If you watched the Ontario leadership debate held at the Jamaican Canadian Association last moth, you saw a relatively unknown addition to the discussion.
Green Party leader Mike Schreiner was given the opportunity to discuss systemic racism across the province with Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne and provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath, but as we move toward the next debate on May 27, Schreiner has not been invited because his party does not have an elected MPP sitting in the Ontario legislature.
“I’m happy at any time to have Mike Schreiner as part of the debates,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said to the Toronto Star after the April event. “It’s really important for people in this province to have the opportunity to hear from all of the leaders.”
Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May commented on Schreiner not being invited to the next debate at a rally in Guelph, Ont.
“Will the Ontario media consortium be fair and do what’s right and ensure Mike Schreiner has a podium in the leaders debate,” May told CBC News. “Because we are a real party, we are elected across Canada and there is no excuse to create a black out on coverage of what Green stands for.”
Despite Schreiner’s absence from the next planned debate, the provincial Green Party has developed a platform that goes beyond the environment, highlighting jobs and health care as key priorities as well.
According to the party’s vision, it plans to promote a “strong green workforce,” replacing manufacturing jobs lost in the last decade. The Green Party is also promising to increase the exemption level for the Employer Health Tax in support of small businesses and invest in broadband infrastructure for rural communities.
Support for mental health is also a key strategy for the Green Party, in addition to addressing institutional discrimination in the province and working towards making housing more affordable by putting a tax on vacant property and updating zoning laws for alternatives to single-family detached homes.
Impact on climate change is, unsurprisingly, a priority for the provincial Green Party, with key strategies that include reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, purchasing water power instead of nuclear power for the province’s electricity system, and creating a more efficient and and sustainable transportation system.
In the 2014 Ontario election, the Green Party won 4.8 per cent of the votes. According to the CBC Ontario poll tracker, the Green Party sits at 4.9 per cent on average between various polls conducted on provincial voting intentions.
We’ll be speaking to Mike Schreiner and we want to know what questions you have for him? What would you like him to comment on? Leave your questions below!