Mike Schreiner rejects Ontario Liberal proposal, will remain as Green Party leader

Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner has rejected an offer from a group of Ontario Liberals to run for that party’s leadership declaring that he is “green for life.”

Schreiner, who made history in 2018 as the first Green candidate to earn a seat at Queen’s Park, said he spoke to “thousands of people” over the last three weeks and ultimately decided to stick with his roots.

“I’ve asked myself and others how I can best make a positive difference in building the Ontario we truly want,” Schreiner said in a statement. “The answer for me is as the leader of the Ontario Green party.”

The tug-of-war over Schreiner’s political future began in late January after a group of Liberals — ranging from former leadership candidates to a current Liberal MPP — sent Schreiner a letter asking him to consider jumping ship and running for the Liberal leadership.

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While initially turning down the request, Schreiner stunned political observers by asking for time to consult with constituents in his Guelph riding along with Green and Liberal supporters.

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“I felt like I owed it to people to at least consult and at least have a conversation about, you know, how we might do politics differently,” Schreiner told Global News in January, and stressed that any pursuit of the premiership wasn’t driven by political self-interest but rather an environmental agenda.

“Obviously forming government would be the most aggressive way to move that agenda forward, so I certainly think about when I think about the kind of Ontario I want to live in,” Schreiner told Global news.

The letter led was met with significant ridicule among some in the Liberal party who questioned whether Schreiner would even have the support to mount an effective campaign to take over the leadership of the Ontario Liberals.

The party is set to hold an annual general meeting on March 3 that could set the stage and define the rules of the upcoming leadership race.

Schreiner also faced hostility from a segment of the elected Liberal caucus. MPP Stephen Blais proposed an amendment to the party’s constitution that would have restricted Schreiner’s shot at the leadership.

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The proposed amendment — which would need two-thirds support to pass — states leadership candidates would need to be “a member of the Ontario Liberal Party as of January 1 of the year the Leadership Convention was called.”

Liberal insiders tell Global News the vote on the amendment would have also exposed the battle lines and indicated party support, or lack thereof, for Schreiner — now rendered moot.

While the slate of candidates has yet to be crystallized, several provincial and federal Liberals have expressed interest including Liberal MPP Ted Hsu, federal Liberal MP Nate Erskine-Smith, and former attorney general Yasir Naqvi.

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