NDP Leader Andrea Horwath wants Mike at the Mic

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QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath, has voiced her support for Mike Schreiner taking part in the televised debates, leaving PC Leader, Doug Ford, as the only leader yet to weigh in on fair televised debates.

“There’s no reason not to have Mike Schreiner there. The more discussion we have about public policy from various perspectives the better,” said Horwath over the weekend, as reported by Guelph Today.

To date, over 11,000 people have signed the non-partisan Fair Debates petition calling for all four parties who receive per-vote funding to be allowed in the debates. Thousands more have since joined the Green Party campaign to pressure unelected media to change its mind when it comes to excluding Greens (www.MikeAtTheMic.ca).

Earlier this month, Premier Kathleen Wynne lent her support to the campaign, stating: “I encourage the participation of all major party leaders at all debates, including Green Party leader Mike Schreiner.”

“Our current system, which allows unaccountable media executives to fundamentally affect the democratic process is flawed and I am so glad that Ms. Horwath agrees that having Greens at the table is good for Ontarians and democracy,” said Schreiner.

“I’m asking Doug Ford to break his silence and let people know where he stands on fair and inclusive debates.”

Statement from Mike Schreiner on the Yonge-Finch Tragedy

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TORONTO, ON — Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, released the following statement on Tuesday.

“It’s been a devastating twenty-four hours for the people of Toronto, Ontarians and Canadians who have been left in disbelief over the loss of life that has been suffered. The violence that unfolded on Yonge Street yesterday was tragic and senseless.

Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, first responders, police officers, emergency personnel, and everyone else affected by this tragedy. Our sincere gratitude goes out to the Toronto Police and to heroic bystanders, whose courage undoubtedly helped to minimize the loss of life.

While we wait for more information to come in about what happened yesterday, we know this to be true: Toronto is a special city, defined not by fear and harm, but by love and community.”

Greens support Organic Products Act for a healthier food system

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QUEEN’S PARK — The Green Party of Ontario is calling on the Liberal government to fast-track the Organic Products Act, which died on the orders paper last month when the Liberals prorogued the Legislature.  The Act to regulate organic products in the province was reintroduced yesterday in Queen’s Park by MPPs Peter Tabuns and Sylvia Jones.

“As a long-time local food advocate, I know how hard farmers work to meet organic standards and take care of the land. This legislation is essential for rewarding their efforts and ensuring the organics sector is fair, transparent, and ready for growth,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner.

Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia all regulate their provincial organic standards, leaving Ontario as the largest province in the country without this level of oversight. As a result, organic labelling is less meaningful and vulnerable to abuse in Ontario. Not only does this leave consumers in doubt about the integrity of organic products, it disadvantages farmers who have spent energy and resources to achieve organic certification.

“This bill will support organic food and farmers. It is an important step in growing a more vibrant organic food movement. We need this legislation so that an organic food label actually means something. This will pull the whole sector towards greater sustainability,” added Schreiner.

Ultimately this is about taking steps to reduce harmful chemicals, protect our water and soil, and address climate change, core values for the Green Party of Ontario. In addition to supporting the Organic Products Act, the GPO supports funding for an Organic Food Growth Strategy and a check off program to support organic farmers.

“Organic production needs to grow so that we all have access to healthy local food, and we replace imported organic food with homegrown products. We support the Organic Council of Ontario in calling for this legislation to be passed without delay,” said Schreiner.

Bay Street gets it on climate change so why doesn’t Doug Ford?

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QUEEN’S PARK — Evidently Doug Ford did not get into the Earth Day spirit over the weekend, announcing today that his party would scrap carbon pricing. This is a reckless plan that will bring Ontario back to a time when the air was polluted without penalty and asthma rates soared.

Ironically, this comes on the heels of Europe’s largest bank, HSBC, joining a growing list of investors who will no longer invest in coal, oil sands and Arctic drilling projects.

“Ford’s soundbite policies will hurt Ontario’s economy. While HSBC and the financial community move money from dirty fossil fuel projects to cleantech, Ford will drive Ontario backwards,” said Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner.

The writing is on the wall. Either we get in front of the transition to a cleaner economy or we risk losing billions in losses from climate change damage. Preliminary estimates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are that natural disasters last year caused over $300 billion in losses globally, making 2017 the costliest year on record. Bay Street gets it. Why doesn’t Doug Ford?

“Investors are quickly starting to recognize that ignoring climate change will bring markets to their knees. It’s time for governments to follow suit rather than continuing to prop up dying industries,” said Schreiner.

A consensus has emerged that putting a price on carbon pollution is a matter of necessity. And globally the cleantech industry is worth over $1 trillion and growing. Yet these realities seem to elude Mr. Ford, who foolishly believes he can resist the federal mandate of a carbon price in 2019. We can bury our heads in the sand or we can leap into the future now and create good jobs in the new economy.

“We have two status quo parties barely dipping their toes into the new economy. And we have one status quo party denying the new economy even exists,” said Schreiner.

“I will be a strong leader for this transition to the new economy because I know – like Bay Street knows – that a green future and green business is the smartest investment we can make.”

Statement from Mike Schreiner on Earth Day 2018

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Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, made the following statement for Earth Day 2018.

“This Earth Day weekend, over 800 supporters joined me in welcoming Elizabeth May, David Suzuki, and a talented group of artists to Guelph’s largest ever political rally. Dr. Suzuki said something that struck me: “In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need a Green Party because Green values should form the basis of everything that we do.”

His words remind me of how we need to all work together to tackle the environmental challenges that lie ahead of us.

What unites Greens globally, in fact unites us all, is a recognition of our responsibility to protect air, water and land. These are the building blocks of healthy communities and prosperous economies, not things that can be sacrificed in pursuit of those ends.

Greens are being elected around the world, and across Canada there are now Green MLAs in New Brunswick, PEI and British Columbia. The momentum is building. As people in Ontario reject the cynical status quo, they are being inspired by our vision for a more inclusive and sustainable society that puts people and planet first.

It is unfortunate that in 2018, the health of our environment is not part of everyday political conversation. You can rest assured that in this upcoming provincial election, I will defend our air, water and land. I will not compromise our environmental principles to satisfy a narrow-minded and outdated view of the economy, because you and I know that without a clean environment we have no economy.

Thanks to all of you who are working to make our province a better place, today and every day.” Happy Earth Day. On June 7th, Let’s Make History.”

Open Letter from Mike Schreiner to CityNews about including the Green Party in televised debate

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Dave Budge

VP of News & Information,
Rogers Media Television
545 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, ON

Charmaine Khan
Media Contact
CityNews Toronto
33 Dundas St. East, Toronto, ON
charmaine.khan@rci.rogers.com
416.277.0450


Dear Mr. Budge and Ms. Khan:

We thank you and CityNews for taking the initiative to host the first televised leaders debate of the provincial election. These forums are critical to our democracy and essential for equipping citizens with the information they need to make a decision on Election Day.

However, we are deeply disappointed that the Green Party of Ontario did not receive an invitation to the debate scheduled for May 7.

The current political landscape in Ontario includes a vibrant Green Party. We will run a full slate of candidates for the fourth consecutive election. We have a comprehensive Vision for Ontario. And shortly we will release a costed platform outlining our priorities on the key issues affecting our province.

Our party received 233,000 votes in the last election and we are one of only four parties to qualify for provincial per-vote funding, based on our popular vote, of nearly 5% in the last election.

Nearly 11,000 people have signed a non-partisan petition at www.fairdebates.ca asking for a well-earned place at the televised debates for all four leaders whose parties receive per-vote public funding. And in only four days the Green Party itself has gathered over 3,000 more signatures. (www.MikeAtTheMic.ca)

While we understand that media organizations and the status-quo parties in Ontario might have a preference for a three-party debate model for a variety of reasons, we urge you to put people and democracy first. Voters deserve more – not less – choice in this election.

Nurturing democracy is an active process, and I’m sure you would agree that media has an important role to play in this. Limiting your debate to the big three parties in Ontario is a disservice to democracy, continuing a myth that there are no other options to the status quo.

In my mind it is simple. The formula for leaders debates should be the same as the formula set out by Elections Ontario. Four parties receive per-vote funding and four parties should be permitted to share their ideas and be held accountable to the people of Ontario.

Thousands of Ontarians are supporting our call, as well as Premier Wynne and a growing list of media personalities who are on the record as being in complete support.

I urge you to rethink your initial invitation that left out a party that hundreds of thousands of people support. I urge you to create a space at the table for the Green Party of Ontario.


Sincerely,

Mike Schreiner
Leader, Green Party of Ontario

Greens oppose Liberals’ disjointed plan for cannabis monopoly

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QUEEN’S PARK, ON — The Liberal government has it all wrong in their plan to monopolize the sale of cannabis when recreational use of the drug is legalized. Restricting the sale of cannabis products to only government owned subsidiaries shuts out small businesses and local farmers. The Liberal plan does nothing to stop the unsafe, illegal underground market.

“The Liberals have missed a big missed opportunity to help build local businesses and create jobs. We should be following the craft brewery model – regulating small businesses and dispensaries to sell cannabis in a safe and controlled way,” said Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner.

The Greens point to the large body of evidence showing that monopolizing cannabis sales will do nothing to stop the underground market, a view that is supported by many local businesses, who are also concerned that their livelihoods will be eroded by the government monopoly.

“Businesses like ours that sell cannabis accessories are worried about our future when the government enters this market. Not only will their monopoly approach fail to eliminate the black market, but the independent small businesses who started this industry in the first place will have trouble competing with the buying power of the government,” said Robin Ellins, Owner of Friendly Stranger Cannabis Culture Shop.

By opting for a government monopoly, the Liberals are bucking the trend. Other provinces are choosing either a mixed public-private model or a fully private model. Greens are advocating for a public-private model to unleash the potential of this budding industry.

“We would license local businesses, farmers, and Indigenous entrepreneurial groups to open retail stores, thus creating jobs and contributing tax dollars to our communities,” said Schreiner.

Greens would also dedicate a portion of the tax revenue to municipalities, as well as to programs and services for mental health and addictions.

Schreiner to Liberals: Protect Guelph’s water from private profiteers

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QUEEN’S PARK — Today, Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, hand-delivered 1,700 postcards signed by people from Guelph and across the province to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, urging him to protect Ontario’s water once and for all. Schreiner has collected over 8,000 signatures in total to protect water.

“The multiple threats to our drinking water – climate change, urban sprawl and irresponsible quarry development – have come to a head in my home of Guelph and people are demanding the government finally take action to protect water,” said Mike Schreiner.

​For decades, successive provincial governments have devoted less and less money to natural resource management, and the Green Party is sounding the alarm on the negative impacts.

“This is not just an environmental issue; it’s about protecting the water that keeps us all alive. It’s time we start managing this resource as a public trust rather than let it be systematically depleted by big corporations that take the water and run. Thousands agree and I am bringing their voices to Queen’s Park,” said Schreiner.

The Green Party of Ontario has led the charge at Queen’s Park to safeguard our water from large mega quarry and landfill projects, single use bottled water, and urban sprawl. Greens would raise water taking fees so that companies pay their fair share to cover sustainable water management. Greens would legislate a priority of use for water that makes public drinking the top priority.  We would ban fracking and cancel plans for burying nuclear waste near the Great Lakes.

The postcard campaign calls on Minister Ballard to:

  1. Fix the Permit to Take Water process to put public drinking water in our communities first

  2. Not renew the Dolime Quarry’s water taking permit without the City of Guelph’s conditions

  3. Raise the water taking fee to properly fund sustainable water management

“We need transformative change in Ontario to make safe drinking water the top priority in all water use decisions, and the Green Party is determined to do that,” said Schreiner.

Liberals’ nuclear bias continues to hurt Ontarians

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QUEEN’S PARK — Today’s report from the Financial Accountability Officer that ratepayers are saving $38 million from the Ontario-Quebec trade deal is a sliver of good news. These savings unfortunately come ahead of the skyrocketing bills we will be hit with to pay for multi-billion-dollar nuclear renovation jobs.

“This Liberal government has a listless energy plan aimed more at keeping the nuclear lobby happy than securing a good deal for people. This trade deal with Quebec for inexpensive hydro is a start but needs to be expanded. Otherwise it’s tinkering around the edges instead of moving our grid towards the cleaner, cheaper future that is possible,” said Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario.

Maintaining the status-quo energy system comes with a multi-billion price tag for rebuilding Darlington and keeping Pickering open past 2018. Ontarians should be asking themselves why the Liberals are anchoring our energy plan to dangerous and expensive nuclear when Hydro Quebec has offered to sell us water power at one third of the price.

“We learned today that we can save money by purchasing clean power from Quebec. So why are the Liberals determined to dump money down the nuclear drain?” said Schreiner. “The Liberal plan hurts ratepayers and hitches the province to outdated technology with no long-term future,” he added.

The Green Party’s vision for energy is about solutions that put people and planet first, rather than short-term fixes that fuel the powerful nuclear lobby. We would say no to the electricity price increases requested by OPG to rebuild outdated nuclear plants. It’s past time for an independent review of the costs and benefits of all energy sources before sinking any more money into our aging, outdated nuclear plants.

“We have to build an affordable electricity system for the future, not the past,” said Schreiner. “It’s time for an energy system that puts people first, not industry insiders.”

Ford unveils more of his fact-free plan for Ontario

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QUEEN’S PARK — Doug Ford’s proclamation that he would axe the planned minimum wage increase in favour of an $800 tax credit is more ‘back-of-the-napkin’ policy-making.

“Ford is parading around as a populist, trying to dupe working people into believing that he represents them, when in fact his ideas will hurt the most vulnerable among us,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner.

Everyone deserves to earn a wage they can live on, and the Green Party supports the increase to $15/hour. We also understand the challenges faced by small businesses, and would therefore ease the burden with a reduction in their payroll taxes to provide immediate cash flow relief.

“What makes Greens different from other parties is that we don’t play wedge politics with people’s lives. Unlike the Liberals and Conservatives, we don’t harvest votes by pitting one side against the other. For us, that’s what doing politics differently means,” said Schreiner.

The PC leader claims his tax plans will put more money in the pocket of low-wage earners, but this is not supported by statistics from the Canada Revenue Agency, nor independent analysis from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which shows that the minimum wage hike is significantly more beneficial than a tax cut.

Ford is on a mission to cut services, slash taxes, loosen regulations, and do whatever he can to benefit big business in Ontario. He thinks he can trick low and middle-class Ontarians into thinking they’ll benefit from these rollbacks, when in reality it is the wealthiest among us who stand to cash in.

“His positions are not backed by evidence, and we’ve seen this on many fronts, from ending carbon pricing to revisiting the sex-ed curriculum. He is trying to translate the anger towards Wynne’s Liberals into votes for his fact-free ideas,” said Schreiner.

But the people of Ontario don’t need to choose between establishment parties that seek to divide us. The Green Party is offering a hopeful and honest vision for the province, anchored by solutions that put people and planet first. Learn more at www.gpo.ca/vision.