Disability advocacy group ranks Greens highest on accessibility commitments

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TORONTO, ON — The Green Party of Ontario has been ranked highest among all major parties in its commitments to make Ontario fully accessible by 2025.

“The Green Party gives the broadest commitments on the AODA. It is the only party that states that it supports all the specific commitments that we seek,” said the disability advocacy group AODA Alliance in its press release today.

Mike Schreiner was also the only party leader to take part in this evening’s debate on a wide range of disability issues. Schreiner outlined the party’s plan for building a fully inclusive and barrier free Ontario, underpinned by an historic Basic Income Guarantee for all that will truly tackle poverty.

“Let’s cut the red tape for persons with disabilities. A Basic Income Guarantee means an end to the unnecessary paperwork that disrespects people’s dignity,” said Schreiner.

The party’s plan would raise the assistance levels for those in the Ontario Disability Support Program to the low-income cut-off measure within four years.

At the debate, Schreiner also called out the Liberals for housing rules that do little to tackle the crisis that particularly affects marginalized populations.

“Why did the Liberals bring in inclusionary zoning rules if they were going to be so weak? We need to follow international best practice and enforce a minimum of 20% affordable housing units,” said Schreiner.

Despite creating the landmark AODA legislation in 2005, the Liberals are not on track to meet their own goals. Shockingly, they also continue to invest in public infrastructure that excludes people with disabilities.

“Transit stations are being built that still not accessible. How can this happen in 2018, knowing everything that we do and with the AODA rules in place? It is completely unacceptable,” said Schreiner.

Greens are the only party with a real plan for tackling poverty, increasing affordable housing, and bringing additional resources to Ontarians with disabilities, while being honest with people about how we are going to pay for it. See the fully costed platform at www.gpo.ca/platform

Greens would impose hard cap on CEO salaries

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QUEEN’S PARK — The revelation that Hydro One board members voted to raise their salaries amidst a downturn in share price illustrates the extent of Liberal mismanagement on hydro.

“This is a by-product of Kathleen Wynne’s privatization boondoggle. By selling off Hydro One, the Liberals have not only given away an important public asset, they have allowed the worst impulses of the private sector to contaminate what should be a public good,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner.

“Greens would cap executive salaries for those in the Ontario Public Service at double the Premier’s salary,” added Schreiner. “People putting their expertise in service of Ontarians should be compensated fairly, but we absolutely need a firm cap to prevent outrageous raises like this.”

Wynne’s argument that privatization was needed in order to fund transit is another band-aid solution from a government that has made a habit out of using shoddy accounting and cheap ploys to woo voters.

“The sale of Hydro One was the height of short-term thinking from the Liberals – slow the bleeding today by creating deeper wounds tomorrow,” said Schreiner. “Their unFair Hydro Plan will do the same in the near future.”

Meanwhile, Doug Ford can sloganeer, hold rallies and pretend to be a champion for the people, but the little we know about his vision for Ontario makes clear his true colours.

“A totally unnecessary tax cut for the wealthiest corporations and a shady backroom deal to open up the Greenbelt for profit-hungry developers – these are not the actions of a politician acting for the people,” said Mike Schreiner.

Greens won’t mortgage the future to fund essential social services or transit projects. We are the only party putting forward honest revenue generating solutions such as road pricing and a fair public return on our natural resources.

“Amidst all of the mud-slinging and name-calling from the status quo parties, the Greens are showing Ontarians how we can do politics differently with a hard cap on CEO salaries and real solutions to raise money for better services for people,” said Schreiner.

Schreiner announces game-changing plan for building world-class transit

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MISSISSAUGA, ON — At the Streetsville GO Station in Mississauga this afternoon, Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner outlined what no other party leader has had the courage to: an honest and sensible plan for funding world-class transit in Ontario.

“Greens do politics differently, and this is what we mean – being honest about paying for the infrastructure we need. Other parties promise the moon to Ontarians without telling them how they are going to pay for it. Greens know that magic money and fairy dust will not fund two-way all-day GO service. We will build the clean, affordable transit system that all Ontarians want and we won’t do it by maxing out our credit card,” said Schreiner, alongside Mississauga-Streetsville candidate, Abhijeet Manay.

The Green Party will invest $35 billion over 4 years in transit infrastructure, an increase of $1 to $1.5 billion per year over projections in the 2018 budget, and will fund 50% of the operating costs of municipal transit systems. A commitment to funding the Hurontario LRT is an essential part of the GPO plan.

To pay for this record investment in transit, Schreiner will follow the lead of other forward-looking metropolitan cities that have instituted road pricing – through tolls, congestion charges, parking levies and land value taxes in Toronto.

“I’m going to do what the economists, the business leaders and the experts all say we need to do. I have the courage of my convictions on this. While the other parties talk a good game about transit, I’m the only one backing it up with a real plan for getting Ontario moving,” added Schreiner.

The party’s commitment to sustainably funded and publicly owned mass transit earned it top grades on the TTCRiders’ report card a few weeks ago, ahead of the status-quo parties.

“It’s time we get serious about investing in liveable communities. The twenty-first century will not be dominated by car culture and the Green Party is ready to rapidly build an electrified transit system that will meet our climate targets and efficiently move people and goods across this province,” said Schreiner.

Learn more at gpo.ca/our-platform.

Greens put people ahead of speculators with bold housing plan

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ETOBICOKE, ON — After 15 years of Liberal inaction while housing prices skyrocket and rental units disappear, the Green Party of Ontario announced today a bold new housing plan that would put the needs of seniors, millennials and families first.

“The dream of owning a home is getting further and further out of reach for many people in the GTHA and across the province. It’s time for transparent rules to ensure that everyone can afford to put a roof over their head. It starts with requiring that all new developments – whether they be condos, townhouses, apartments or subdivisions – have a minimum of 20% affordable housing units,” said Mike Schreiner at the announcement in the riding of Etobicoke North, alongside GPO candidate Nancy Ghuman.

When people’s incomes are locked into big mortgage payments or high rents, communities, families and economies suffer. Greens would mandate that one in every five new builds be set below market pricing as a first step to protecting people’s ability to have an affordable place to call home.

“The housing crisis is tearing at the fabric of our communities and creating stress for young families and seniors. We do not need to pave over the Greenbelt to solve this problem. We need to demand more from developers, focus on density over sprawl, and be more innovative in using existing buildings and development lands,” added Schreiner.

Greens would work with municipalities to reform planning rules to support innovative solutions such as “tiny homes,” laneway housing, co-housing and secondary suites, all of which are eagerly supported by young people looking to rent or buy their first home.

“The Liberals have failed to put people first on this issue. When given the chance to introduce new inclusionary zoning regulations, they put the wishes of their developer friends over the urgent housing needs of Ontarians,” added Schreiner.

Greens also want to ensure that no one is forced to sleep on the street. The party will invest an additional $200 million over projected increases in the 2018 budget in funding for shelters, social, co-op and supportive housing.

“Everyone knows we have the most progressive environmental platform. But people are starting to realize that when it comes to tackling poverty and inequality, Greens are ready to take the bold steps that the status quo parties avoid,” said Schreiner.

Read the full platform here: gpo.ca/our-platform

Tim Grant to represent Green Party of Ontario in Provincial Transportation Debate

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TORONTO, ON — University-Rosedale candidate, Tim Grant, will participate in a provincial transportation debate today, hosted by TVO in partnership with Transport Futures, and moderated by Steve Paikin of the Agenda.

“I am very pleased to have Tim Grant sharing the Green Party’s vision for a clean and affordable transportation system. We have bold, yet sensible Green solutions that will propel Ontario forward and end the gridlock that is costing our province $11.5 billion annually in lost productivity,” said Green Party leader, Mike Schreiner.

The debate takes place on the same day the Green Party unveils an election platform that includes key announcements on transportation.

“What differentiates Greens from the status quo parties is a willingness to be honest with Ontarians about how to pay for the world-class transit that we all want,” added Schreiner.

Tim Grant is the Green Party’s Transportation Critic and a long-time champion of clean, affordable, and accessible transit in Toronto. In addition to his advocacy on transit issues, Tim has served as the chair of the Harbord Village Residents’ Association for seven years, has been a leader in promoting green retrofits in condos and co-op housing, and has published the Green Teacher magazine for 25 years.

The debate will be livestreamed on TVO’s Twitter feed from 2-4pm and then re-broadcast on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on May 15. More information can be found at http://www.transportfutures.ca/debate

Green Party unveils historic platform to propel Ontario into the future

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QUEEN’S PARK — Today at Queen’s Park, Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner released his party’s People Powered Change platform for a forward-looking Ontario. The platform includes nine fully costed commitments and a vision for Ontario that will make for a cleaner, healthier and more equitable way forward.

“The status quo parties are putting window-dressing on old ideas that have failed to address the challenges we face. Today I am proud to put forward real and practical solutions to create jobs that protect the people and places we love,” said Schreiner.

The signature piece of the party’s platform is a plan to embrace the twenty-first century clean economy by supporting jobs in cleantech, advanced manufacturing, and a $4.18 billion Green Building and Business Program. Schreiner also announced the Greens will push Ontario to join the global movement to commit to a 100% renewable energy supply by 2050.

“We need to skate to where the puck is going, and not where it’s been. The other parties are clinging to an old economy, but we see a better way forward – one where we tackle climate change, lower energy costs and spark a whole new generation of clean, well-paying jobs that will serve our children well into the future,” added Schreiner.

Instead of pouring billions of dollars down the nuclear drain, the party is proposing to cancel the unFair Hydro Plan and save money by purchasing low cost water power from our neighbours in Quebec and Manitoba. But the Greens’ platform is about people as much as it is about planet, with visionary ideas that the other parties simply ignore.

“We will address the housing crisis by mandating that 20% of units in new housing builds be affordable. We will cut the red tape for people in poverty by implementing a  Basic Income Guarantee. We will transform our healthcare system to be one that focuses as much on preventing illness as it does on treating it with a historic investment in mental health care,” said Schreiner.

Accompanying Schreiner at the launch was Robert Kiley, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Ontario, and Green Party of New Brunswick MLA, David Coon, one of the first Greens to be elected to a provincial legislature,

“David is proof that we can do politics differently when people vote for what they believe in. I really believe Ontario is on the cusp of joining New Brunswick, PEI, and BC in electing Greens into office,” said Schreiner.

The Green Party is running a full slate of candidates in this election, with a record high 52% women candidates running for the party in 2018.

Read the platform at gpo.ca/our-platform.

Greens launch campaign to leap into the future

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QUEEN’S PARK — Today the Green Party of Ontario officially launched its 2018 election campaign, pledging to shake up the status quo with solutions that put people and planet first.

“Momentum is shifting. We have the wind at our backs from PEI to British Columbia and elected Greens are doing politics differently. On June 7th the Green wave will come to Ontario,” said Green Party leader Mike Schreiner.

Greens are promising to do politics differently, rejecting the self-serving political games, accounting gimmicks and empty promises that have come to define the status quo parties.

“We need to move to where the puck is going, not where it’s been. The other parties live in a fantasy land where dealing with climate change isn’t a priority, our kids’ futures are mortgaged, and power can be bought with last-minute promises and faulty accounting,” said Schreiner.

Greens are ready to leap into the future now by investing in the new economy and stimulating jobs in cleantech, advanced manufacturing and green retrofits that make sense for our local economies and our environment.

“It’s time to build a bridge to the future that we can walk across with confidence, compassion and care for our planet, knowing that we have done right for our children,” said Schreiner.

The Green Party will run a candidate in every riding, with gender parity in the slate. The party will release a costed platform next week, announcing priorities on key issues like affordable housing, clean energy and community health care.

“People are taking notice of our bold vision. They are realizing they no longer need to settle for politics-as-usual and they are demanding that we put people first. On June 7, we can vote for what we believe in and make history by electing the first Green MPPs to Queen’s Park,” said Schreiner.

Statement on National Nursing Week 2018

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QUEEN’S PARK — Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, released the following statement in recognition of National Nursing Week, May 7-13:

“Nurses are indispensable in our healthcare system, contributing so much everyday – caring for us, and looking after our loved ones when they’re most vulnerable.

When I reflect on this year’s theme of #YesThisIsNursing, I think about the expanded role of nurses in society, as demographics shift, digital technology advances by leaps and bounds, and issues such as nutrition and mental health become better understood.

We know that nurses are unduly affected by the problems of our healthcare system  – work conditions strained by long wait times and overcrowding in hospitals. We need more Registered Nurses providing care. That’s why our party supports the Ontario Nurses’ Association call to fill the urgently needed 10,000 nursing vacancies in Ontario’s hospitals.

Our vision for a healthcare system is one that doesn’t just treat sickness, but prevents illness. Nurses play a critical role in health promotion, providing integrated primary care services, community care centres and underserved rural areas. The nature of nursing continues to evolve, and the Green Party of Ontario pledges its full support to nurses in the indispensable work that they do.”

On Mental Health Week, Green Party Leader calls for greater coverage under OHIP+

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QUEEN’S PARK — As the new campaign from The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health says, “mental health is health”. And must get serious about funding it this way. The Green Party is calling for mental health services to be covered under OHIP+, so that everyone has access to mental care, when and where they need it.

“I am so proud that we are starting to break down the stigma associated with mental illness. It’s important that those needing help can access care for illnesses that for too long have been ignored, misunderstood and even criminalized. But as the conversations open up, we realize how much our healthcare, education and justice systems need to change,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner.

“Ontario needs to increase funding for mental health supports in schools, and must make it easier for all Ontarians to see a psychologist, counsellor, or psychotherapist by removing the provincial portion of HST charges from accredited private mental health service providers. We must also bring de-escalation training into police services so that first responders can safely deal with challenging situations,” added Schreiner.

The statistics are sobering. Ontario has experienced a 60% increase in hospitalizations and a 54% increase in emergency department visits for children and youth seeking treatment for mental-health issues in the past decade. Today, over 12,000 young people are waiting desperately for access to long-term or intensive mental-health therapy. This is unacceptable.

“It’s time to change the way we do things and get people the support they need,” said Schreiner.

Mike Schreiner: Responses to CityNews Debate

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QUEEN’S PARK — Tonight’s CityNews debate was a reminder of Question Period, a circus in which the party leaders talk over each other in a game of ‘I’m entirely right and you’re entirely wrong.’ The leaders of the status quo parties did not mention the climate change crisis or making illness prevention a priority in our healthcare system or leaping into the future with 21st century clean energy jobs, or a Basic Income Guarantee for all Ontarians.

Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner, was shut out from the debate, but he shared his answers to the questions live on Twitter throughout the night: