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Green Party leader Mike Schreiner outlines platform in visit to riding

April 6, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford
Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, made Orangeville the final stop on his week-long, province-wide tour last week, telling local residents they can make a “real difference” by voting Green in the upcoming provincial election.
Schreiner was joined by local Green candidate Laura Campbell at Pia’s on Broadway last Thursday, where he shared details of his party’s platform ahead of the June 7 vote. As a part of his Green Vision tour, Schreiner spent time in 20 communities over nine days discussing such issues as the well-documented minimum wage increase, affordable housing and the future of fossil fuels in Ontario.
“It’s been a very worthwhile trip,” Schreiner said of his tour. “The reception we’ve been receiving in communities across southern and northern Ontario is fantastic, and I think part of the reason for that is people are sick and tired of the status quo at Queen’s Park.”
“There’s a lot of discontent with the three main parties and I get the sense that voters are looking for something new, something different,” he added. “My job has been to inform people that the only way to change that status quo is to vote for a new party with a new vision. I can talk as much as I want about what the Green Party of Ontario is capable of doing, but people need only look towards elected Greens across Canada and, frankly, across the world, to see that we are delivering on change, focused on putting people first and showing the public that politics can be done differently.”
Number one on the Green Party’s plan for Ontario is rolling out a new jobs strategy that Schreiner believes is unrivalled by any other party in the province. Focusing on what he described as “new jobs,” Schreiner is looking to support local businesses and invest in 21st century industry — a far cry, he said, from what both the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives have in mind.
“The new leader of the PC party is trying to defend old jobs that have mostly disappeared in recent times, while the NDP and Liberals are just sitting by not really saying or doing much at all,” Schreiner said. “They’re all focused on trying to save yesterday’s economy. We would revitalize the manufacturing sector, utilizing clean technology and promoting clean innovation. Ushering in new innovation that, in turn, will create new jobs for the people of this province.”
Schreiner derided the Liberal government’s plan to invest heavily in rebuilding nuclear facilities, notably the Darlington Generating Station in Clarington. While hydro prices have come down ahead of the June 7 vote, Schreiner estimated costs will skyrocket in the coming years.
“We are the only party that has the courage to say no to tripling electricity prices over the next decade. We don’t want to rebuild our outdated, overpriced nuclear facilities,” Mr. Schreiner said.
Instead, he would like to see the government reach out to Quebec to purchase what he described as “cheap, green water power” for approximately one third of the projected price of electricity.
Six months on from her nomination to serve as the Green candidate in Dufferin-Caledon, Campbell said she’s quickly gotten up to speed with the issues affecting many residents locally. She spoke about the constituency’s housing market, which has been bloated in recent years thanks largely to outside investment.
“We, as a party, have a plan in place to bring more access to affordable housing both across the province and right here in Dufferin-Caledon,” Campbell said. “We, as a riding, have some of Canada’s wealthiest people, yet there are others who had to wait six years to get into public housing. That’s a reality here.”
“There are more people on a waiting list for public housing than there are total units available,” she added. “When we think Ontario is doing well, that the economy is great and people are fine, that is just burying our heads in the sand to the real issues.”
Schreiner said he’s spoken to hundreds of seniors and young Canadians who are having trouble finding traction in the current housing market. He spoke to the Citizen about a multi-level strategy that he believes would bring affordable housing to most of the province.
“We would adopt international best practices for housing development,” he said. “One of those practices would require any new development application, whether it be for rental units, town homes or housing subdivisions, to designate at least 20 per cent of all properties as affordable units. That’s a low-cost way for government to quickly ramp up the availability of affordable homes for the people of Ontario.”
In closing, both Schreiner and Campbell spoke about the pressing need for change at Queen’s Park. The local candidate noted that local residents were “very frustrated” with the leadership displayed by Premier Kathleen Wynne over the past few years, while also expressing their concern over new PC leader Doug Ford.
“I sense a lot of excitement in Dufferin-Caledon about the possibility of electing a Green MPP — that’s been really, really refreshing for me,” Campbell said. “There’s a strong group of residents in this riding who are excited to vote Green in this upcoming election.”
While Schreiner acknowledged it will be difficult to break the PCs’ hold on Dufferin-Caledon, he earmarked the local riding as one of only a few across the province where he has genuine hope of seeing a breakthrough.
“Our main hope in this election is to elect our first MPP,” he observed. “I think we’re well-positioned to do that in Guelph, but we have a few other ridings we feel very competitive in and, if votes swing our way, we could potentially win as well.”
“Dufferin-Caledon is one of those ridings,” he added. “We want to have a strong showing here, if not for this election, then definitely for the next one. (With that being said), I think Laura has a very good chance of winning this time, thanks to the dissatisfaction in the new PC leader and the Wynne government.”

More than a dozen local residents welcomed Green Party leader Mike Schreiner (middle) to Orangeville last Thursday. He spoke of the need to invest in 21st century job creation and providing affordable housing for Ontario residents. He is seen here with local Green Party President Ian McGugan and Dufferin-Caledon Green candidate Laura Campbell.

         

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