Greens support giving municipalities more power

(Ottawa): “Municipalities need more power and autonomy to address 21st century challenges,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner while attending the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference in Ottawa.

The Green Party supports providing municipalities with more flexibility, autonomy and tools. Schreiner believes cities need more flexibility to close the infrastructure gap and fund services while reducing the tax burden on municipal property tax payers.

“Cities should be able to diversify revenue sources to reduce demands on property taxes without begging for permission from the province,” says Schreiner. “The province cannot stand in the way of municipalities ”

Schreiner supports giving cities the power to implement revenue tools such as congestion charges on city roads to reduce gridlock and pay for infrastructure. Cities need more autonomy to address infrastructure, transportation and housing challenges according to the Greens.

“The Liberals should be ashamed of the way they threw Toronto Mayor Tory under the bus on road pricing,” says Schreiner. “The NDP and Conservatives are more interested in playing political games than solving gridlock in municipalities across Ontario. We need honest answers to how municipalities can pay for infrastructure to make our communities more livable.”

Schreiner is also calling for municipalities to have more power when the province issues water taking permits. The GPO supports managing water as a public trust in the the public interest. Greens are calling on the government to prioritize public drinking water for municipalities over other users when issuing permits to take water.

“It’s ridiculous that a multinational corporation could outbid the Town of Centre Wellington for access to water,” says Schreiner. “Or that the City of Guelph has to fight a private corporation and the province to protect the city’s water from a quarry. This has to change.”

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

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Mike Schreiner promises real change at packed nomination party

Hundreds of people came out to support GPO Leader and entrepreneur Mike Schreiner’s official launch of his campaign to be Guelph’s voice at Queen’s Park.

“I want to change politics so that it puts people first, ahead of lobbyist and political insiders,” said Schreiner. “My commitment to Guelph and the province is to bring a new voice to the Ontario legislature, one that will stand up for honesty, integrity, and decisions that work for people.”

BC MLA Adam Olsen told the crowd how only three Green MLAs have changed BC politics forever. Prominent Guelph Liberal Carolyn Weatherson told the crowd why she felt Guelph and Ontario needed Mike’s voice at Queen’s Park.

“People desperately want politicians who they can trust, who are driven by honesty and integrity. That’s what Mike and the Ontario Greens offer. That is why the Greens now hold the balance of responsibility in BC,” said Adam Olsen. “I came out to Ontario for Mike’s nomination because he is a refreshing change from business-as-usual politicians. He will be a hard-working MPP for Guelph, I look forward to watching his campaign from Victoria, and helping in whatever way I can.”

Schreiner received nearly 20% of the vote in the last provincial election. He is poised to become Ontario’s first Green MPP by defeating long-time Liberal MPP Liz Sandals, a veteran member of the scandal-plagued McGuinty-Wynne governments.

“People tell me that they want change. The only way to get real change is to vote for a new voice, a new party–the Green Party,” said Schreiner. “The change starts by pushing the Liberal government to stop issuing water taking permits that threaten our drinking water.”

Mike Schreiner was elected leader of the Green Party of Ontario on November 14, 2009. Mike is a leading advocate for independent businesses, local food and sustainable communities. This will be his second time running in Guelph.

Born in Victoria, Adam was raised on Tsartlip First Nation in Brentwood Bay, BC. He was recently elected as BC Green MLA in Saanich North and the Islands.

See photos from the event below.

Nuclear emergency preparation: we’re not ready

Mike Schreiner’s submitted the following comment to the Ontario government’s update to the Nuclear Emergency Response Plan.

July 28, 2017

Hon. Marie-France Lalonde
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Reference: # 013-0560

Dear Hon. Marie-France Lalonde,

Twenty-five nuclear reactors line the shores of the Great Lakes. 40 million people rely upon the Great Lakes for drinking water. 4.5 million people live within 50 KM of the Darlington and Pickering Nuclear Generating Stations. Protecting people and drinking water must be a top priority for the Ontario government.

That’s why we welcome the Ontario government’s long overdue call for public input into updating the province’s inadequate nuclear emergency response plan.

Unfortunately, the province’s nuclear emergency plans fail to protect the people of Ontario.

It’s unacceptable that Ontario’s Discussion Paper on Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan (PNERP): Planning Basis Review and Recommendations does not recommend strengthening emergency plans to international best practices in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

We believe it is irresponsible and reckless for your government to expose Ontario to the risks of a Fukushima scale (International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) level 7) nuclear disaster without adequate emergency plans in place. It is inexplicable that in the wake of both the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters the PNERP does not recommend updating and strengthening Ontario’s nuclear emergency response.

Your government must act to put the safety of Ontarians ahead of the nuclear industry.

We urge your government to:

  1. Require the government to meet or exceed international best practices for nuclear emergency response planning and preparedness, by revising the PNERP.
  2. Instruct the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) to upgrade Ontario’s reference accident from a INES 5 accident to an INES 7 accident to match the best practice set by Switzerland’s recent decision to make this change.
  3. Create a municipal, provincial and federal integrated emergency management plan that takes into account the possibility of a severe accident at an Ontario nuclear generating station, including multiple simultaneous reactor accidents.
  4. Implement emergency measures to improve notification and evacuation of residents, as well as mitigation of the effects of radiotoxic releases.
  5. Require the pre-distribution of potassium iodide (KI) pills to all residents living within 30 kilometers of a nuclear generating station and make KI pills available to anyone within 100 KM. Expand the detailed evacuation zone (the Primary Zone) to 20 KM and the secondary zone to 100 KM.
  6. Limit the construction of residences, schools, long term care facilities in the vicinity of nuclear reactors and nuclear waste storage.
  7. Adequately resource OFMEM to meet the provincial government’s constitutional responsibilities for nuclear emergency preparedness.
  8. Instruct OFMEM that it is neither reasonable nor prudent to rely exclusively on industry risk estimates for the selection of reference accidents used in determining off-site emergency measures. Independent experts and international best practices should guide OFMEM planning decisions.
  9. Require a plan to ensure safe drinking water in the event that a nuclear disaster contaminates the Great Lakes.
  10. Mandate that future updates to the PNERP Master Plan or Implementing Plans be posted to the Environmental Bill of Rights registry for public comment and transparent input from municipal councils.

Your government is being negligent by failing to plan for worst-case nuclear accidents when half of Ontario lives in the shadow of a nuclear station.

It is the government’s responsibility to protect public safety by making Ontario’s nuclear emergency plans the most robust in the world, or at the very least, in line with international best practices.

Minister, I know you take your responsibilities seriously. It is time to do the right thing by strengthening Ontario’s nuclear emergency plans.

Sincerely,

Mike Schreiner
Leader, Green Party of Ontario

You can submit your own comment via our easy form, due Friday July 28.

Hydro One’s move to buy US Avista includes dirty coal

Jose Etcheverry, Markham-Stouffville candidate and expert on environment and climate change issued the following statement today on Hydro One’s move to buy Avista, which has shares in a coal-fired generating plant:

“This move shows a privatized Hydro One won’t act in the public’s best interest, as Liberals were warned. Hydro One’s first move as a private company puts profits ahead of people’s health by buying a company that is a shareholder in coal-fired generation. Ontario has banned coal to protect air quality.

Liberals and Ontario taxpayers lost control of this former public utility even before selling a majority of Hydro One shares. And Ontarians still pay the highest electricity rates‎.

And the bad news doesn’t stop there. This purchase undermines the Liberals’ stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

The Ontario Energy Ministry seems to suggest that the air pollution from the Avista coal plant is no problem, as long as the coal is being burned in Montana. Keep in mind: Montana borders British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and air doesn’t respect national boundaries. In addition to the health impacts in western Canada, Ontario should be worried about the financial liability of acquiring coal plants.

This is a bad move for Ontario and for our planet. Hydro One should be investing in renewables, conservation and energy efficiency – that will help us reduce our rising energy bills and also our GHG emissions.”

GPO will ‘pack the park’ for leader Mike Schreiner’s official nomination

Guelph, Ontario – Excitement is building ‎in Guelph and throughout the province as Mike Schreiner launches his bid in Guelph to become the first Green Party member of the Ontario legislature.

A strong turnout is expected for GPO’s Party in the Park: the party’s nomination meeting in Guelph on July 30. The event will feature live music, food and a keynote speech from BC MLA Adam Olsen on bringing the Green wave to Ontario.

When: Sunday July 30, 2017 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Mike Schreiner will speak at approximately 3 pm.

Where: Riverside Park, 209 Woolwich St. Guelph

What: Guelph Green Party of Ontario nomination meeting

Speakers: Mike Schreiner, Green Party of Ontario leader
Adam Olsen, Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saanich North and the Islands

Live Music: Andrew Craig Soul Trio; and Joni NehRita

Food: provided by Schmuck Truck and ice cream from Bluewater Creamery

RSVP for our Party in the Park!

Canada 150+ – a time for celebration and reflection

Happy Canada Day 150+! Today we recognize the birth of a nation and the much longer history of First Nations, Métis and Inuit across this land.

This Canada Day we celebrate our 150th year since the Confederation of 1867.

This is not only a time for celebration. It is also a time for reflection–a time to reflect on the history upon which this country was built.

The Indigenous origins of this land predates 150 years — by many thousands of years. The Indigenous story is an enduring one that predates and includes Canadian history. Ours is a land of many nations.

We have much to be proud of as a country, such as opening our doors and hearts to welcome Syrian refugees. Over time, Canada has welcomed people from around the world. We’ve become a better, stronger nation because of our diversity.

In celebrating our past and our diversity, we cannot afford to be blind to our history. In this province and across Canada, Indigenous people continue to lack access to basic human rights like clean water, decent housing, and quality health care. We must recognize that in building this country, treaties were broken, land was taken unceded, and rights not respected. Government programs like Residential Schools and Sixties Scoops have had terrible repercussions for generations of people.

Today, we take the opportunity to reflect on this history, and look forward to the country we want to be in the next 150 years. Most importantly, we ask what we can do today to shape that future for present and future generations?

Today is a time to confront the truth and continue the conversation about how to foster reconciliation among the nations of this land. Canada can be a place that honours Indigenous rights and learns from the wisdom of Indigenous elders on how to be stewards of this land for the next 150 years–protecting it for the benefit of the next seven generations.

I sincerely hope that Canada 150 is a moment in history to celebrate the shared values that bind us–respect, truth, compassion, justice and a deep and abiding love for this land and the people who share it. In the spirit of reconciliation, we have hard work ahead of us as we try to achieve these values in action. I’m confident Canada is up for this challenge.

With this as our starting point, on behalf of the Green Party of Ontario, we wish everyone a Happy Canada 150+!

Eid Mubarak

As-salamu alaykum,

Today, Muslims around the world mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan with Eid al-Fitr, signaling a break from a month-long fast. This fast engages Muslims in the tenets of their faith, including charity, compassion, worship, and spiritual renewal.

As the Muslim community in Ontario, Canada, and across the world join friends and family in feast and celebration, it is important for all of us to honour the values that the Islamic religion holds dear and to build bridges among people of all faiths.

We must also use this moment to consider the millions of Muslims around the world who may not be able to enjoy a safe and comfortable celebration in their homes and countries at this time. Keeping them in mind, we extend our wishes of peace and good health to them and their loved ones.

Standing in solidarity with Muslim communities at home and abroad, we can all take this opportunity to practice our shared values of compassion, service, generosity and community.

On behalf of the Green Party of Ontario, Eid Mubarak to all!

Green Party of Ontario says it’s time to ban fracking in Ontario

For immediate release
June 23, 2017

(Toronto, ON) – A recently-passed amendment to the provincial Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act may open the door to fracking in Ontario.

Jurisdictions like New York, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have already passed bills to ban hydraulic fracturing due to health and environmental concerns. Although no hydraulic fracking for shale gas currently exists in Ontario, the Liberal government has in the past provided mapping data to assist in exploration for the fracking industry.

Plus, the Ontario Liberals have so far refused to ban the practice.

In Canada and the US, fracking is linked to increased earthquake frequency, high methane emissions and risks to drinking water. These not only risk our health and environment, they undermine our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Ontario should ban fracking before these threats become real.

Quick Facts

Additional Information

Quotes

“No fracking way will Greens stay quiet while the Liberals open the possibility of allowing fracking in our beautiful province. Fracking could pollute our drinking water, cause earthquakes and undermine the province’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.”  

— GPO leader Mike Schreiner 

“Fracking poses a threat to our water and has no place in Ontario. If the Liberals are serious about protecting our water and reducing climate disrupting pollution, they would support a ban on fracking.”

— GPO leader Mike Schreiner

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National Aboriginal Day

GPO Leader Mike Schreiner issued the following statement on National Aboriginal Day:

First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people each have their own unique heritage, language, and culture. Today, on National Aboriginal Day, we celebrate the important contributions that these communities have made to Turtle Island and this place we call Canada.

Now more than ever we need to apply an indigenous worldview to the challenges we face. We can learn from the wisdom of indigenous elders on how to defend the land and water that sustains us. And we must make decisions today that ensure a sustainable future for the next seven generations.

Each year on this day, governments pledge to work closely with indigenous communities to reconcile issues of the past and commit to promises for a better future. However, in this province, Indigenous people continue to lack access to basic human rights like clean water, decent housing, and affordable electricity.

This is unacceptable in a province as prosperous as Ontairo.

The crises witnessed in Attawapiskat, Grassy Narrows and other indigenous communities across our province cannot be ignored. We must act now to address issues facing Indigenous communities.

The government has an obligation to work with indigenous communities – with full partnership, participation, and respect – to make sure everyone in Ontario has access to high quality health care, education, and economic opportunities.

The Green Party of Ontario has and will continue to work with First Nations leaders to protect the land and drinking water both within indigenous communities and across the province. We have so much to learn about sustainability from our indigenous sisters and brothers. And we must act on their wisdom.

 

Pride month: flag raising ceremony at Queen’s Park

GPO Deputy Leader Mark Daye made the following statement today:

“The annual flag raising ceremony at Queen’s Park today is a joyous occasion. I am reminded that Pride month’s festivities are a celebration of the diversity of our province as we continue to strive for equality for all Ontarians.

Pride offers us an opportunity to remember those who have come before us, and pay tribute to those who fought tirelessly for the rights and freedoms we enjoy today.

We should be proud of how far we have come on our path toward acceptance and inclusivity, but we are not there yet. While members of our community continue to feel oppression we must continue the march toward inclusivity so that all members of our society may feel safe and accepted.

We must ensure that all families are treated with respect and equality under the law. We must ensure that all parents have equal rights and all of our citizens have equal job opportunities under the law of the land.

It is especially important that our children grow up in a society that respects everyone equally. And this is just one of the many reasons why the GPO continues to speak out for human rights, for students, teachers and parents in our school system.

It remains an unacceptable truth in 2017 that some schools funded by Ontario taxpayers discriminate against the LGBTQ community through hiring practices.

We must continue to push for political change that promotes inclusivity and human rights for all Ontarians.

The Green Party hopes you will join with us as we celebrate Pride across Ontario, and Canada. I sincerely hope during the celebrations that we will all take a moment to reflect, give thanks, and stand up for our fellow people.”

March with us at the 2017 Toronto Pride Parade – RSVP here for details.