Official campaigning for this year's Ontario election is underway, and the Green Party of Ontario launched its largest campaign in front of the Ontario Legislature in Toronto. Mike Schreiner, GPO Leader, said they plan to focus on jobs, energy and health.
The major political parties have officially launched their campaigns and their platforms.
The provincial party leaders will travel from town to town and city to city in Ontario to rally the troops and sway voters.
Largest Green campaign launch in history
On Wednesday, the Green Party of Ontario (GPO) launched their election campaign in front of the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Mike Schreiner, leader of the GPO, alongside several Green candidates and supporters, says the primary focus of the campaign is on energy, health and jobs.
The Green Party has a five-point plan to address the loss of local jobs, the sustainability of the province’s health care system, the increase in energy prices and the global issue of climate change.
Schreiner, who is not part of this month’s provincial party leaders’ debate, stated that the GPO is the only party that is going to focus on health promotion, end subsidies for energy waste and manage taxpayers’ money.
“It’s time for the Green Party of Ontario to have a seat at the leaders’ debate table so we can tackle these issues head on with pragmatic policies and sensible long-term solutions,” said Schreiner to a loud applause.
“Over the next 29 days, we’re going to take our message of hope for a positive sustainable future for ourselves, our children and future generations to the voters of this province and we’re going to deliver Green MPPs to Queen’s Park.”
The GPO has a candidate in each of the 107 ridings across the province.
Mike Schreiner, Green Party of Ontario Leader speaking at Queen's Park.
Speaking to the media
Schreiner, a candidate for the Simcoe-Grey seat, has been campaigning all over the province and has knocked on more than 5,000 doors. Although there are a large number of issues facing Ontario, he is told that jobs are usually the key problem concerning voters.
“Jobs is the number one issue the people are telling me at the door,” said Shreiner in an interview with Digital Journal. “Our plan is to strengthen our local economy by helping our small businesses, creating good long-term sustainable jobs is resonating at the door, rising energy prices is a concern and we’re only party saying ‘you know what, we can’t play these shell games anymore.”
During a media scrum, Schreiner stated that he is tired of the attack ads that persist between the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives. Instead, the GPO Leader said he would rather have an open debate about the issues that really matter.
This isn’t the first time that the Greens have not been involved in a debate. Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was not featured in this year’s federal leaders’ debate, which stirred a bit of controversy during the campaign trail.
Schreiner confirmed that there is a grassroots initiative occurring to put him in the debates, which include former Liberal, NDP and Conservative members who believe the Green leader should be involved in the debates.
An online petition has also been organized to include the Green Leader in the debate.
Schreiner stated that May is offering guidance and assisting the Ontario Green candidates, even though she is scheduled to have hip surgery sometime in September, which will limit some of her availability.
“She will be touring with me on Friday and we’ll be talking about Green Party’s inclusion in the debates and why that is important,” said Schreiner. “We’ll be talking about how the federal and provincial governments should be working together to stop mega projects.”
Following the campaign launch, Schreiner will head to Simcoe North and Bracebridge for events that will focus on jobs and health.
The latest Nanos Research poll shows that Tim Hudak’s Progress Conservatives are sitting in first with 35.4 percent support and followed by Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals with 31.9 percent. Andrea Horwath’s New Democratic Party is in third with 22.8 percent and Schreiner’s Greens are sitting in last among the major political parties with 4.1 percent.