Liberal watch.
  • And the Liberals decided an LCBO-run monopoly would be the only legal retailer of cannabis in Ontario, with only 40 stores initially and little hope of stopping the underground market.

 

“We need to transform politics in Ontario to put the needs of people, communities and local businesses before big donors and corporate insiders,” said Schreiner. “Ask yourself if the status quo is working for you? Ontario desperately needs better stewardship of our finances, environment and communities.”

Happy Hannukah!

Tonight at sunset, Jewish communities across the province will come together to celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah, the festival of lights.

Families will come together to light the first candle on the menorah, marking the victory of light over darkness, and of joy over despair.

For all those celebrating, may the light of the menorah brighten your home and warm your friends and loved ones’ hearts this holiday season.

Chag Chanukah Sameach

Real People, Real Solutions – Rowanwood Conserver Society Coop

Real People, Real Solutions is a series of interviews with people who are making a difference in communities across Ontario. Hosted by GPO leader Mike Schreiner.

In this episode, Mike talks to Gord Ball from Rowanwood Conserver Society Co-operative Inc., who is one of the early adopters of solar power in Ontario. In an effort to conserve energy, Gord was one of the pioneers who installed a solar microfit system, which has helped him save energy and make money with clean community power.

Lower labour costs for small businesses following minimum wage legislation

TORONTO – Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner says the Liberal government should follow today’s passage of legislation increasing the minimum wage by immediately lowering labour costs for small businesses.

The GPO plan to raise the exemption level for the Employer Health Tax from $450,000 to $1,000,000 in payroll would automatically and immediately benefit small businesses, and they wouldn’t have to fill out paperwork to apply or wait until they file their taxes.

“Payroll tax reductions help small businesses by immediately lowering labour costs, improving their monthly cash flow and creating incentives to create jobs,” said Schreiner. “Lower labour costs help businesses create more jobs and better paying jobs.

The Liberals’ corporate tax cut isn’t enough to help small businesses cope with the hike in the minimum wage, but it helps them maximize their profits, even if they do that by cutting jobs, warned Schreiner.

The Green Party is the only real voice for small businesses in Ontario.

“It’s clear there are two parties of big business and one party of no business at Queen’s Park,” said Schreiner. “Only the Green Party has a balanced plan that supports a living wage for workers and gives their employers immediate help to offset the cost of the increased minimum wage.”

The GPO supports the legislated increases in the minimum wage, to $14 an hour Jan. 1, 2018 and $15 in 2019, but would also like to see increases in social assistance rates to help Ontario’s most vulnerable residents.

“Both policies would inject more money into local economies, benefitting local businesses,” said Schreiner. “We are the only party advocating for a balanced approach, supporting a decent living wage for workers and lower payroll taxes for their employers.”

The Green Party of Ontario is made up of real people who simply want to make the world a better place.

Sign our petition to support lowering payroll taxes for small businesses here.