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Liberal government playing political games with climate innovation

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The climate crisis is too real and too serious for the Liberals to play election games with climate policy.  

Yesterday’s announcement of $300 million to fund ideas for reducing greenhouse gas pollution to be disbursed after the June election is more about politics than about addressing the climate crisis we face. Applications for the funding are due before the election in May, and funding is presumably dependent on re-electing the Liberals.

“People are sick and tired of the political games at Queen’s Park,” said Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner. “We are experiencing the costs of climate change right now and political games won’t solve the crisis.”

The government’s GreenON Challenge amounts to one percent of what the Liberals are wasting on their (un)Fair Hydro Plan to buy their way out of yet another Liberal scandal. If the Liberals were serious about fighting climate change, they would be using the billions they are spending to temporarily lower electricity rates on climate action.

“Borrowing billions to subsidize electricity primarily benefits the rich, undermines the province’s climate goals, and does nothing to fix the mess the Liberals have made of the electricity system,” said Schreiner. “Taking billions away from health care, education, and climate action to buy a Hydro band-aid is a political game that will hurt people and planet. Greens will continue to fight against these kinds of political games.”

The Green Party of Ontario is the only party with a serious and well-planned climate change strategy that will build the low-carbon economy that Ontarians and future generations need.

Mike Schreiner at Ryerson Democracy Forum

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Yesterday, Ontario’s four most powerful political party leaders took the stage to discuss the need for increased democratic engagement among youth and minority groups at Ryerson University, in a forum moderated by Toronto Star’s Martin Regg Cohn.

Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, joined Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, Progressive Conservative interim leader Vic Fedeli, and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, to share ideas on how to better engage young people.

In terms of addressing voter disengagement, Schreiner says, “I think all of us need to start a dialogue where we talk to people as citizens, instead of just taxpayers and voters. And as citizens, we have rights and responsibilities, such as the right to vote. But we also have responsibilities be more active participants in the political process.”

To do this, Schreiner proposes solutions such as increased education from Elections Ontario on campuses on how and where to vote and reducing the voting age to 16 to build a lifelong habit of voting.

Following the Leaders’ forum, Taylor Howarth, GPO Chair of Engagement and Outreach, joined a panel of political party strategists on how to further mobilize the youth to vote. “I think the question for young people in choosing who will form our next government, is ‘Are you investing in our future? What solutions does each party have going forward in invest in the youth’s future?’”, Howarth says.

Watch the full video below:


(Video: Ryerson University)

Or read more coverage about the event:

 

Canvass with us on Saturday, March 3rd!

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Next Saturday, March 3, we are hosting our first Super Saturday Canvasses across the province, snow, rain or shine! Super Saturdays are great ways to get involved as a volunteer, meet like-minded people, and make a difference.

Can you join us in Guelph to help elect the leader of the GPO, Mike Schreiner — or a canvass closer to you? We would love to see you there. If you are planning on attending, please RSVP here or call 888-647-3366.

Guelph – Campaign to Elect Mike Schreiner 
Date: Saturday March 3, 2018
Time: 10 AM start time, another shift starting at 2 PM
Location: Meet at the campaign office: 163 Suffolk St W, Guelph, ON N1H 2J7
More details: Lunch & training will be provided!
RSVP: RSVP online or by calling 888-647-3366
Local contact: Sandra – sandrawalsh@gpo.ca

Other Locations

Parry Sound Muskoka: Campaign to Elect Matt Richter 

Date: Saturday March 3, 2018
Time: 12:30 PM start time
Location: Tim Hortons on HWY 60, 44 HWY 60, Huntsville, ON
RSVP: RSVP online or by calling 888-647-3366
Local contact: Sophie – sophielovell@gpo.ca

Kingston: Campaign to Elect Robert Kiley
Date: Saturday March 3, 2018
Time: 1:30 PM
Location – please RSVP for a location meet up
RSVP: Email steveward@gpo.ca or phone 613-329-7954
We will be doing a literature postcard drop. No experience required! There will be free pizza!

University Rosedale (Toronto): Campaign to Elect Tim Grant
Date: Saturday March 3, 2018
Time: 9 AM and again at 1 PM
Location: TBD somewhere along the Bloor line – please rsvp for more information!
RSVP: RSVP online or by calling 888-647-3366
Local contact: Tim – timgrant@gpo.ca

No matter which canvass you are joining, please bring comfortable footwear, warm, weather-appropriate clothing, and a reusable water bottle. Looking forward to a great day!

RSVP NOW

Real solutions needed to put people before politics

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“We need people powered change to clean up the mess at Queen’s Park,” says Schreiner. "The sad state of Ontario politics has real world consequences."

Happy Lunar New Year!

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Today marks the beginning of Lunar New Year – a celebration of light and sound, where communities come together to mark the beginning of the year of the dog.

The most important date in the Lunar calendar, this holiday is beautiful. Celebrated with parades, dragon dances, the exchange of gifts, and spending time with family and loved ones.

New Year’s celebrations are important for all of us, as they offer the opportunity for renewal and to find peace moving forward in to the year ahead.

The Leader, Mike Schreiner, and the Green Party of Ontario would like to wish all who are celebrating a happy and prosperous New Year!

My Reflections on Black History Month by Kevin Sutton

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February has become a time to reflect on and honour the history of the black experience in Canada. It is a legacy of both tragedy and triumph, of both hope and frustration, of bold dreams and relentless perseverance. We remember freedom-seekers sidelined from our collective memory because of the colour of their skin, and recognize that for all the progress we have made, the marginalization continues. This is a month where we renew our vows, enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to challenge the scourge of racism and embrace one another with dignity and respect.

February has become a time that inspires new heroes to step forward and persevere toward this dream. This year more than most. As powerful new voices drive social justice to the fore, they are opposed and frustrated by forces still representing the tragic side of our Canadian legacy – a history that made declaring a Charter of Rights and Freedoms necessary, and leaves us with a long way to go before we can reconcile with the Truth. This year we find ourselves in the position of making a choice – between stagnating and repeating our frustrating tragedies, or stepping forward into the dream of what Canada could be: the shining light of hope in the hearts of freedom seekers on an underground railroad, who envisioned a verdant land, lush with promise.

So when I reflect upon the Canadian black experience, when the cold air of February fills my lungs and swells my chest, I lift my chin and face its frigid wind. Because I choose to remember the triumphant spirit of freedom seekers and hopeful dreamers persevering through frustration and tragedy. I choose to join a diversity of powerful voices in bringing what was underground to light. I choose to persevere and progress toward a vision of Canada hoped for, and so doing fulfill that promise of pastures lush and Green.

Kevin Sutton is a community organizer, spoken word performer, equity and diversity facilitator and Guelph Greens volunteer coordinator.

Welcoming Sly Castaldi to the race for Guelph

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“Congratulations to Sly Castaldi on her nomination as the Liberal candidate in Guelph,” said Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner.

“I have great respect for Ms. Castaldi and her efforts in the community, particularly her strong voice in the fight to end violence against women,” added Schreiner.

Big party politics comes with its own challenges, including the need to toe the big party line.

“As a Liberal candidate, I wonder if Ms. Castaldi will be able to put people in Guelph first over toeing the party line? For example, will she be able to stand up for affordable housing units for new developments, like the proposed new condo at Wellington and Wyndham St?”

The Liberals have proposed weak and ineffective fixes to the housing affordability crisis. Housing advocates have called the Liberals’ affordable housing plan “a monstrous failure,” one that amounts to “picking municipal pockets to line the pockets of developers,” according to one city Councilor.

The proposed changes are merely paying lip service, placing an unusually low cap on the voluntary allocation of affordable units in a new development at 5% or 10% in high density locations, and requiring municipal governments to use property taxes to pay an unprecedented 40 percent of the cost.

Meanwhile, some families are being pushed out of this great city because of housing costs.

“I challenge Ms. Castaldi and the Liberal Party to put the needs of people in Guelph first,” said Schreiner. “The Green Party is calling for new developments to include 1 new unit of affordable housing for every 5 new houses or condos. Will the big Liberal machine follow the Green Party’s lead to create real change in making homes affordable?”

The Green Party of Ontario is working to make history in the June 7, 2018 provincial election. The party intends to run a full, gender balanced slate of candidates for the upcoming campaign.

Cities Deserve Library Funding

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The Honourable Daiene Vernile
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
900 Bay St
Hearst Block, 9th Floor
Toronto, ON, M7A 2E1

February 13, 2018

Dear Hon. Minister Vernile:

I’m writing to encourage you to support increased funding for public libraries.

This issue came up a number of times last week during the pre-budget hearings we both attended in Kitchener.

Today, Guelph City Council will review and vote on the business plan for a new City of Guelph main library. The business case for the library is an important reminder of the essential role libraries play in supporting affordable, livable communities.

The Guelph vision for the future of our library highlights the evolving role of libraries in our communities. Libraries serve as inclusive community hubs that connect citizens with information, services  and each other. Increasingly, libraries play an essential role in bridging the digital divide, reducing the effects of poverty and providing access to information and digital services. Modern libraries are economic incubators that support innovation, entrepreneurism and community economic development. Libraries welcome new Canadians to our communities, support literacy and ESL services.

Libraries provide cities and towns with economic, social and community benefits.

Yet, for 20 years the provincial government has frozen the budget to support local libraries. This is a short-sighted move by the province with long term consequences. This policy of freezing library funding means libraries have 42% less money today due to inflation and places a further burden on an already stressed municipal property tax base to provide the services citizens need and want.

Minister, municipalities such as Guelph are making important investments in upgrading public libraries—like the very building in which we met last week in Kitchener.

It’s time for the provincial government to support these essential community investments by ending the 20 year budget freeze on funding support for local libraries. I encourage your government to support the Ontario Library Association’s request for a funding increase for public and First Nations libraries from $33 million to $50 million for 2018 with subsequent increases in line with the Consumer Price Index.

Minister, every dollar invested in libraries generates over $6 in local economic impact benefiting the people of Ontario.

It’s time to end the 20 year budget freeze on funding for libraries.

Sincerely,

Mike Schreiner
Leader, Green Party of Ontario

 

 

 

Hydro One sale will cost Ontario billions

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Queen’s Park — Mike Schreiner, GPO leader, made the following statement regarding today’s report from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario:

“The Liberals have been conned into selling an asset that paid Ontario dividends each and every year,” says Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Ontario Green Party.

According to the Financial Accountability Officer of Ontario, the partial sale of Hydro One will cost the Ontario government 1.8 billion dollars in cash flow over time.

“It would have been cheaper and more responsible to be honest about paying for transit, rather than selling off a public asset,” adds Schreiner. “Instead we are facing a staggering loss of revenue. Liberal hydro policies are about short-term gain, but it is long-term pain for the people of Ontario.”

The sell-off of Hydro One was a Liberal mistake that we will all pay for in the end.

“The people of Ontario built Hydro One over decades into the wealthy transmission and distribution utility it is now, a huge public asset,” according to Schreiner.

“Hydro One used to be a foundational utility supporting the economy of Ontario–paying a dividend each year to fund public services that benefit people,” says Schreiner. “The Liberals have squandered those benefits and lost control of our electricity system.”

To compound the problem, the new privatized Hydro One bought U.S. Avista last year, which has a stake in coal: the dirtiest power generator available.

The big-three-status-quo parties continue to be dishonest about where we get our power from and how we really pay for it. The purchase of Avista last year undermines the Liberals’ stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

“Like the PC’s before them, the Liberals have once again put short-term political gain before good policy that works for people,” says Schreiner. “Investments in infrastructure are critical to our province, but we shouldn’t fund today’s projects with an expensive political shell game that will cost us billions more in the future.”

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