ABOVE: Green Party leader Mike Schreiner thinks the Ontario election should be more than a three party race – listen to his pitch and decide for yourself
TORONTO – Mike Schreiner’s drive from Guelph to Toronto Tuesday morning served as the springboard for his campaign launch as leader of the Ontario Green Party at Queen’s Park.
“It was two and a half hours to get here from Guelph this morning,” he said. “So we certainly need transit in this province.”
He then launched into a critique of the platforms of the three mainstream political parties. He characterized the Liberal budget as “a lot of promises but no plan to pay for it” (though it is laid out in the budget), the NDP plan to lower hydro bills as irresponsible and he took Hudak to task for wanting to cut 100,000 public service jobs.
He positioned himself and the Green Party as the fourth option.
“As I knock on doors, walk along the street and go to coffee shops, people are telling me that the political status quo isn’t working,” he said.
“I believe it’s this kind of political games and magic math that’s turning people off of politics. I want people to know that there is a fourth option, a political party that’s on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and good public policy to queen’s park.”
The Green Party holds no seats at Queen’s Park and is not likely to win one come June 12. Schreiner told Global News that the party’s best chance is in his home riding of Guelph where the party received 6.9 per cent of the popular vote in 2011 (Liberal incumbent Liz Sandals carried the riding with 42 per cent of the vote).
His platform focuses on three priorities: jobs, kids and the environment.
Schreiner said he could create jobs by lowering payroll taxes and doubling the employer health tax exemptions. He would pay for this by increasing the corporate tax rate in Ontario by one per cent.
He would also axe the separate school board and create one giant public school system which he suggests could save approximately $1 billion in duplicate costs.
He suggested he could raise another $1 billion for infrastructure by increasing the royalties paid to the province for natural resources.
But in addition to his three priorities, he suggested voters are disillusioned with the status quo at Queen’s Park.
“I would say of any issue at the door step, that’s what’s resonating with voters the most,” he said. “I’ve looked people in the eye and I’ve said, you may not agree with all the green party’s policies but at least you can respect me for being honest and I’m going to be straight with you about where I stand on the issues.”