Despite fewer resources compared to other political parties, and being the lone voice of the Green Party of Ontario at Queen’s Park, Mike Schreiner is ready to tackle another election campaign.
Originally from Kansas, Schreiner, 52, has spent almost half his life living in Canada after moving to Toronto in 1994 gaining his citizenship in 2007.
Despite spending the formative years living south of the border, Schreiner said he believes he has captured the Canadian spirit and advocated for Canadians.
“I’ve lived over half my life in Canada, and I’ve started two businesses and a number of non-profits here in Ontario, both my children were born here in Ontario and raised here. I think any immigrant to Canada has the opportunity to really be a part of this country and that’s one of the great things about living in Canada is the politics in Canada and there are so many immigrants.
"I’m obviously not your typical one, but there are some people who choose to make Canada their home because they really love this place. I chose to make this my home and I love it, I love Ontario and I love Guelph."
As a promoter of a forward environmentally-sustainable future and a promoter of affordable housing, Schreiner practises what he preaches. The Office of the Integrity Commissioner shows Schreiner does not own investment properties and he does not own stock in fossil fuel organizations.
“My entire investment portfolio is fossil fuel-free, and I worked with the local Meridian Credit here in Guelph to work that way, and I drive an all-electric vehicle,” said Schreiner. “I’ve been touring around the province all-electric.”
Schreiner made history in the 2018 election as the first-ever Green MPP in Ontario, having come up short in three previous tries.
Schreiner's first Canadian political run was in the Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes-Brock by-election in 2009 after the resignation of Laurie Scott.
Schreiner's previous electoral bids saw him earn 4,000 votes in the 2011 Ontario general election when he ran as a candidate for the Green Party of Ontario in the Simcoe-Grey riding.
During his first run in Guelph in the 2014 Ontario general election, Schreiner finished third with 10,181 votes, roughly 19 per cent of all votes cast.
“I think Guelph’s a really remarkable community full of caring people who are committed to building a better future for this province, and I think Guelph has led on so many issues,” said Schreiner.
As a solo party memebr at Queen’s Park, Schreiner can advocate for what he believes in without fear of backlash from other party members, often allowing him to cross party lines to bring about change.
When speaking about what he believes were his greatest political achievements over the last four years, Schreiner said there are two moments: the closing of the Dolime Quarry, which was been in the works since 2019, and passing the first Green bill in Ontario.
“I've really been proud as an opposition member to work across party lines to achieve some significant benefits to Guelph,” said Schreiner. “In relating to that is the closure of the Dolime Quarry, which is you know my long history of advocacy here in Guelph, is something I’ve been fighting to close to protect Guelph’s water for over a decade.”
Schreiner splits his time between Toronto and Guelph, usually spending Monday to Thursday in Toronto and returning to Guelph for the weekends.
Despite the separation, he said it is a rejuvenating feeling to come back to Guelph after a gruelling session at Queen’s Park and see the people’s future he is fighting for.
This schedule led him to recognizing that one of the biggest challenges he faces every week is the separation from his wife and two teenage daughters.
“I really think of their future and the kind of Ontario I want them to grow up in. That’s who I am fighting for. Is for people centre communities, people power change when it comes to how government works, and a livable future for my children, your children, nieces and nephews. I want to be able to look my kids in the eyes and say I did everything I could to make sure we address the climate crisis and ensure you have a livable future.”