News

Create better paying jobs by lowering taxes on small businesses

(Queen’s Park): The GPO is calling on the provincial government to lower taxes on small business.

“At Queen’s Park, there are two parties of big business and one party of no business,” says Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner. “Greens are the only party standing up for small business.”

“Small businesses feel under attack by Liberal governments,” says Schreiner. “We need to help small businesses create more jobs and better paying jobs. We will do this by making it less expensive for businesses to create those jobs.”

The GPO is calling on the government to more than double the Employer Health Tax (EHT) exemption. Businesses with payroll of less than $5 million would not be charged the EHT on the first $1,000,000 of their payroll. The policy would help small businesses save up to approximately $20,000 per year and inject over $800 million into our local economies.

There are over 400,000 small businesses in Ontario. Small and medium-sized enterprises do more to create jobs, support sustainable local economies, and bring new ideas to market than any other kind.

“If we want more good paying jobs in Ontario, then the government needs to lower taxes on those jobs,” says Mike Schreiner.

The GPO’s tax reduction plan for small businesses will also help entrepreneurs and small business owners adjust to a rapidly rising minimum wage.

“I have always done my best to pay my employees fairly,” said Neil Kudrinko, award winning entrepreneur and owner of Kudrinko’s in Westport. “My biggest disappointment is the speed of the changes and lack of consultation and support to help me as an employer adjust to the changes. As is, this has definitely put a chill on my HR decision making.”

“We need to support small businesses in paying a living wage to workers,” says Schreiner. “The GPO is the only party with a balanced plan to support small businesses and living wages for workers.”

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

Sign our petition to support lowering taxes on small business.

 

Ontario Liberals abandon Ontario’s forests

Send a message on this issue>>

GPO leader Mike Schreiner made the following statement on the closing of the Ontario Tree Seed Plant:

“I’m deeply disappointed in the Ontario Liberal’s decision to close the door on the 94-year old Ontario Tree Seed Plant–a public institution that is a world leader in preserving biodiversity, protecting the environment and supporting the province’s forestry sector. 

Just like the privatization of Hydro One, the Liberals are again being extremely short-sighted. We need the Ontario Tree Seed Plant now more than ever because of the stress on trees caused by climate change and pressures of development.

This decision is a slap in the face of the province’s forestry sector and undermines Ontario’s biodiversity efforts. 

Why are the Liberal’s choosing to be negligent in closing this 94-year old institution? We need to be active in protecting our biodiversity. Moving backwards on environmental issues is what Trump does. We shouldn’t be bringing that short-sighted thinking to Ontario.”

Background

Ontario’s forest trees are under tremendous stress from invasive pests and diseases. Emerald ash borer, beech bark disease, butternut canker, white pine blister rust and dutch elm disease are just a few examples currently causing havoc. 

The Ontario Tree Seed Plant gathers, processes and store trees seeds from across the many seed climate zones of the province. It protects that genetic diversity of our forests so that we can find varieties resistant to foreign pests and we can assist the migration in response to the rapidly changing climate zones.

For almost a century, Ontario has had an institution dedicated to protecting the genetic diversity of our forest trees. The reference to a replacement “genetic seed archive” is unclear and won’t have the volumes or collection mechanisms necessary to mitigate the challenges our forests face today. Help us save the Ontario Tree Seed Plant by sending a message to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry today.

Reference 

Ontario Tree Seed Facility
https://www.ontario.ca/page/buy-ontario-tree-seeds-or-cones

Shanah Tovah!

Rosh Hashanah begins this evening at sunset and marks the beginning of the new year for those of Jewish faith.

The first of the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah is a time to focus on personal renewal. Friends and family will come together to reflect on the past and look forward with optimism to the year ahead.

To all those celebrating, we wish you a peaceful and prosperous year ahead. Shanah Tovah!

 

Real People, Real Solutions – Sweet Meadow Farms

Real People, Real Solutions is a series of interviews with people who are making a difference in communities across Ontario. Hosted by GPO leader Mike Schreiner.

Ontario is home to many incredible people and organizations who want to make a difference and make the world a better place. In this video series, GPO Leader Mike Schreiner aims to tell their stories – to show off the good Ontario has to offer, and hopefully, inspire others to do their part in giving back to their communities.

In this first episode, Mike talks to Maureen Bostock and Elizabeth Snyder, from Sweet Meadow Farm in Balderson, ON, where they have grown certified organic vegetables and buckwheat for the last 15 years.

People want good food they can trust. That’s why it’s important to promote and support local organic farmers in our communities.

About Sweet Meadow Farm
Maureen Bostock farmed in northwest British Columbia for 10 years before moving in 2002 with her partner, Elizabeth, to Sweet Meadow Farm in Balderson, Ontario. There they grow certified organic vegetables on 6 ½ acres which are sold at the farm gate, at the Perth Farmers’ Market, to a local alternative grocery store and to other organic/local distribution programs in the area.

Sweet Meadow Farm, Balderson, ON
http://lanarklocalflavour.ca/users/sweet-meadow-farm

Family farms and prime farmland must be preserved

(Walton, ON): “Family farms are hurting and prime farmland is disappearing,” says Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner at the 2017 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo. “The Liberal government is not doing enough. Preserving farms and farmland are key to our economy, food security and climate action.”

Extreme weather events, volatile commodity markets and proposed tax changes are just some of the challenges farmers face. The GPO is pushing the government reduce the red tape that makes it harder for farmers to innovate and take advantage of new opportunities.  

Even the Liberal’s pot plan will freeze family farmers out of business opportunities. The GPO is opposed to the Liberal’s plan to monopolize marijuana sales, putting forward a cannabis legalization plan that would benefit local farmers, small businesses and rural economies. 

“The three parties at Queen’s Park always seem to put big business and big government ahead of small businesses and family farms,” says Schreiner. “Monopolizing marijuana is yet another example of freezing out local farmers and small businesses.”

“Ontario must loosen the restrictions and red tape that prevents innovation on family farms,” adds Schreiner. 

Profitable family farms are key to preserving prime farmland. Ontario is losing farmland at an unsustainable rate of 365 acres per day–equivalent to the size of Toronto each year. This threatens Ontario’s ability to feed its own people. This is simply wrong.

Schreiner issued his annual challenge to the other three party leaders to sign the Food and Water First Pledge to protect prime farmland and source water regions. He’s done this at each International Plowing Match since farmers launched the pledge campaign in 2013. 

“It is shameful and shortsighted that the Liberal, PC and NDP leaders refuse to defend prime farmland and source water regions that sustain us,” says Schreiner. “I am both proud and sad that I’m still the only political party leader to sign the Food and Water First Pledge.” 

The Food & Water First campaign is a citizen led effort inspired by the anti-mega quarry campaign. The goal is to have provincial law changed so that Class 1 farmland — the most fertile land — is protected in Ontario.                

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

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Celebrating Democracy Day!

Canada’s democracy could use a reboot to make it stronger.

Today is International Day of Democracy, a good time to push the Prime Minister to keep his promise to make the 2015 federal election the last under Canada’s outdated electoral system. Likewise, it is a good time to push Ontario’s political parties to support electoral reform in the lead up to the 2018 provincial election.

I will be celebrating by hosting a street party in support of Democracy Guelph—a cross-party, non-partisan group of citizens who want all votes to count. Democracy Guelph is working with electoral reform experts who support a form of proportional representation called Local Proportional Representation (LPR).

LPR was designed in response to what Canadians told the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform and the concerns and conditions expressed by the Prime Minister. LPR is a compromise PR system that reflects Canadian electoral values.

In Ontario, the Green Party will continue to support Proportional Representation (PR). We want every vote to count. We want a Legislature that reflects the democratic will of Ontarians. And we want diverse voices that represent all Ontarians at Queen’s Park.

People in Ontario are frustrated with the political status quo. They are tired of politicians like Premier Wynne who have 100 percent of the power with only 38 percent of the vote. False majority governments can act like dictators for four years between elections even though a majority of people did not vote for them. This leads to bad policies like moving gas plants, selling off Hydro One and building subway stops that are politically motivated.

Unless a party is supported by a majority of voters, PR systems tend to elect minority governments that reflect the democratic will of the voters. Such governments require cooperation and collaboration among parties. They tend to result in more stable, long-term policy directions that are less motivated by political self-interest because of the need to compromise.

I believe the people of Ontario want a better, stronger democracy. Today, International Day of Democracy, is a time to celebrate our democratic institutions and to pledge to make them better.

Monopolized marijuana a mistake

For immediate release
September 8, 2017

Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, made the following comment regarding the proposed regulations for marijuana sales:

“This looks like another Liberal plan to say a lot and do very little, supporting big corporations and political insiders over local small businesses. 

Having limited retail outlets across Ontario for legal marijuana will do virtually nothing to combat the huge illegal market. 

The Green Party does not support the monopolization of marijuana. The marijuana industry should be like the craft brewery industry – helping build local businesses, creating local jobs and contributing tax dollars to local communities across the province.

The GPO supports strict regulations and controls for marijuana sales. The government can license retails outlets with strict rules focused on safety and health for small businesses.  

This announcement at this time is a cynical ploy by the Liberals to divert attention from their ongoing legal scandals.”

Ontario needs a better deal from politicians at Queen’s Park

(Queen’s Park:) – Ontarians are getting an unfair deal from the scandal-plagued Liberal government at Queen’s Park.

Needless transit stops that cost billions and serve developers more than commuters. Another 180% increase in electricity rates to rebuild nuclear plants to generate power Ontario doesn’t need. Increasing threats to our drinking water.

That’s why the Green Party plans to hold all parties at Queen’s Park to account on these issues in the fall sitting of the Legislature.

“Government decisions should be about what is good for people, not politicians,” says Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner.

“I’m tired of the political games and partisan self-interest that goes on at Queen’s Park. We will continue to continue to work with Ontarians to demand action on issues that people care about,” adds Schreiner. “We are ready to deliver real solutions for people.”

Schreiner outlined the GPO’s three top priorities for fall sitting of the Legislature:

  1. Stop giving the nuclear industry billions of dollars to generate surplus power.
    Just say no. The government must turn down the 180% electricity price increase requested by the nuclear industry. Instead, the GPO supports investments in people’s homes and businesses to save money by saving energy.
  2. Stronger protections for drinking water.
    Public drinking water for people and communities must the province’s top priority when issuing water taking permits. We also need stronger protections against industrial activities in source water regions and water taking fees that cover the cost of sustainable water management.
  3. Protecting workers and middle class families from rising levels of inequality.
    Dreams of owning a home, having a stable job and a high quality of life are getting further away. Greens will push the government to raise social assistance rates, build transit that works for people and implement innovative solutions so people and families can afford a home. 

“We can’t wait until next year’s election to get action on inequality, electricity prices and water,” says Schreiner. “We will continue to mobilize people on doorsteps and in coffee shops to pressure the insiders at Queen’s Park to act.”

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

Activities at local quarry threaten Guelph’s water

Open letter: Action needed to protect our water in Guelph

Dear Hon. Minister Ballard,

Guelph’s drinking water is under threat. 

Activities at the River Valley Development’s (RVD) quarry, or Dolime Quarry as it’s known in Guelph, put the quality and quantity of local drinking water at risk. 

The City of Guelph has repeatedly asked the provincial government for action on this issue. 

I sincerely hope you can provide a new set of eyes on this file. The people of Guelph deserve to have the city’s water supply protected.

Since 2003, the City has sent letters to your Ministry raising concerns about the quarry’s threat to the quality and quantity of Guelph’s water supply. In February of 2009, a technical committee with experts from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Ministry of Environment (MOE), RVD, and the City concluded that quarry operations had created an environmental risk to Guelph’s water supply. On February 11, 2013 the City filed an application for a Leave to Appeal the amended Permit to Take Water (PTTW) for RVD’s Dolime Quarry. Ongoing negotiations have not resolved this matter. 

Thousands of Guelph residents have signed a petition calling on the province to protect our city’s water supply. In an unusual show of cross party cooperation all four of the major party candidates in the 2014 provincial election came together to support the City’s efforts to protect Guelph’s water.

Yet, RVD’s Dolime Quarry continues to threaten the quality and quantity of Guelph’s drinking water. 

The City has asked for four simple and fair conditions to be placed on RVD’s PTTW. These prudent and responsible requests would help protect Guelph’s source water:

1. Limit water pumping to the “historic average pumping rate”
2. Create a comprehensive long-term management plan for the quarry that protects Guelph’s water
3. Establish an effective monitoring program
4. Put in place financial assurances and legally enforceable requirements so that the quarry owner – rather than Guelph ratepayers – pays for long-term mitigation costs related to the quarry’s operation.

The City of Guelph’s conditions are reasonable and deserve action from your ministry. The people of Guelph need to know that when they turn the taps on clean water will flow. 

The MOECC has failed to show leadership on this file to date. As a relatively new Minister at MOECC, I’m asking you to step up. The people of Guelph deserve action. 

We now have an opportunity to fix this. The current permit, which the City opposed, is set to expire at the end of this year. Negotiations to address the City’s concerns have failed to date.
It is time for your Ministry to do the right thing — implement the four conditions requested by the City of Guelph.

Minister, I appreciate your consideration of my concerns regarding the threat posed to the quality and quantity of Guelph’s water supply by the activities of RVD’s Dolime Quarry. I urge you to act now. I’m available to discuss this matter in person if you would like to schedule a meeting. 

Sincerely,

Mike Schreiner
Leader, GPO

Submitted to:
Hon. Minister Chris Ballard
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2T5

September 7, 2017


 

Sign our petition to protect Guelph’s water from the Dolime Quarry here.

 

Labour Day: Supporting and celebrating workers

On this Labour Day, we pay tribute to the people who have worked hard to fight for strong rights, fair wages and safe workplaces for workers in this province. 

We are fortunate to live in a province and country where our laws protect us and ensure a safe workplace with fair wages. However, there is still work to be done. 

We must continue to build on the labour movement’s efforts to defend workers’ rights and ensure that we create quality full-time jobs in Ontario with living wages. 

Greens support a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour and fairer taxation for both workers and small businesses. We want to ensure that the implementation of a living wages benefits all workers, does not lead to job losses or a reduction in hours for workers. A living wages should benefit workers and employers. 

Greens also support efforts to reduce the rising trend of precarious and part-time work. We urge the government to provide stronger protections for employees who work irregular hours and for temporary and seasonal workers. 

Greens also support efforts to make it easier for workers to unionize and the right to bargain. Stronger unionization efforts is a step toward reversing the rising levels of income inequality in Ontario. 

The GPO is committed to working for a more responsible and just economy that protects, promotes, and respects all workers. Greens will continue to work hard to foster a prosperous economy that defends the people and places we love in Ontario. 

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