Schreiner: Seize the $6 trillion global clean jobs opportunity

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KITCHENER, ON — Today in Canada’s tech hub, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner announced his plan to leap into the future by embracing jobs in clean innovation, advanced manufacturing, and low-carbon goods that the other parties are ignoring.

“I’m deeply concerned just how little talk there has been from the status quo parties about how to replace the 300,000 lost manufacturing jobs across southwestern Ontario. We need to skate to where the puck is going and not where it’s been, and Greens will support this region to be a world leader in cleantech innovation,” said Schreiner.

Already in Canada, 274,000 people work in the clean energy sector. In Ontario alone, there are already 5,000 cleantech companies employing 130,000 people and contributing $19.8 billion to Ontario’s economy. And yet none of the other parties are talking about what will drive future prosperity to fund good public services in this province.

“If you listen to Ford, he is denying the clean economy even exists or that we need to innovate to tackle climate change. One hundred years ago, it would be like supporting the horse-and-buggy industry over the auto sector. And we’re hearing nothing from the NDP about the environment or the economy because they are so loyal to old industries,” said Schreiner.

Greens would redirect the $3.1 billion in business support programs that currently have no criteria towards clean economy jobs, helping companies to lead and scale up. And a new $4.1 billion green building initiative would provide grants and interest free loans for homeowners, renters and businesses to save money by saving energy.

“For every dollar invested in the clean economy you can create seven times more jobs than the same dollar invested in the old economy. If you want good jobs, then vote for the party that is supporting the jobs that will be the engines of prosperity for our communities,” said Schreiner.

 

Endangered species at risk of another four years of status-quo politics

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QUEEN’S PARK, ON — On International Day for Biological Diversity, the Green Party of Ontario is calling attention to the Liberal government’s categorical failure to protect the approximately 237 species at risk found in Ontario.

“Five years ago the Liberals gutted the Endangered Species Act  to make it easier for the forestry, aggregates, mining and energy sectors to run roughshod over Ontario’s sensitive wildlife habitats. Loopholes and exemptions turned the Act from a source of pride to a source of shame,” said Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner.

It is accepted knowledge in the scientific community that we are on the verge of a sixth mass extinction – a biological annihilation of wildlife – with today’s rapid loss of species estimated to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times the natural rate. A 2016 study found that humans have destroyed one tenth of the Earth’s wilderness in the last 25 years.

With these sobering statistics in mind, Greens are calling for urgent reform to the Endangered Species Act to reverse Liberal changes that effectively re-engineered the legislation to serve companies rather than wildlife and habitats.

“Climate change and development pressures are putting enormous strain on biodiversity. Without the proper safeguards in place in Ontario, we will decimate our plant and animal life.” said Schreiner.

The environment commissioner agrees with Schreiner. Last October’s scathing report found the Liberals had abdicated their responsibility to the species most at risk.

“With each passing year, the extent of this failure becomes more clear — the Ministry [of Natural Resources and Forestry] has reduced what should have been a robust system for protecting species at risk to what is largely a paper exercise,” said Dianne Saxe.

While Ford promises to drive a bulldozer over environmental protections and Horwath remains AWOL on the environment, Greens are the only party offering greater protection for the places we love in Ontario.

Our plan calls for a freeze to urban sprawl, extending the Greenbelt to include the region’s drinking water sources, and an immediate ban on logging in Algonquin Park. Find out more at www.gpo.ca/vision.

 

Suspect timing of Greenbelt expansion plan

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Statement from Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, on the Liberals’ announcement they would expand the Greenbelt.

“The timing of this Greenbelt expansion plan is suspect, and it smells of another opportunistic power-buying ploy from the Liberals. This is yet another example of cynical politics.

If protecting prime farmland, sensitive wetlands and wildlife habitat was truly a priority, then Kathleen Wynne would not be announcing this on the heels of Doug Ford’s leaked video.

She would not be giving the go ahead to the Midhurst Mega development that threatens farmland and water in Simcoe County. She would sign the Food and Water First Pledge to protect prime farmland and source water regions in Ontario.

Greens will continue to fight to protect the people and places we love in Ontario.

Unlike the Conservatives, we will say this privately and publicly, to farmers, developers and environmentalists.

And unlike the Liberals, we will proudly stand by this position at all times, not just when it’s politically convenient.

“The Green Party supports a freeze of urban boundaries now to stop urban sprawl. We will restrict infrastructure development in the Greenbelt, including highways, quarries and pipelines that are chipping away at its integrity.

We would also expand the Greenbelt to include a Bluebelt of vulnerable and ecologically significant water sources that need protection now.”

Statement from Mike Schreiner on Earth Day 2018

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Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, made the following statement for Earth Day 2018.

“This Earth Day weekend, over 800 supporters joined me in welcoming Elizabeth May, David Suzuki, and a talented group of artists to Guelph’s largest ever political rally. Dr. Suzuki said something that struck me: “In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need a Green Party because Green values should form the basis of everything that we do.”

His words remind me of how we need to all work together to tackle the environmental challenges that lie ahead of us.

What unites Greens globally, in fact unites us all, is a recognition of our responsibility to protect air, water and land. These are the building blocks of healthy communities and prosperous economies, not things that can be sacrificed in pursuit of those ends.

Greens are being elected around the world, and across Canada there are now Green MLAs in New Brunswick, PEI and British Columbia. The momentum is building. As people in Ontario reject the cynical status quo, they are being inspired by our vision for a more inclusive and sustainable society that puts people and planet first.

It is unfortunate that in 2018, the health of our environment is not part of everyday political conversation. You can rest assured that in this upcoming provincial election, I will defend our air, water and land. I will not compromise our environmental principles to satisfy a narrow-minded and outdated view of the economy, because you and I know that without a clean environment we have no economy.

Thanks to all of you who are working to make our province a better place, today and every day.” Happy Earth Day. On June 7th, Let’s Make History.”

New Democrats absent without leave on environment and climate

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TORONTO, ON – The uninspiring platform released today by the Ontario NDP confirms that protecting the environment is not on the radar of the province’s third party.

“This platform confirms that the New Democrats cannot be trusted on climate action,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner. “Nor does the platform provide a bold vision for how Ontario can leap into the future now to be a leader in cleantech innovation, advanced manufacturing or energy efficiency.”

The platform makes no mention of climate change or the environment in its five changes for the better and buries the few actions it would take in one of thirteen platform sub-categories.

The New Democrats are not shy about emptying the vault for important social issues, but the party is content to starve environmental programs. Absent are any targets for reducing greenhouse gases or increasing renewable energy. The section on jobs makes no mention of seizing opportunities in the low-carbon economy for advanced manufacturing, cleantech, green retrofits and renewable energy. And when it comes to issues like sustainable public transportation, there is nothing bold or visionary.

“Instead of leaping into the future with jobs that put people and the planet first, the NDP platform desperately holds onto an old economic vision that no longer works in the twenty-first century,” said Schreiner.

We need voices at Queen’s Park to take strong positions on the environmental challenges we face. We need MPPs who will stand up to the nuclear lobby, call out Premier Wynne’s free pollution permits to the large companies, and offer a hopeful vision for a clean economy.

“The ideas coming from the NDP barely move the needle, let alone tackle the climate crisis. Tinkering on the margins is just not going to cut it,” added Schreiner.

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.

Grassy Narrows needs local Mercury Home and Treatment Centre

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TORONTO – The Green Party of Ontario fully supports the call by the people of Grassy Narrows for construction of a local Mercury Home and Treatment Centre to help the survivors of decades of mercury poisoning in the First Nations community.

GPO Leader Mike Schreiner says Grassy Narrows residents should not have to travel to distant health facilities, where they report intense loneliness and alienation because they are separated from their families, their community and their culture.

“It is shameful that successive Ontario governments ignored the devastating impact of mercury poisoning on the people of Grassy Narrows. We owe them proper treatment close to home,” said Schreiner. “It is wrong to force people to travel hundreds of kilometres to receive the health care they deserve.”

Grassy Narrows Chief Simon Fobister has said researchers have concluded that more than 90 per cent of the people in Grassy Narrows and the nearby Wabaseemoong (White Dog) First Nation have symptoms of mercury poisoning, including neurological problems and birth defects.

A 2016 report, recently published by The Toronto Star, found mercury contamination in the area has lingered for decades and likely still does, despite repeated assurances from public officials over the years that there was no ongoing source of mercury in local rivers.

As scientists sounded the alarm that the neurotoxin was poisoning the fish and the people who eat it, “government official after government official kept repeating that there was no ongoing source of mercury in the Wabigoon River that is the lifeblood of Grassy Narrows,” reported the Star.

“It was a betrayal for successive provincial governments to hide the fact they knew mercury was still present at a former paper mill in Dryden. We can not tolerate environmental racism in Ontario,” said Schreiner.

“No one wants to live in a province that allows people to be poisoned.”

The mercury contamination also destroyed the local economy by forcing the closure of the commercial fishing industry. The Liberals must take real action to clean up the mercury contamination.

“How can the Grassy Narrows First Nation thrive when the river they rely on for water, food and their economy continues to be poisoned by mercury?” asked Schreiner.

The Green Party will continue to support the Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations to make sure the government fulfills its duty to them.

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