At the opening of his campaign office Tuesday, the local Green Party of Ontario candidate, who also happens to be the party leader, told supporters he wants to be one of a number of Green MPPs elected during the 2018 provincial election.
Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, said he would need the help of supporters to build upon his third place finish in the 2014 provincial election.
“We hit 20 per cent last time, but it’s going to take more work to hit 40 per cent this time — but we are going to do it,” Schreiner said to supporters at the opening of his Suffolk Street W campaign office.
Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada — who was on hand for the opening — said she agrees multiple Green MPPs should be making their way to Queen’s Park next year.
“But Guelph is going to be leading the charge,” she predicted.
May touched on the recent success the B.C Green Party had in that province’s recent provincial election.
Three Green MLAs were elected and, perhaps more importantly, those three members hold the balance of power of a Green-NDP governing alliance in that province.
Even more astonishing, said May, was the 17 per cent of the popular vote the B.C. Greens had in that election.
The B.C. election, said May, proves voting in a Green member is not a waste and could be put into practice to shake up politics in Ontario.
“They want to see a new way of doing politics at Queen’s Park and it’s going to start right here in Guelph,” she said.
The 2018 provincial election will be Schreiner’s third as party leader, having run in Simcoe-Grey during the 2011 campaign and in the riding of Guelph in 2014.
In the next election, suggested Schreiner, Ontario’s first Green Party MPPs will be elected to Queen’s Park.
“Third time is going to be the charm,” he quipped.
Schreiner is currently the only local candidate of any party confirmed to be running in the 2018 contest.
Last week, current Liberal MPP Liz Sandals announced she will not run for re-election.
Schreiner said Sandals should be thanked for her service.
“Even if we disagree on certain issues, I think anyone who takes a leap into public office and wants to serve their community should be congratulated,” said Schreiner.
Schreiner outlined local water issues, climate change and support of small business, among other issues he said were important this election.
“We can not allow our children and grandchildren and future generations to deal with the catastrophe of the climate crisis. I will not rest until we take action in Ontario to reverse that,” said Schreiner.
Embracing an Indigenous world view is important in politics today, said Schreiner.
“Indigenous people are on the front lines of so many of the issues we care so deeply about. What I take personally is how important it is to listen and learn from our elders and apply those teachings to the decisions we make today to benefit our children, their children and the next seven generations,” said Schreiner.
May said she will be coming back to Guelph during the campaign.
While addressing the crowd, May noted she and Schreiner share a June 9 birthday.
“Mike and I have that in common — not the same year. He’s just a baby still,” she said.
In the way May has changed politics in Ottawa, Schreiner said the Green Party of Ontario will change politics at Queen’s Park.
“I want Elizabeth May’s birthday present next year to be a Green MPP in Ontario,” said Schreiner.