Liberals cannot hide behind Ford’s climate incompetence

QUEEN’S PARK — The Liberals’ sunny climate change report released today disguises some major problems, even as the climate change clock is ticking. Sure, Doug Ford would be a disaster for the climate and Ontario’s opportunity to create low-carbon 21st century jobs, but that doesn’t mean Ontarians should give Kathleen Wynne a free ride.

“No one in Queen’s Park is holding this government accountable on a weak climate plan that starts and ends with an ineffective cap-and-trade system. The Conservatives have reverted to fear-mongering about carbon pricing, while the New Democrats don’t even think climate change is worth talking about,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner. “Only the Green Party seems to recognize that there is no Planet B.”

The Liberals have trotted out a basket of programs funded by cap-and-trade revenues. Yes, electric vehicle rebates and smart thermostats are important, but they won’t be enough to meet the province’s own targets. And if you look deeper, you’ll find endless government policies that contradict and undermine our greenhouse gas reduction goals.

“Liberals have to stop giving out free pollution permits to the 150 largest polluters if we have any hope of making carbon pricing work to reduce pollution,” said Schreiner. “The Liberals have no plans to phase out natural gas for home heating and continue to make infrastructure decisions that lock us into the burning of fossil fuels for decades to come. We must leap into the future now.”

Canadians are already paying the costs of extreme weather caused by climate change – $4.9 billion in insurable losses in 2016 alone. But for all their talk, the Liberals always seem to side with their friends in industry. The Green Party’s climate plan would end the loopholes for large emitters, ban fracking, and activate a new green workforce. Rather than selling off public assets and pouring billions into expensive and dangerous nuclear power, we would bring our energy system into the 21st century with smart ideas that protect the environment, save money, and create jobs.

“We need strong voices to take the Liberals to task when they choose polluters over people. The Green Party has a real climate action plan that does not tinker on the margins or have the fingerprints of industry all over it,” said Schreiner.


PC leadership not ready for prime time

QUEEN’S PARK — The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leadership fiasco is a stark reminder of the sad state of politics at Queen’s Park.

“Ontario doesn’t want a Trump style government that denies the climate crisis and fails to grasp the challenges of the 21st century,” said Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner. “People are also tired of Liberal scandals. It is time for a new way of doing politics that puts people first. Greens across Canada are delivering real change, and we are ready to deliver real change for Ontario.”

The election of Doug Ford as PC leader is a sad reminder of how far we still have to go find honest solutions to the climate crisis and rising levels of inequality. This is not a time for, as defeated candidate Caroline Mulroney mentioned, policy on the back of a napkin.

“The entire PC leadership fiasco has shown Ontario that this version of the PC party is not ready for prime time. We need honest solutions that work for people, not anger and divisiveness,” said Schreiner.

“The united front that all PC candidates showed against market solutions to the climate crisis is a sure sign that the party is not ready to govern and is clearly out of touch with the majority of Ontarians. Ford’s rhetoric about carbon pricing being a job-killer is false and dishonest politicking,” added Schreiner.

The Green Party does politics differently. Mike Schreiner is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and policies that put people first to Queens Park. It’s sorely needed now more than ever.

Hydro One sale will cost Ontario billions

Queen’s Park — Mike Schreiner, GPO leader, made the following statement regarding today’s report from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario:

“The Liberals have been conned into selling an asset that paid Ontario dividends each and every year,” says Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Ontario Green Party.

According to the Financial Accountability Officer of Ontario, the partial sale of Hydro One will cost the Ontario government 1.8 billion dollars in cash flow over time.

“It would have been cheaper and more responsible to be honest about paying for transit, rather than selling off a public asset,” adds Schreiner. “Instead we are facing a staggering loss of revenue. Liberal hydro policies are about short-term gain, but it is long-term pain for the people of Ontario.”

The sell-off of Hydro One was a Liberal mistake that we will all pay for in the end.

“The people of Ontario built Hydro One over decades into the wealthy transmission and distribution utility it is now, a huge public asset,” according to Schreiner.

“Hydro One used to be a foundational utility supporting the economy of Ontario–paying a dividend each year to fund public services that benefit people,” says Schreiner. “The Liberals have squandered those benefits and lost control of our electricity system.”

To compound the problem, the new privatized Hydro One bought U.S. Avista last year, which has a stake in coal: the dirtiest power generator available.

The big-three-status-quo parties continue to be dishonest about where we get our power from and how we really pay for it. The purchase of Avista last year undermines the Liberals’ stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

“Like the PC’s before them, the Liberals have once again put short-term political gain before good policy that works for people,” says Schreiner. “Investments in infrastructure are critical to our province, but we shouldn’t fund today’s projects with an expensive political shell game that will cost us billions more in the future.”

More needed to help small business grow and create jobs

TORONTO – Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner says the Liberal government’s corporate tax cut isn’t enough to help small businesses cope with the rapidly rising cost of paying workers a living wage, and will do nothing to help them grow and create jobs.

“Cutting the corporate tax rate helps businesses maximize their profits, even if they do that by cutting jobs,” said Schreiner. “It’s obvious that neither Finance Minister Charles Sousa nor Premier Kathleen Wynne have ever operated a small business or a non-profit given their approach on this issue.”

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 non-profits to lower their labour costs. They wouldn’t have to fill out paperwork to apply or wait until they file their taxes. The GPO plan would not create a disincentive for small businesses to grow. It would create an incentive for them to create more jobs that pay better.

“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 GPO supports the planned increases in the minimum wage, but would also like to see increases in social assistance rates to help the most vulnerable in Ontario.

“Both policies would inject more money into local economies, benefitting local businesses and communities,” 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.”

Lest we forget.

Today, we honour those who have served our nation and selflessly defended our democracy. We owe it those who have served to never forget.

Remembrance day is a time for reflection. We are eternally grateful to our veterans and their families who have endured pain and loss in the name of our country.

We cannot forget the cost of war. We must strive to be better. Veterans have put themselves in harm’s way to protect us, and we owe them our respect, support, and commitment to strive for peace.

And when those veterans return home, we owe it to them to provide the care and support they need.

We must do our part and commit ourselves to strive for a more respectful, fair, democratic and peaceful world.

Real People, Real Solutions – Peter Ormond, Eco5

In this episode, Mike talks to Peter Ormond, a community leader in terms of helping people save energy about how they can make small changes in their own homes and businesses to really engage in the Green economy, enabling them to save money while saving the planet at the same time.

About Eco5 and Peter Ormond
eco5 is the acronym for Environmentally Conscious Organization, and the “5” represents the 5 R’s of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink and Revitalize.

Peter has engineering degrees and an MBA that helps him recognize the glaring disconnect between our formal educational / theoretical world and the practical solutions that will benefit the Earth. He has run in several elections as a Green Party candidate and attended several United Nations Climate Change Conferences.

​Schreiner urges the Liberal government to offer real help to small businesses

Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner is urging the Liberal government to offer real help to small businesses in Tuesday’s fall economic statement by lowering payroll taxes on employees.

“The most efficient and effective way to help small businesses to create more jobs is to raise the exemption level for the Employer Health Tax, which has increased only slightly since the late 1990s,” said Schreiner.

“I call on the Ontario government to announce that it will raise the exemption level for the Employer Health Tax from $450,000 to $1,000,000 in payroll. This will allow locally-owned companies to double the number of jobs they create before paying taxes on those jobs, helping them grow their business.”

Businesses with payroll of less than $5 million would not be charged the EHT on the first $1,000,000 of payroll, helping them save up to $20,000 a year and injecting over $800 million into local economies.

The governing Liberals do little to help small businesses, preferring instead to hand out billions of dollars to huge corporations and to cut taxes for Bay Street instead of Main Street.

“The Liberals focus on big corporations and mostly ignore the real job creators — small businesses whose individual job numbers add up to millions of good jobs,” said Schreiner.

“As a former small business owner, I know this tax change will make a real difference for both mom-and-pop shops, as well as for start ups looking to grow their business.”

The Greens’ tax cut plan would also help small businesses adjust to a rapidly rising minimum wage.

“The GPO is the only party with a balanced plan to support small businesses and living wages for workers,” said Schreiner, who is also the Green Party candidate in Guelph in next June’s election.

Schreiner said the small business entrepreneurs who are essential to building diversified, resilient local economies that generate sustainable jobs and prosperity are not being properly supported by the Ontario government.

“There are two parties of big business and one party of no business at Queen’s Park,” he said. “Greens are the only party standing up for small business.”

The GPO is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and policies that work for people to Queen’s Park.

Real People, Real Solutions – Southbrook Vineyards

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.

As Canada’s first biodynamic winery, Southbrook Vineyards is a prime example that you can do the right thing and still be profitable. Their organic wines earn recognition, from critics and consumers alike, year after year. Their site is LEED® certified, with initiatives that ensure efficient use of water, reduced energy consumption, responsible use of materials and resources, as well as improved quality of the indoor environment. In this episode, Mike talks to Bill Redelmeier, proprietor of Southbrook Vineyards, and how going Green can drive success for your business.

About Southbrook Vineyards
Southbrook Vineyards is the epitome and evolution of Marilyn and Bill Redelmeier’s love story with wine, the land, and all things “local.” The winery is situated on a 150-acre vineyard in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula wine region of Ontario, Canada. They produce organic and biodynamic wines that earn recognition, from critics and consumers alike, year after year.

From their purchase of the Niagara-on-the-Lake vineyard in 2005, the Redelmeiers committed their energies to sustainable viticulture. By 2008, they had created the first wine estate in Canada to earn both organic and biodynamic certification for its vineyard and winery. Southbrook also takes a leadership role in the wine community by mentoring, educating and sharing in an effort to encourage a growing understanding of organic and biodynamic methods.

About Bill Redelmeier
A passionate entrepreneur and connoisseur of food and fine wine, Bill Redelmeier, together with his partner Marilyn, evolved Bill’s family business from a cattle farm on a 19th century property in Richmond Hill, through to a roadside vegetable stand in the 1980s, to a thriving garden market, and now an award-winning winery.

Bill and Marilyn have pursued certifications for both the vineyard and the winery – including LEED, biodynamic and organic certification – clearly demonstrating leadership and commitment to environmental concerns, quality winemaking, and outstanding customer experience.

​Reducing waste from single-use coffee pods a good initiative

Matt Richter, GPO candidate in Parry Sound Muskoka, made the following statement on MPP Norm Miller’s Bill 173 An Act respecting the sale of single-use beverage pods: 

“Thank you to Norm Miller for taking the initiative with Bill 173 to support fully compostable single-use coffee pods.

Keeping the millions of pods used annually out of garbage dumps helps the environment and our economy.

Ontario entrepreneurs already have the creativity to come up with various compostable options. Passing Bill 173 will help support this creativity, promoting a sustainable business model and reducing trash that affects the bottom line of every municipality.

The Green Party has long called for a zero waste strategy, involving businesses and consumers in creating a system for sustainable waste management.

Thanks to MPP Miller for taking this step in addressing a growing waste problem. We just wish it had a faster implementation than four years – we support taking urgent action.

I urge the other parties at Queen’s Park to support MPP Miller’s initiative.”