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.

 

Mike Schreiner on The Agenda

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Last night, Mike Schreiner appeared on The Agenda with Steve Paikin to talk about what this election means to him, why it’s so significant to have a Green voice at Queen’s Park, and the Green Party’s platform for the upcoming election.

Some highlights:

“Elected Greens around the world and in Canada are showing that you can do politics differently. I feel like I can work and collaborate with parties, while the three establishment parties’ politics as usual is “let’s bash each other and tear each other down.” I’m more interested in building Ontario up. If that means working with other parties, we will do that.”

I know you are fighting for a seat in Guelph. Given the low expectations for the Party, why do it at all?

I got into politics because I thought the three establishment parties were failing us on three major issues. One is the climate crisis. Two is rising levels of inequality Three is just the toxic way in which politics is done in Ontario. I want to change all three. Elected Greens across Canada are doing that, and that’s the people powered change that I want to bring to Queen’s Park.

Make the case for why, in a Parliament with 124 members, why would one Green make a difference?

I’ve already made a difference. I led the charge to get big money out of politics in 2016. I worked with the Premier in helping write the Legislation to ban corporate and union donations to political parties, lower donation limits, and then worked with the two opposition leaders to get that done. That’s what doing politics differently is about.

When people see elected Greens in action, they then vote for more Greens because they like what they are seeing. That’s why PEI has doubled their caucus, that’s why BC has tripled their caucus, and now Andrew Weaver is showing that you can hold what he calls the “balance of responsibility” in a minority government.  In this case, the BC Greens hold them to their principles.  That’s the role I can play in a minority government in Ontario as well.

The  response has generally been positive for Mike’s appearance on The Agenda, see comments from Twitter below:

Following Mike Schreiner’s interview with Steve Paikin, a panel of energy and economics experts analyzed the Green Party of Ontario’s platform. Here are some excerpts from their discussion.

On the potential impact of Greens at Queen’s Park

“The history of small parties is a history of big ideas. The Green surge in 2007 sent a strong message to the governing Liberals that there was a real constituency for green ideas,” Toby A.A. Heaps, Corporate Knights Magazine

On replacing nuclear with water power from Quebec

“The opportunity to import from other provinces is absolutely a practical way of replacing the 10,000 MW from nuclear power,” Celine Bak, Analytica Advisors

“Some provinces are able to produce electricity better than others. We should think less about sovereignty and self-sufficiency and think more about generating electricity from the least cost producers,” Trevor Tombe, Department of Economics, University of Calgary

On the clean economy

“We should be confident in the opportunities described by the Green Party’s plan for the clean economy and jobs,” Celine Bak, Analytica Advisors

On a fully costed platform

“The Greens are the only party to put forward their ideas with full costing of how they’re going to pay for them. If you’re fiscally responsible, there’s only one choice this election,” Toby A.A. Heaps, Corporate Knights Magazine.

Schreiner: Liberals should say no to Hydro One’s proposed merger with Avista

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In response to news that Hydro One’s acquisition of Avista passed another hurdle, Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, said the following:

“The Ontario government must use its position as the largest shareholder in Hydro One to say no to its proposed merger with Avista Corporation.

Ontarians breathed a sigh of relief when we got off of coal in 2014. It was a moment to be proud of in the fight against climate change. But now Hydro One is getting back into the coal game, acquiring a US company with a major stake in one of the country’s largest coal-fired generating plants. How can the Liberals claim to be climate leaders when they’re happy to get into bed with big polluters south of the border?

The disastrous privatization of an important public asset has given rise to a multinational corporation whose bottom line is making profits for private shareholders, whether this means higher bills for the people of Ontario or pumping more greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere. By selling ownership in Hydro One, Ontario can no longer keep our hands clean from dirty energy projects that worsen the climate crisis. This is wrong.”

Open Letter to Ontario Broadcasters Group regarding Green Party exclusion from May 27 debate

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To: Ontario Broadcasters Group
℅ Mackay Taggart
News Director
Global News Toronto
mackay.taggart@globalnews.ca

Dear Mr. Taggart:

With the final televised provincial leaders debate approaching, I respectfully urge the Ontario Broadcasters Group to reconsider its decision to exclude the Green Party of Ontario.

To date more than 25,000 Ontarians have signed petitions calling for fair debates that include all four major parties. You can see these petitions at www.fairdebates.ca and www.MikeAtTheMic.ca. We have the support of Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath, as well as multiple journalists who believe our voice should be at the table. It is with this significant backing that I write this letter.

Televised leaders debates are an important part of our democracy and have far-reaching implications for the outcome of elections. I believe decisions about participation in these debates should be fair, transparent and made by people accountable to voters in Ontario.

That said, I recognize that the Ontario Broadcasters Group has the decision-making authority in this case. Therefore, you have a significant responsibility to the voters to present fair debates that accurately represent the political landscape and the options on June 7th. By excluding the Green Party, you are failing in that responsibility to the people of Ontario.

First, your insistence that a party must have a seat in the provincial legislature ignores the broad support the Green Party has across Ontario and Canada. Greens have been elected to provincial legislatures of BC, PEI and New Brunswick. In all of these cases, the election of Greens was preceded by their inclusion in televised debates. And in the last Ontario election, our party received over 233,000 votes and nearly 5% of the popular vote. By limiting our visibility, you are ignoring a growing movement – whose reach is global, with Greens elected in countries from Iceland to Germany.

Second, the decision ignores our credibility as one of the four major parties in Ontario. We have run a full slate of candidates in every election since 2003, and this year our full slate includes 52% women candidates. We have released a costed platform that touches on all major issues in the province. And most importantly, we are one of four parties to receive enough votes to qualify for public funding under Elections Ontario rules.

In our view it is simple: if a party qualifies for public subsidies, then it should be held accountable in the televised leaders debates. By silencing our voice, you are denying Ontarians the right to hear a viable vision for Ontario that their tax dollars are supporting. This is a disservice to democracy.

Third, as I have toured the province and spoken out on this issue, I have been told by countless media personalities and Ontarians of all political stripes that it is unacceptable that I am being shut out. In an online poll by the Toronto Star, 69% of people responded unequivocally that Greens should be included, while another 15% responded that Greens should be included if the other parties agree to it.

With this broad support from politicians, media and the people of Ontario, I ask whether you can stand behind your original decision?

There is still time to do the right thing. There are four major parties in this province – not three. I ask that you provide the voters of Ontario with the true picture of this election and allow them access to the views and policies of all four major parties.

Sincerely,

Mike Schreiner
Leader, Green Party of Ontario

cc:
Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier and Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario NDP
Doug Ford, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

Greens would impose hard cap on CEO salaries

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QUEEN’S PARK — The revelation that Hydro One board members voted to raise their salaries amidst a downturn in share price illustrates the extent of Liberal mismanagement on hydro.

“This is a by-product of Kathleen Wynne’s privatization boondoggle. By selling off Hydro One, the Liberals have not only given away an important public asset, they have allowed the worst impulses of the private sector to contaminate what should be a public good,” said Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner.

“Greens would cap executive salaries for those in the Ontario Public Service at double the Premier’s salary,” added Schreiner. “People putting their expertise in service of Ontarians should be compensated fairly, but we absolutely need a firm cap to prevent outrageous raises like this.”

Wynne’s argument that privatization was needed in order to fund transit is another band-aid solution from a government that has made a habit out of using shoddy accounting and cheap ploys to woo voters.

“The sale of Hydro One was the height of short-term thinking from the Liberals – slow the bleeding today by creating deeper wounds tomorrow,” said Schreiner. “Their unFair Hydro Plan will do the same in the near future.”

Meanwhile, Doug Ford can sloganeer, hold rallies and pretend to be a champion for the people, but the little we know about his vision for Ontario makes clear his true colours.

“A totally unnecessary tax cut for the wealthiest corporations and a shady backroom deal to open up the Greenbelt for profit-hungry developers – these are not the actions of a politician acting for the people,” said Mike Schreiner.

Greens won’t mortgage the future to fund essential social services or transit projects. We are the only party putting forward honest revenue generating solutions such as road pricing and a fair public return on our natural resources.

“Amidst all of the mud-slinging and name-calling from the status quo parties, the Greens are showing Ontarians how we can do politics differently with a hard cap on CEO salaries and real solutions to raise money for better services for people,” said Schreiner.

Schreiner announces game-changing plan for building world-class transit

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MISSISSAUGA, ON — At the Streetsville GO Station in Mississauga this afternoon, Green Party Leader, Mike Schreiner outlined what no other party leader has had the courage to: an honest and sensible plan for funding world-class transit in Ontario.

“Greens do politics differently, and this is what we mean – being honest about paying for the infrastructure we need. Other parties promise the moon to Ontarians without telling them how they are going to pay for it. Greens know that magic money and fairy dust will not fund two-way all-day GO service. We will build the clean, affordable transit system that all Ontarians want and we won’t do it by maxing out our credit card,” said Schreiner, alongside Mississauga-Streetsville candidate, Abhijeet Manay.

The Green Party will invest $35 billion over 4 years in transit infrastructure, an increase of $1 to $1.5 billion per year over projections in the 2018 budget, and will fund 50% of the operating costs of municipal transit systems. A commitment to funding the Hurontario LRT is an essential part of the GPO plan.

To pay for this record investment in transit, Schreiner will follow the lead of other forward-looking metropolitan cities that have instituted road pricing – through tolls, congestion charges, parking levies and land value taxes in Toronto.

“I’m going to do what the economists, the business leaders and the experts all say we need to do. I have the courage of my convictions on this. While the other parties talk a good game about transit, I’m the only one backing it up with a real plan for getting Ontario moving,” added Schreiner.

The party’s commitment to sustainably funded and publicly owned mass transit earned it top grades on the TTCRiders’ report card a few weeks ago, ahead of the status-quo parties.

“It’s time we get serious about investing in liveable communities. The twenty-first century will not be dominated by car culture and the Green Party is ready to rapidly build an electrified transit system that will meet our climate targets and efficiently move people and goods across this province,” said Schreiner.

Learn more at gpo.ca/our-platform.

Schreiner: Expand the Greenbelt and protect our water

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QUEEN’S PARK — The Green Party of Ontario is calling for an expansion of the Greenbelt to protect the major river systems of the Greater Golden Horseshoe, known as the Bluebelt, including the Grand River watershed and Simcoe Country river systems left out of the government’s study area.

The Bluebelt is an essential source of drinking water for over 9 million Ontarians who live in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

“Government has a responsibility to protect our most vital resource. The three status quo parties need to be clear on whether or not they support Bluebelt expansion to protect our drinking water,” said Green Party leader Mike Schreiner.

And it’s not just about drinking water. The food and farm sector in the Greater Golden Horseshoe alone contributes $12.3 billion and 212,000 jobs to our economy. Yet, we are losing an average of 350 acres of farmland every day, the size of the city of Toronto every year.

The Conservatives have been playing wedge politics, suggesting to Ontarians that they must choose between the Greenbelt and an affordable home. The Liberals meanwhile have cast themselves as defenders of the Greenbelt with a hastily announced expansion plan that includes no details – this after a public consultation process and no mention of the Greenbelt in their budget.

“Our water and farmland are more vulnerable than ever to status quo politicians whose wealthy lobbyists dictate their platform priorities. The Conservatives are untrustworthy and the Liberals are opportunistic. We deserve better,” said Schreiner.

The Green Party has pressured the Liberals for years to fix our broken water taking rules that allow quarries to dig below the water table and companies like Nestle to take 3.6 million litres of water per day on expired permits. While the Liberals conduct study after study into Greenbelt expansion, urban sprawl and threats to farmland and water grow.

“Floods will only get worse if Queen’s Park continues to drag its feet,” said Schreiner. “Paving over river systems and prime farmland is the most reckless thing we can do in the face of climate change. It’s long past time for the Bluebelt to be protected.”

Liberals: Spend Now, Pay Later

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Statement from Green Party of Ontario Leader, Mike Schreiner, on Spring 2018 Economic and Budget Outlook from the FAO.

“The Liberals are maxing out our children’s credit cards with their reckless approach to spending.

Their UnFair Hydro Plan to artificially lower hydro rates benefits those who can afford to use lots of power the most, and it will cost billions in the long run.

We need clean and affordable public transit and essential social programs like pharmacare and dental care. But we need to be honest about how we are going to pay for them. Magic money and fairy dust are not going to do the trick, nor is passing the check to future generations.

Greens are not afraid to raise resource royalty rates, increase taxes on big corporations, and impose congestion charges to pay for the services we need.  These are real solutions, and they are more responsible than funding our programs on the backs of our children. But the Liberals won’t ask their corporate donors and industry lobbyists to pay more because they’d rather have younger Ontarians foot the bill.

The Liberals are upfront about spending money, but shady about paying for it.”

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.”

International Workers’ Day

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In recognition of International Workers’ Day, Green Party of Leader, Mike Schreiner, issued the following statement:

“For over a century we have been marking the accomplishments of organized workers on International Workers’ Day, or May Day. The labour movement is without a doubt one of the most important social justice movements in modern society.

We have the labour to thank for many of the basic rights enshrined into law including the right to organize and negotiate for fair, safe and decent working conditions, the 2 day weekend and minimum wages.

Our economy is rapidly changing, and so to are the places where people work and the makeup of our workforce. The Green Party of Ontario recognizes the important role that unions will continue to play in strengthening our communities and our economy. We recognize the need to work together so that the rights of all workers are protected.

The Green Party of Ontario has a bold vision for building a new workforce in cleantech, advanced manufacturing, green retrofits and renewable energy sectors. We must leap into the future now to embrace 21st century jobs, and we know that it must be underpinned by strong and organized voices from the workers of today and tomorrow.”