It’s time to make it a Blue and Greenbelt

Share:

GUELPH, ON — With federal Green leader Elizabeth May by his side, Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner announced his plan for a 1.5 million acre expansion of the Greenbelt to include major river systems and source water regions in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

“When news about Ford’s backroom deal broke, the Liberals announced a hurried plan to expand the Greenbelt, but their plan excluded the critical areas being called for by 120 community groups, such as sensitive watersheds in Wellington and Brant counties, as well as the Grand River.” said Schreiner, speaking at the confluence of the Speed and Eramosa rivers with May. “We would ensure the whole Bluebelt is protected.”

The food and farming sector in the Greater Golden Horseshoe contributes $12.3 billion to our economy and 7,100 of those farms are found in the Greenbelt. The Greenbelt also cleans our air, storing 86.6 million tonnes of carbon in the fight against climate change. And more than 90% of Ontarians polled in 2015 were in favour of growing the Greenbelt to protect water supplies, sensitive natural environments, and farmland.

“Without the right protection, our source water regions are being degraded day-by-day. Greens are the only party that understands our economy depends on clean air, safe drinking water, and food-growing farmland,” said Schreiner.

While the governing Liberals have been giving our water away to multinational companies and throwing pennies at water management, the two leading parties have been either negligent or silent on protecting our water.

“For the NDP, the environment is a complete afterthought – buried in a few paragraphs of their 98-page platform. And the last PC government under Harris gutted environment jobs, leading to the deaths in Walkerton during the e-coli crisis. When Doug Ford talks about ‘efficiencies’, we know it means slashing protections and putting public health at risk,” said Schreiner.

The Green Party’s plan for getting the basics right on air, water and land includes:

  • Expanding the Greenbelt to include the 1.5 million acre Bluebelt
  • Banning fracking to reverse the 2017 Liberal amendment to the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act
  • Investing $200 million to reward farmers to protect water and store carbon
  • Setting aside a minimum of 17% of land as protected areas in line with international targets
  • Establishing public drinking water as the top priority in all water taking decisions
  • Raising water taking fees to recover costs for sustainable water management

#MikeAtTheMic trends on Twitter across Canada today

Share:

TORONTO, ON — A Twitterstorm erupted this afternoon, with the campaign to get Mike Schreiner a spot at the televised provincial leaders debate on Sunday one of the most tweeted topics of the day. The #MikeAtTheMic hashtag was trending at #1 in Toronto and was also a top trender across Canada.

“It’s overwhelming to see this much support for fair debates featuring all four publicly funded parties. The Ontario Broadcasters Group might try to silence us on Sunday, but thousands of Ontarians spoke out against their censorship today,” said Schreiner.

By 3:15pm, there had been 3,747 tweets reaching close to 260,000 people and viewed over 872,000 times. The explosion of activity prompted a response from a representative of the media consortium, Mackay Taggart of Global, who tweeted:

Mike Schreiner had this to say in reaction:

“Mr. Taggart’s response illustrates exactly why unelected, unaccountable TV executives should not be determining something so fundamental to our democracy. The Ontario Broadcasters Group has still yet to explain why they decided to use different rules than those set by Elections Ontario for public funding of political parties. The net result is a censorship of the Greens and a failure to the people of Ontario.”

A selection of the popular tweets can be read below.

Schreiner to other leaders: Ontario needs to go 100% renewable by 2050

Share:

TORONTO, ON — Today Mike Schreiner announced the Green Party of Ontario’s target of 100% renewable energy by 2050 and challenged Doug Ford, Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath to share their vision for tackling climate change, an issue that all three parties have been silent on.

“I am deeply concerned that climate change is not being mentioned by the other parties in this election. Climate change is real and by ignoring it, the status quo parties are doing damage to our environment and to our economy. Greens will seize opportunities in the $6 trillion dollar clean economy to create jobs and prosperity,” said Mike Schreiner.

Overlooking the Toronto skyline, Schreiner unveiled a $4.18 billion Green Building and Business Program to help homeowners, renters and businesses invest in energy efficiency and conservation to save money by saving energy.

“Statistics show that for every dollar of investment you can create seven times more clean energy jobs than fossil fuel jobs. Greens are ready to leap into the future and embrace twenty-first century jobs in cleantech, clean energy, advanced manufacturing, construction, energy retrofits, and design,” said Schreiner.  

Already, over 1000 cities and regions around the world have committed to being fully powered by 100% renewable energy by 2050, including Schreiner’s home riding of Guelph and Oxford county in southwest Ontario. And yet, the big three status quo parties have shown no vision for making Ontario a climate leader.

“The Liberals completely mismanaged the Green Energy Act, putting corporate interests ahead of communities. Doug Ford is saying he’ll rip out wind turbines. And meanwhile for the NDP, climate change is a complete afterthought. This is why we need Green voices at Queen’s Park to drive the transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Schreiner.

“As a Green MPP, I will be pushing Ontario to follow in the footsteps of my home riding of Guelph. I got into politics to protect my children’s future and this is something I am determined to continue fighting for at Queen’s Park,” added Schreiner.

Greens would get people moving with immediate transit options in southwestern Ontario

Share:

GUELPH, ON — Today in his home riding of Guelph, Mike Schreiner announced the Green Party of Ontario’s commitment to improving public transportation in southwestern Ontario to better connect people to the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

“Gridlock in the GTA is paralyzing – hurting our economy with lost productivity and taking us away from families and communities. In Guelph and in the wider region, people want to use sustainable public transit, but we must have efficient and reliable service that is a viable alternative to driving a car,” said Leader, Mike Schreiner.

Schreiner wants to see all day, two-­way GO service to Guelph and Kitchener as quickly as possible, but stopping there is not enough.

“There is no reason why we cannot have decent services right now with express bus service between cities like Hamilton, Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo. These services – shockingly – don’t exist. It’s a matter of political will,” said Schreiner.

“Greens would speak for commuters and demand the investments necessary to truly allow us to move freely on public transit. We have the capacity and the infrastructure, and now it’s time to step up to the plate,” he added.

The region is home to over 2.5 million Ontarians, and yet the three status quo parties have not made intercity travel a priority, leaving people with long journey times and infrequent service delivery if they want or need to use transit.

“How is it that in 2018 you can still only travel directly from Guelph to Toronto in the early morning hours, while if you want to get to Kitchener, you’re left taking a two-hour bus ride for a journey that would take 30 minutes in a car?” said Schreiner.

Greens are also committed to reducing greenhouse emissions from transportation, the largest contributor to Ontario’s carbon pollution from any sector.

“We will work to rapidly bring our transportation system towards carbon neutrality, electrifying GO train services as quickly as possible and introducing electric and hybrid buses where feasible. Our transportation infrastructure needs to serve people and the climate,” said Schreiner.

Endangered species at risk of another four years of status-quo politics

Share:

QUEEN’S PARK, ON — On International Day for Biological Diversity, the Green Party of Ontario is calling attention to the Liberal government’s categorical failure to protect the approximately 237 species at risk found in Ontario.

“Five years ago the Liberals gutted the Endangered Species Act  to make it easier for the forestry, aggregates, mining and energy sectors to run roughshod over Ontario’s sensitive wildlife habitats. Loopholes and exemptions turned the Act from a source of pride to a source of shame,” said Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner.

It is accepted knowledge in the scientific community that we are on the verge of a sixth mass extinction – a biological annihilation of wildlife – with today’s rapid loss of species estimated to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times the natural rate. A 2016 study found that humans have destroyed one tenth of the Earth’s wilderness in the last 25 years.

With these sobering statistics in mind, Greens are calling for urgent reform to the Endangered Species Act to reverse Liberal changes that effectively re-engineered the legislation to serve companies rather than wildlife and habitats.

“Climate change and development pressures are putting enormous strain on biodiversity. Without the proper safeguards in place in Ontario, we will decimate our plant and animal life.” said Schreiner.

The environment commissioner agrees with Schreiner. Last October’s scathing report found the Liberals had abdicated their responsibility to the species most at risk.

“With each passing year, the extent of this failure becomes more clear — the Ministry [of Natural Resources and Forestry] has reduced what should have been a robust system for protecting species at risk to what is largely a paper exercise,” said Dianne Saxe.

While Ford promises to drive a bulldozer over environmental protections and Horwath remains AWOL on the environment, Greens are the only party offering greater protection for the places we love in Ontario.

Our plan calls for a freeze to urban sprawl, extending the Greenbelt to include the region’s drinking water sources, and an immediate ban on logging in Algonquin Park. Find out more at www.gpo.ca/vision.

 

Prevention is the long-term solution to our healthcare woes

Share:

TORONTO, ON — Today, Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, called for a transformation of Ontario’s healthcare system towards one that doesn’t just treat illness, but prevents it in the first place. This followed an appearance on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, where Schreiner criticized the status-quo parties for their short-term thinking.

“The status-quo parties continue to focus on the symptoms of our healthcare crisis at the expense of addressing the real drivers. Greens are putting forward a plan to get at the root causes of our overcrowded hospitals,” said Schreiner.

47% of Ontarians reported visiting an emergency department in 2013 for a condition they thought could have been treated by their primary care provider if they had been available. While the PCs, Liberals and NDP rely on band-aid solutions, Greens are suggesting a paradigm shift in the way we look at health to focus on prevention.

The party is proposing an historic $4.1 billion investment over four years into mental health as a first step to making mental health services part of OHIP+, as well as removing the HST charges from accredited private mental health service providers during the transition to full public delivery of mental health services.

“It is unacceptable that 12,000 children and youth are on a waitlist for mental health services. There is a mental health crisis in Ontario, and we must act now. Investments in people’s mental wellness today will save us money many times over in the future,” said Schreiner.

The Green Party will increase the number of Nurse Practitioner-led Clinics in the province and step up other primary care models like family health teams, community care centres, and Indigenous health access centres.

“Our acute care resources are stretched beyond belief and the only way to sustainably relieve this burden is to invest in the community-level services that can better reach people before a health issue turns into a crisis,” said Schreiner.

“We need to start embedding the social determinants of health into our approach – food security, environment, education, income level. The real causes of poor health are effectively ignored by a sick care system that only kicks in when a problem comes through the hospital door,” he added.

Schreiner is calling on the province to emulate BC, which spends three times more on illness prevention and health promotion and leads the country on most health outcomes.

“Cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes – we can save money and reduce the rates of these illnesses by prioritizing healthier communities. It’s time.” said Schreiner.

 

Schreiner: Liberals should say no to Hydro One’s proposed merger with Avista

Share:

In response to news that Hydro One’s acquisition of Avista passed another hurdle, Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, said the following:

“The Ontario government must use its position as the largest shareholder in Hydro One to say no to its proposed merger with Avista Corporation.

Ontarians breathed a sigh of relief when we got off of coal in 2014. It was a moment to be proud of in the fight against climate change. But now Hydro One is getting back into the coal game, acquiring a US company with a major stake in one of the country’s largest coal-fired generating plants. How can the Liberals claim to be climate leaders when they’re happy to get into bed with big polluters south of the border?

The disastrous privatization of an important public asset has given rise to a multinational corporation whose bottom line is making profits for private shareholders, whether this means higher bills for the people of Ontario or pumping more greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere. By selling ownership in Hydro One, Ontario can no longer keep our hands clean from dirty energy projects that worsen the climate crisis. This is wrong.”

Open Letter to Ontario Broadcasters Group regarding Green Party exclusion from May 27 debate

Share:

To: Ontario Broadcasters Group
℅ Mackay Taggart
News Director
Global News Toronto
mackay.taggart@globalnews.ca

Dear Mr. Taggart:

With the final televised provincial leaders debate approaching, I respectfully urge the Ontario Broadcasters Group to reconsider its decision to exclude the Green Party of Ontario.

To date more than 25,000 Ontarians have signed petitions calling for fair debates that include all four major parties. You can see these petitions at www.fairdebates.ca and www.MikeAtTheMic.ca. We have the support of Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath, as well as multiple journalists who believe our voice should be at the table. It is with this significant backing that I write this letter.

Televised leaders debates are an important part of our democracy and have far-reaching implications for the outcome of elections. I believe decisions about participation in these debates should be fair, transparent and made by people accountable to voters in Ontario.

That said, I recognize that the Ontario Broadcasters Group has the decision-making authority in this case. Therefore, you have a significant responsibility to the voters to present fair debates that accurately represent the political landscape and the options on June 7th. By excluding the Green Party, you are failing in that responsibility to the people of Ontario.

First, your insistence that a party must have a seat in the provincial legislature ignores the broad support the Green Party has across Ontario and Canada. Greens have been elected to provincial legislatures of BC, PEI and New Brunswick. In all of these cases, the election of Greens was preceded by their inclusion in televised debates. And in the last Ontario election, our party received over 233,000 votes and nearly 5% of the popular vote. By limiting our visibility, you are ignoring a growing movement – whose reach is global, with Greens elected in countries from Iceland to Germany.

Second, the decision ignores our credibility as one of the four major parties in Ontario. We have run a full slate of candidates in every election since 2003, and this year our full slate includes 52% women candidates. We have released a costed platform that touches on all major issues in the province. And most importantly, we are one of four parties to receive enough votes to qualify for public funding under Elections Ontario rules.

In our view it is simple: if a party qualifies for public subsidies, then it should be held accountable in the televised leaders debates. By silencing our voice, you are denying Ontarians the right to hear a viable vision for Ontario that their tax dollars are supporting. This is a disservice to democracy.

Third, as I have toured the province and spoken out on this issue, I have been told by countless media personalities and Ontarians of all political stripes that it is unacceptable that I am being shut out. In an online poll by the Toronto Star, 69% of people responded unequivocally that Greens should be included, while another 15% responded that Greens should be included if the other parties agree to it.

With this broad support from politicians, media and the people of Ontario, I ask whether you can stand behind your original decision?

There is still time to do the right thing. There are four major parties in this province – not three. I ask that you provide the voters of Ontario with the true picture of this election and allow them access to the views and policies of all four major parties.

Sincerely,

Mike Schreiner
Leader, Green Party of Ontario

cc:
Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario NDP
Doug Ford, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

This is our last chance to get #MikeAtTheMic

Share:

We have less than one week left to change the minds of the unelected, unaccountable media consortium trying to shut Mike Schreiner out of the televised Leaders Debate on May 27.

These debates can change elections. In BC, PEI and New Brunswick, Greens were all elected after appearing in debates. Getting #MikeAtTheMic to debate Wynne, Horwath and Ford will greatly improve our chances of a Green Wave on Election Day.

On Thursday, May 24, we are mobilizing all of our supporters to join a MASSIVE TWITTERSTORM to pressure the Ontario Broadcasters Group to do the right thing and put #MikeAtTheMic.

Join the Twitterstorm

Goal: Get #MikeAtTheMic trending and ensure the media consortium hears us loud and clear!

WhenThursday, May 24 between 12-1pm 

What you need to do: On Thursday, May 24, between 12-1pm, choose from the tweets below or write your own creative tweet using #MikeAtTheMic and tagging the media consortium members. Post the tweet during this time – it’s important we get as many people tweeting in this window so we can get #MikeAtTheMic trending on Twitter.

Sample Tweets

  1. 4 parties are publicly funded in Ontario and 4 parties deserve to debate on May 27. Ontario deserves to hear what the Greens have to offer. MikeAtTheMic.ca @GlobalTV @CBCNews @CHCHTV @CPAC_TV @TVO @CTVNews #MikeAtTheMic #onpoli #ONelxn (Click to Tweet)
  2. Hey @GlobalTV @CBCNews @CHCHTV @CPAC_TV @TVO @CTVNews, do the right thing and put #MikeAtTheMic MikeAtTheMic.ca #onpoli #ONelxn (Click to Tweet)
  3. End the three-ring circus and make May 27th a fair debate with @OntarioGreens leader @MikeSchreiner. @GlobalTV @CBCNews @CHCHTV @CPAC_TV @TVO @CTVNews #MikeAtTheMic #onpoli #ONelxn MikeAtTheMic.ca (Click to Tweet)
  4. Stop telling Ontarians there are only three choices this #ONelxn @GlobalTV @CBCNews @CHCHTV @CPAC_TV @TVO @CTVNews. @MikeSchreiner is a real alternative to the status quo circus #MikeAtTheMic #onpoli MikeAtTheMic.ca (Click to Tweet)
  5. Silencing @OntarioGreens is a disservice to democracy. Full slate of candidates. Costed platform. 233,000 votes in 2014. Put #MikeAtTheMic @GlobalTV @CBCNews @CHCHTV @CPAC_TV @TVO @CTVNews. MikeAtTheMic.ca #onpoli #ONelxn (Click to Tweet)

If you don’t have Twitter, you can still help. Send an email to mackay.taggart@globalnews.ca asking for the Green Party to be included in the televised debates. If you need some inspiration, read Mike Schreiner’s open letter here.

Lastly – if you haven’t already – sign and share the petition at MikeAtTheMic.ca.

Television managers in back rooms should not get to decide who has legitimacy and who should be held accountable by the voters in Ontario. So we need YOU to help us tell them they got it wrong.

This is our last chance to get #MikeAtTheMic. We hope you’ll join us in this effort to get our Green voices heard.

Green Party Leader receives endorsement from Toronto Star

Share:

TORONTO, ON — The city’s highest circulation newspaper has given its endorsement to Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner, in his bid to become the first elected Green MPP this election.

“Ours is a party offering honest politics and real change from the status quo. We do not rely on slogans or populism, empty promises or faulty accounting to get votes. We rely on people power and hard work. I’m happy the media is recognizing the real solutions the Green Party is putting forward – on affordable housing, basic income and embracing the 21st century clean economy,” said Mike Schreiner.

Schreiner was the first to be interviewed by the Toronto Star last week in its series of live-streamed editorial board meetings with each of the four major party leaders. The endorsement notes Schreiner’s candour on challenging issues, as well as his depth of policy knowledge in a landscape where it has become all-too-common to dumb down the political discourse.

“It is arguably the Green leader who has been the most forthright leader in the campaign for the June 7 Ontario election,” reads the article. “It would not be an unwelcome development at all if the electors of Guelph were to decide on June 7 to make a little Ontario history,” it concludes.

Read the article here: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2018/05/21/guelph-voters-should-consider-making-history-and-sending-the-greens-mike-schreiner-to-queens-park.html