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

Share:

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

Share:

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

Share:

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

Share:

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

Share:

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

Share:

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

Share:

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

Share:

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.”

Statement on National Day of Mourning

Share:

In recognition of National Day of Mourning, Green Party of Leader, Mike Schreiner, issued the following statement:

“Every day, millions of Ontarians head off to work, doing their part to keep our economy and our communities running. Today, we come together to remember workers who have lost their lives or been injured on the job.

It is easy to take for granted the advancements that have been made in workplace safety over the decades and to overlook the many individuals who have lost their lives in the process.

But still every year, too many people are injured, and even killed on the job, leaving their families, friends, and co-workers to wonder what could have been done to save their lives.

Workplaces are rapidly changing, presenting new challenges and new risks to workers and their safety.

We need to do more to ensure our workplaces are safe, including all types of work whether full time, part time or temporary. We have a responsibility to enact and enforce legislation to make our workplaces safe.

Every single Ontarian, no matter their occupation, deserves to return home safe at the end of the day.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath wants Mike at the Mic

Share:

QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath, has voiced her support for Mike Schreiner taking part in the televised debates, leaving PC Leader, Doug Ford, as the only leader yet to weigh in on fair televised debates.

“There’s no reason not to have Mike Schreiner there. The more discussion we have about public policy from various perspectives the better,” said Horwath over the weekend, as reported by Guelph Today.

To date, over 11,000 people have signed the non-partisan Fair Debates petition calling for all four parties who receive per-vote funding to be allowed in the debates. Thousands more have since joined the Green Party campaign to pressure unelected media to change its mind when it comes to excluding Greens (www.MikeAtTheMic.ca).

Earlier this month, Premier Kathleen Wynne lent her support to the campaign, stating: “I encourage the participation of all major party leaders at all debates, including Green Party leader Mike Schreiner.”

“Our current system, which allows unaccountable media executives to fundamentally affect the democratic process is flawed and I am so glad that Ms. Horwath agrees that having Greens at the table is good for Ontarians and democracy,” said Schreiner.

“I’m asking Doug Ford to break his silence and let people know where he stands on fair and inclusive debates.”