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Ford fails to lower Ontario’s electricity costs by $1.1 billion per year

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QUEEN’S PARK —  Premier-designate Doug Ford’s plan to keep the Pickering Nuclear Station open until 2024 may be good for the nuclear lobby, but isn’t good for the people of Ontario.

“Today, Doug Ford chose to side with the powerful nuclear lobby rather than fix what’s really wrong with our broken energy system,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner.

“The decision to keep Pickering open past its best before date will cause electricity bills to go up. It is fiscally irresponsible when lower cost alternatives are available.”

It is a mistake for the new government to double down on the Liberal government’s past energy missteps that have caused electricity bills to rise. According to an article from TVO citing the Independent Electricity System Operator of Ontario, 42% of the price increase in the global adjustment (GA) is due to nuclear contracts, 26% from natural gas and just 17% from renewable energy contracts.

Why is Mr. Ford supporting the source of power most responsible for rising electricity prices?

“Mr. Ford clearly doesn’t want to help people lower their electricity bills with his decision to support overpriced outdated nuclear power and his plan to cut programs that help people save money by saving energy,” added Schreiner.

Quick Facts

Pickering Nuclear Station

  • is the 4th oldest nuclear station in North America. Opened in 1971, it was originally designed to operate for only 30 years, but now Doug Ford will keep it running for over half a century.

  • Pickering Nuclear Station is within 50km of the largest population centre in all of Canada. A nuclear accident at Pickering could lead to the evacuation of more than 650,000 people for 30 to 100 years.
  • Ontario could save $1.1 billion per year by closing PIckering on schedule. This includes saving $737 million per year by avoiding the sell of excess power at a loss and $407 million by purchasing low cost water power from Quebec at 5 cents per kWh.
  • Shutting down Pickering would create 32,000 person-years of employment and make Ontario a global leader in nuclear decommissioning, expertise we can export elsewhere.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day, action is long overdue to end environmental racism

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QUEEN’S PARK —  Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, issued the following statement for National Indigenous Peoples Day:

“Today, I reflect on what our First Nations, Metis and Inuit brothers and sisters have taught us about how to care for the planet that sustains us. And the essential need to consider our impact on the next seven generations with every decision we make.

This includes treating water as a sacred public trust that must be protected for ourselves and future generations. We must also show respect for all peoples and the animals with whom we share this land and co-exist.

It is important to acknowledge the legacy of colonization and environmental racism that exists.

We have a responsibility to be honest about the conditions in First Nations communities and acknowledge that Indigenous livelihoods, traditional practices, and basic human rights have been compromised by industrial projects and pollution. We must act to stop this.

In Grassy Narrows, successive governments betrayed Indigenous communities by not addressing ongoing pollution of the English and Wabigoon River systems. Action to clean up the river and set up the mercury health centre must be a priority.

In Sarnia, petrochemical refineries were historically built right next to First Nations, spewing toxic pollutants on already marginalized communities. The people of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation deserve justice and our government must enforce stronger air and water quality enforcement to protect those living in Chemical Valley.

So while we celebrate the original people of this land today, as settlers we must do more.

It is our responsibility to strive towards reconciliation in everything that we do. We owe this to the people who have called Turtle Island home since time immemorial and who have suffered under the weight of colonization.

 

Ford should reverse plan for government monopoly on cannabis

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QUEEN’S PARK — The extension of cannabis legalization gives Ontario time to fix its flawed plan for a government monopoly. The Green Party is calling on Premier-designate Doug Ford to implement a cannabis retail plan that will put an end to the unsafe underground market.

“The former government’s cannabis monopoly with 40 government run retail stores will do nothing to end the unsafe underground cannabis market,” said Green Party leader Mike Schreiner. “The new premier now has time to fix this by licensing and strictly regulating local dispensaries to also sell cannabis.”

The Prime Minister has granted provinces more time to get their house in order for the landmark shift to legal cannabis. The Green Party has long advocated for a model similar to the craft brewery industry, in which small businesses and dispensaries would be regulated to sell cannabis in a safe and controlled way. Doug Ford previously hinted that he would be open to allowing private sector sales, but has remained silent on the issue ever since.

The GPO supports sharing cannabis revenue with municipalities and dedicating all provincial revenue to supporting addiction programs.

“A few government run stores will not only lose money, it will continue to drive people to the unsafe underground market, hurting our economy and shutting out local businesses who want to operate safely and honestly,” said Schreiner. “A thriving underground market will also continue to make cannabis readily available to minors.”

“This is a chance for Doug Ford to change course. If he truly wants to create jobs for the people of Ontario, then he could take some time away from waging war on the cleantech sector and look at involving independent businesses in retail cannabis sales,” added Schreiner.

 

Schreiner calls for Ontario to work with Ottawa to welcome refugees

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QUEEN’S PARK — On World Refugee Day, the Green Party of Ontario Leader calls on Premier-designate Doug Ford to work with the federal government to welcome refugees to Canada and Ontario.

“The struggle of the world’s most vulnerable is in our hearts and minds, particularly as we see startling images of families being separated down south. Canada can and should do more to ensure those fleeing conflict, persecution and climate change are accepted with care and compassion,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner.

“That’s why I’m calling on the Premier-designate to work with the Prime Minister to show leadership in the refugee crisis and ensure Canada and Ontario are acting morally as defenders of human rights and not turning their backs on those in need.”

According to the UNHCR, there were 25.4 million refugees fleeing their countries due to violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2017, the highest number ever seen. And projections are that by 2050 as many as 140 million people will be displaced by droughts, storms and other extreme weather, as climate change makes their homes uninhabitable.

Ontario should continue to open its hands and hearts to those in need. With millions of displaced people, we have the means to help the most vulnerable in the global community.

“We can and must do more to help community organizations, non-profits, and faith communities in the sponsorship and ongoing support of refugees. The GPO will continue to push for responsible, compassionate immigration and settlement policies in Ontario,” said Robert Kiley, deputy leader and GPO Immigration and International Trade critic.

 

Ontario’s energy efficiency programs shut down

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QUEEN’S PARK —  Premier-designate Doug Ford is making it harder for people to save money on their energy bills. He is hurting businesses that have made significant capital investments to provide energy saving services for people.

Eliminating Ontario’s energy efficiency programs without warning or detail will hurt families and businesses who want to save energy and fight climate change.

“Mr. Ford’s actions will hurt families and businesses working hard to save money by saving energy,” said Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner.

“I’ve already received emails and calls from business owners angry that Ford’s reckless actions will force them to fire staff and lose money.”

The GreenON website (https://greenon.ca/) has been replaced with a simple message listing all of the programs that have been cancelled. A call placed to GreenON confirmed that all of the rebate, installation and retrofit programs for homes and businesses have been discontinued.

“Mr. Ford has declared war on businesses creating jobs that are good for the environment and that help people save money by saving energy. Unfortunately, Mr. Ford is sending a message to companies and job creators that Ontario is closed to the $6 trillion clean economy,” said Schreiner.

The Premier-designate announced that his first act of cabinet would be to scrap pollution pricing, but he has made no mention of shutting down energy efficiency and rebate programs. This move comes before his cabinet has even been announced. This recklessness will result in job losses in the energy conservation and building retrofit sector.

“It’s ideological and it’s short-sighted. I challenge Mr. Ford to explain how cutting programs that help people lower their energy bills is consistent with his ‘for the people’ message,” Schreiner added.

 

Time for Ford to turn populist promises into real policy

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QUEEN’S PARK —  The people of Ontario deserve to hear from Doug Ford the Premier-designate, not Doug Ford the campaigner.

“Being premier is about more than crowd-pleasing slogans. It’s about leadership. What is Doug Ford’s vision for the province? What is he going to do besides cut and gut everything the last government did?” asked Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner.

In his brief speech to caucus, Ford repeated the same clichés from the election, before kicking the media out after only five minutes.

There was no mention of the public sector hiring freeze and how it will impact hospitals and classrooms. There is no plan to fight climate change after Ford hastily announced the end of the only program we have for reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

“Mr. Ford is thumbing his nose at clean economy jobs and investment by taking us backwards on climate change. This political decision will cost us clean air and good jobs and drag us into lengthy court battles paid for by Ontarians. It’s reckless and irresponsible, without a credible Plan B,” said Schreiner.

“He cannot govern just by cancelling what the last government did. The campaign is over, and we are still waiting for Mr. Ford to turn his populist promises into real policy,” he added.

Ford’s climate denial is bad for business

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QUEEN’S PARK — Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner issued the following statement in reaction to news that Premier-designate Ford’s first act would be to cancel the province’s cap-and-trade program:

“Doug Ford’s move to cancel a price on pollution is bad for Ontario and bad for business. Canceling pollution pricing without a backup plan unfortunately sends a signal to clean companies that Ontario is not open for business.

It is unfortunate to see Mr Ford’s sloganeering and back-of-the-napkin ideas continuing post-election.

It’s reckless to move Ontario backward on addressing climate change, the greatest crisis facing our planet. To do so in haste without a proper plan is even more irresponsible. It will cost jobs and money, and have negative economic implications for our province.

I continue to be shocked that as a business-person, Mr. Ford is thumbing his nose at the $6 trillion dollar clean economy. Why is he ignoring what is undoubtedly the job creator of the future?

Yes, there are issues with our cap-and-trade program, most of all the exemption for Ontario’s largest polluters. The Green Party plan calls for a gradual phase out of cap-and-trade in favour of a revenue neutral fee-and-dividend system that puts money directly back into people’s pockets.

But the Premier-designate’s plan is to take a sledgehammer to what’s already in place. This does not bode well for other government programs.

I’m eager to ask Mr. Ford how he can square this decision with his acknowledgment in the final leaders debate that climate change is happening and that it is caused by human activity.

Because to date, none of Mr. Ford’s actions or bluster actually tells me that he understands the urgency of the climate crisis or our responsibility to reduce pollution.”

 

Greens call for provincial action to make streets safer for everyone

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QUEEN’S PARK — In the wake of three tragic deaths this week on GTA streets, the Green Party of Ontario is renewing its call for a real investment from the province into safer streets.

“The simple reality is that Ontario is not doing enough to protect pedestrians and cyclists. The status quo is costing us lives, and the incoming government has a responsibility to help the city of Toronto and all municipalities make their streets safer,” said Green Party leader Mike Schreiner.

Toronto, City Council initiated Vision Zero two years ago, and yet deaths on Toronto streets are not declining, with 32 people killed this year. Safety advocates are calling for immediate measures such as lower speed limits, striped crosswalks, and tougher penalties.

Schreiner says the province must do its part to make streets and roads safer for all people.

“The province has an essential role to play in making streets across Ontario safe for all people. It is unacceptable that there is no dedicated transportation fund for walking and cycling infrastructure,” added Schreiner.

Currently the province allocates 0% of its transportation budget to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. The Green Party continues to support a dedicated fund to support safe streets.

“We need to make roads safe, not just for cars but cyclists and pedestrians too. I am calling on the new government to establish a permanent long­-term sustainable funding stream for cycling and pedestrian infrastructure for all Ontario municipalities,” said Schreiner.

 

Mike Schreiner clarifies comments about cooperation

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Mike Schreiner issued the following statement today:

“In an interview yesterday on Newstalk 1010 with Mark Towhey, my comments regarding cooperation across political lines were misinterpreted.

I want to clarify that I will not be part of any arrangement that compromises the GPO’s independence in the legislature.

The people of Guelph elected a Green MPP, and I will serve as a Green MPP. We will not be “joining forces” with the Liberals or any other party. Cooperation does not equal “joining forces” or changes to party status.

In my pledge to do politics differently, I have talked about being open to cooperation with any party in the Legislature to make life better for our province.

I believe hyper-partisanship is one reason so many people are disillusioned by politics as usual. I want to work hard to change that. As a Green MPP, I want to work across party lines, represent people first and hold the government to account.

I am open to cooperation with any party in the house if it aligns with our priorities and helps us move our goals forward. This is part of my commitment to doing politics differently. I am reaching out to the PC, NDP and Liberal leaders this week to explore ways to work together.”

On Twitter yesterday, Mike Schreiner clarified the confusion about what cooperation would mean for the Green Party.

Schreiner makes history in Guelph

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GUELPH, ON — Guelph made history tonight, electing Mike Schreiner to Queen’s Park. He becomes the first Green MPP ever elected into the provincial legislature.

Tonight, we made history. We showed Ontario what can happen when you vote for what you believe in. Tonight, we stood up for the people and places we love.”

Schreiner took the riding with 45% of the vote in a campaign that swept through Guelph over the last twenty-eight days, with a record number of volunteers and endorsements from media and prominent community leaders that spanned the political spectrum.

“Friends, this result confirms that Guelph is absolutely the Green capital of Ontario. We are blessed to live here and tonight it is obvious that the people of Guelph recognize our responsibility to leave a better future and a healthy planet for the next seven generations, ” said Schreiner.

Schreiner’s message of doing politics differently clearly resonated with voters who were disillusioned with the status quo and eager to see a fresh voice bring honest answers and new ideas to Queen’s Park.

“Ontario joins British Columbia, PEI and New Brunswick now as provinces with strong the Green leadership. The Green wave is real and growing because we know that we must build a bridge a future where our children can thrive.”

 

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