Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner made the following statement regarding the Financial Commission of Inquiry announced by Premier Ford today:
Mike Schreiner, GPO leader and Guelph MPP, made the following statement regarding the PC announcement cancelling 758 renewable energy contracts:
“Today’s announcement by the Ford government that they are cancelling renewable energy projects is bad for business.
Cancelling contracts puts a chill on any business wanting to invest and create jobs in Ontario.
During the election, Premier Ford promised to put up an open for business sign. Clearly the only sign out right now says – in big letters – that Ontario is closed for business when it comes to the $7 trillion clean tech economy.
Renewable energy is good for the climate and for our economy. In fact, 274,000 Canadians have clean tech jobs with an average salary of $92,000 per year. The PC government is killing these good jobs.
Premier Ford has already misled people on how his hydro actions will save money. He said that the severance of Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt would cost nothing. The next day we learned about his $400,000 retirement package and $9 million in stock options.
How much will cancelling these renewable energy contracts really cost the people of Ontario?
If the PC government was serious about saving people money, the Premier would save $1.1 billion a year by closing the Pickering nuclear station on time. Instead, the Premier is costing us billions by keeping it open past its best before date.
Premier Ford is choosing to side with the powerful nuclear lobby rather than fix what’s really wrong with our broken energy system.
This is not a good deal for Ontario.“
Queen’s Park – Doug Ford and his PC caucus campaigned on saving money. But their first Throne Speech outlines a political agenda that will cost citizens big time.
“This plan announces that Ontario is closed for business for those companies wanting to create jobs in the clean economy – missing out on a $7 trillion dollar global economic market,” said GPO leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner.
The PC decision to pull Ontario out of cap-and-trade with no alternative plan has created uncertainty for businesses and risk for the people of Ontario, who could be on the hook for paying back the $2.8 billion in now worthless permits purchased by Ontario companies. It could cost even more in legal challenges.
“The PC plan will kill jobs and hurt clean economy businesses. It also takes money out of the pockets of people trying to save money by saving energy,” added Schreiner.
This is a plan that moves Ontario backwards. For example, it will cost $1.1 billion per year to keep the outdated overpriced Pickering nuclear station open past its best before date.
“I want to work with Premier Ford on building Ontario up, but is hard when he declares war on the modern world,” said Schreiner. “This applies to their non-existent plans to deal with the climate crisis, and the Premier’s plan to risk our children’s safety by going back to the 1998 sex education curriculum. We can’t let the Premier’s political agenda trump our children’s safety.”
The Green Party supports providing our children with the information and tools they need to be safe in the modern world. Cyber-bullying, sexting, consent, LGBTQ+ rights – these are all important parts of the updated curriculum that are critical to the health and well being of our children.
Schreiner and the Green Party will work to push the government to fulfill its commitment to increase support for mental health and addiction services, autism and long-term care beds, and will make every effort to work across party lines to improve important public services.
Mike Schreiner, GPO leader and MPP for Guelph, made the following statement in response to the government’s announcement to replace the modern Ontario Human Development and Sexual Health curriculum with the 1998 curriculum:
“Premier Ford seems to be declaring war on the modern world.
The PC decision to revert to the 1998 sex ed curriculum is a mistake that puts our children at risk. The old curriculum was developed before social media, text messages and smartphones. It is silent on consent, gender diversity and navigating the online world.
Learning about consent, especially within the context of social media and the online world, is more important than ever before. Our kids won’t be safe if they aren’t informed about the realities of the world we live in.
One of the criticisms the PCs are levelling at the current curriculum is that it was developed without adequate consultation. New consultations are promised ‘swiftly’, which begs the question of how adequate new consultations will be.
Literally thousands of Ontarians were consulted. It would appear that the Ford faithful were just unhappy with the results. Every child deserves to be protected in a world where sexting and cyberbullying are a reality.
Any parent can choose to have their child excused from the teachings of the up to date curriculum if they desire. But the government should not deny parents and students the choice of learning the new curriculum.
I fully support the new Ontario Human Development and Sexual Health curriculum. I will work hard to make sure our children have the information and tools they need to be safe in the modern world.”
QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner, GPO leader and MPP-elect for Guelph, made the following statement on Ontario’s announcement today cancelling cap-and-trade:
“Cancelling Ontario’s plan to price greenhouse gas pollution without announcing an alternative is reckless and irresponsible.
The Premier could literally put money in people’s pockets by adopting the Green Party’s carbon fee and dividend plan.
Premier Ford is telling clean economy companies that Ontario is not open for business.
I’m ready to work with the Premier on solutions.
Ontario can address the climate crisis in a way that creates jobs, benefits our economy and leaves a livable planet for our kids and grandkids.
Instead, Premier Ford is gambling with our future.”
You can also read Mike Schreiner’s open letter to Premier Ford.
Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, issued the following statement on the swearing-in of Premier Ford:
“Congratulations on being sworn in as 26th Premier of Ontario and to your cabinet ministers who will be stepping into important positions of responsibility. I am ready to work with you across party lines to build Ontario up in a way that protects the people and places we love.
I look forward to finding common ground with you and your caucus, while holding you accountable on issues that my constituents in Guelph and people across Ontario care deeply about.
This includes showing leadership on climate change with a real plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, create jobs in the clean economy and help people and businesses save money by saving energy. I hope your decision to remove ‘climate change’ from the Ministry of the Environment is not an indication of your commitment to addressing the climate crisis.
I hope you will also agree that strengthening our relationships with First Nation, Metis and Inuit people is critical for our province and country. I am concerned that your decision to assign the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs to a Cabinet member responsible for other ministries could divert attention away from achieving true reconciliation.
While your cabinet brings together many accomplished individuals, it is notable for its lack of diversity. There is only one member from a visible minority group, which is in stark comparison to the four million Ontarians who identify as such.
All governments should strive for gender parity, so it is unfortunate that just 7 of of the 21 ministers named today are women. This is made more troubling by the fact that you have have reduced the Ministry of the Status of Women to a non-portfolio responsibility and unnecessarily changed the name to Women’s Issues.
I believe that, together, all MPPs at Queen’s Park can cooperate on sensible solutions that will benefit families, our economy, and our irreplaceable natural environment. I look forward to working with you and holding you accountable in the years ahead.”
Dear Premier-designate Ford:
I am writing to you on the eve of the swearing in of your government on behalf of the Green Party of Ontario, my constituents in Guelph and people from across the province who care about jobs, the environment and our economy.
I want to work with your government to help Ontario create jobs, save money and fight climate change. I was elected to Queen’s Park on a promise to do politics differently, and I am ready to find common ground with you to build this province up in a financially and environmentally sustainable way.
Climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity, and there is an urgency for all of us to act. Fortunately, what is good for our air and our planet is also generating jobs and prosperity.
You yourself acknowledged in the final leaders’ debate that climate change is real and human-caused. I want to believe you when you say this. Yet, since being elected, you have begun to dismantle programs designed to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, create jobs and lower utility bills. And you have done this without offering alternative solutions.
I urge you to reconsider this path.
First, the steps you are taking to pull Ontario out of cap-and-trade without a transition plan are reckless and unnecessary. You are creating uncertainty for businesses and risk for the people of Ontario, who could be on the hook for paying back the $2.8 billion in worthless permits purchased by Ontario companies.
By rushing to exit our agreements with California and Quebec, you are stoking the conditions for Ontario to be embroiled in courts battles and you are potentially putting taxpayers on the hook for billions in legal fees, penalties and other costs. Your actions are bearing the hallmark of the gas plant scandal, when decisions were pushed through by ideology and ego rather than logic and evidence.
I ask you to slow down. To consider the costs of your campaign slogans. To give businesses time to adjust. To show us a plan before killing what’s in place.
Second, climate denial – whether explicit or implicit – is bad for business. It is time to accept that pollution pricing works and that we need it to tackle climate change. 80% of economists say that it is the most market-friendly and low-cost option for reducing emissions. And across the world, 67 jurisdictions representing about half of the global economy, are implementing pollution pricing.
There is no evidence to support your talk of ‘job-killing carbon taxes’. In Ontario’s first year of cap-and-trade, unemployment shrunk from 6.4 to 5.5%, and GDP was at a seven-year high. In fact, the four provinces that led the the country in growth in 2017 were the ones with a price on carbon – Ontario, Quebec, BC and Alberta.
Pollution pricing is essential and it is coming, whether by Ontario’s design or by the hand of the federal government. It is time to give up the slogans, accept the facts and put forward a made in Ontario solution.
Third, I am deeply concerned about the message you are sending to businesses and to families. Advanced manufacturing, cleantech innovation, and energy efficiency are where job growth is happening and collectively it represents a $7 trillion global economic opportunity. Ontario’s cleantech sector employs 130,000 people. The corridor between Waterloo-Guelph-Toronto contains 14 of Canada’s top 20 tech companies who are creating the next generation of clean innovation and technology for the rest of the world.
Yet your decision to shut down Ontario’s GreenON rebate programs without notice is causing businesses to reconsider their investments in Ontario. You have told them that we are closed for business.
And to families who want to lower their bills by conserving energy, you have taken money out of their pockets and told them that they must do this alone.
Instead, you are pouring more money down the nuclear drain, costing us $1.1 billion per year to keep Pickering open. These savings could be shared with people. Is this what you meant by “help is on the way?”
If your goal is to create jobs and lower bills, I must ask why you are doing the exact opposite.
Fourth, inaction on climate change threatens our pocketbooks and our safety.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, severe weather such as wildfires, droughts and ice storms caused $4.9 billion in insurable damage in 2016. The last three years have been the hottest on record globally. It is estimated that Toronto will experience an average of 53 days of extreme heat annually in the future, putting seniors, young people and so many more at risk. Last month’s windstorm cost $380 million in damage. Devastating spring floods have become the norm. This is not the future I want for my daughters and I know it is not the future you want for your children either.
I do not need to remind you that Canada is part of the Paris Climate Agreement and obliged to make urgent efforts to keep warming below 1.5C. We are one of the top ten polluters in the world, and yet your actions have signalled that Canada’s largest province doesn’t care.
I hope you are not abandoning Ontario’s GHG reduction targets. These targets matter – to people here in Ontario and to the health of our planet. If the economic case is not enough to convince you, then I hope you will consider our shared moral responsibility to do what is right.
Finally, I believe we have common ground because we can fight climate change and put money in people’s pockets.. You have talked about returning money to taxpayers, and I want to remind you that this can be done with pollution pricing.
For years the Green Party has called for a revenue neutral carbon fee-and-dividend system that returns money back to people through dividend cheques. This gives companies the incentives they need to lower emissions without hurting people with modest and middle incomes. This is a way for you to keep your campaign promise without sacrificing the climate or our children’s future.
And instead of cancelling home energy retrofits altogether, you can replace GreenON with a more transparent and accountable Eco-energy Audit Program similar to the one cancelled by the Liberals. This successful and popular program put money in people’s pockets to improve their home’s energy performance verified by audits.
I hope you will listen to these and other sensible solutions. I want to work with you and the new cabinet.
But I also want to be clear that it is unacceptable for any government in 2018 to act as if the climate crisis doesn’t exist. I am asking for your plan – for a real climate change plan that includes a market-based price on pollution. That supports the clean economy. And that helps people to save money by saving energy.
Climate change is real and we face it together. You can be sure that I will be standing up for this fight every day at Queen’s Park.
Leader, Green Party of Ontario