7 Reasons Why Mike Schreiner Wants You To Vote Green In Ontario's Election
The party wants to help young people afford homes and raise minimum wage.
This article is a part of a Narcity series breaking down the highlights of what you need to know about where Ontario's Political Party Leaders stand on issues important to millennials. Each leader was contacted by Narcity for comment. You can read more of our coverage of Ontario's 2022 Election here.
The 2022 Ontario election is getting closer by the day, and Mike Schreiner is hoping to convince you to cast your vote for the Green Party of Ontario.
To help you better understand the party's campaign platform, Narcity sat down with the leader to go over his key promises and what you need to know ahead of the June 2 election day.
When it comes to housing, the Greens are looking to implement a master plan to help a "whole generation of young people" who've been left wondering if they'll ever be able to afford a home.
One part of the plan will see the party clamp down on the rising prices in Ontario's housing market by bringing in a vacant home tax and increasing the non-resident speculation tax.
"We're also proposing a multiple home speculation tax particularly to go after those large corporations and wealthy speculators who are buying up sometimes, you know, hundreds of homes at a time," Schreiner told Narcity.
Another part of the plan focuses on shifting the province to as-of-right zoning rules — which essentially allows owners to build without seeking a permit if the project is in accordance with zoning laws — to make it easier to increase its housing supply without paving over farmland and wetlands.
"We provide more housing choices for people with things like tiny homes, secondary suites, basement apartments, and laneway housing so we can quickly ramp up supply that's actually affordable for people," Schreiner adds.
The party also seeks to end blind bidding and make home inspections mandatory at the seller's expense to help level the playing field when it comes to purchasing and owning a home. This can help save first-time buyers from running into "unanticipated repairs."
2. Minimum wage
On the issue of minimum wage, the Greens are proposing a $1 a year increase to create "a province-wide floor" and prevent hourly salaries from falling behind. This increase would start at $16 an hour in 2022. They also promise to implement "a top-up living wage" in higher-cost parts of the province.
Schreiner also opened up on his party's strong focus on reversing the cuts the Ford government made to OSAP to help students.
"Not only reinstating those cuts but shifting that OSAP from being loans to grants, so young people are not graduating from college and university with a crushing debt."
Schreiner states that they want to give free tuition to 60,000 students who are looking to enter the trades and be part of the new climate economy.
3. COVID-19 policies
The Greens want you to know how they will deal with COVID-19 and future pandemics.
For starters, the party plans to reinvest in the province's health care and education systems to provide people with the care and the quality learning they deserve, while putting emphasis on avoiding past mistakes.
"Never again in Ontario should small businesses be closed while big box stores are left open," Schreiner argued.
Another noteworthy idea is the Greens' plan to ban businesses from enforcing mandatory sick notes on their employees and increasing paid sick days to 10.
"Nobody should have to be forced to go work [...] when they're sick and can potentially make their fellow workers sick," Schreiner concludes.
4. Climate change
The Greens have big goals regarding environmental issues, wishing to make Ontario the global leader in the new climate economy while also creating better career opportunities and jobs for people.
The widespread plan includes electrifying transportation and making it possible for the average Ontarian to afford an electric vehicle.
In addition, the party will provide grants of up to $20,000 for people to retrofit their homes to aid them in cutting costs by reducing their energy use and lowering climate pollution.
The plan will also help businesses reduce their climate pollution and transition to low-carbon products and services.
"Without a doubt, the Ontario Greens have the only plan that meets this moment, this now or never moment, to address the climate crisis. I just don't understand why the other parties don't understand the urgency or the scale of the challenge we face," Schreiner states.
5. Health care
When it comes to provincial health care, the Greens have a few promises to share.
Not only is the party planning to remove Doug Ford's legislation that caps nurses' wages, but they want to hire 33,000 more of them.
"We will permanently increase the minimum wage for personal support workers and other vital frontline health care workers," Schreiner said
The leader also put forward a plan to address the mental health crisis. An initiative that will invest money in OHIP to expand services to ensure residents can easily access affordable, comprehensive mental health and addictions care when needed.
"We would make additional investments in community-based mental health, especially addressing the unsustainable wait times to access Youth Mental Health Services," Schreiner added.
The Greens are planning to make substantial investments to triple ridership by 2030. The party aims to expand rail networks and municipal transit systems by a significant amount.
"One of the most effective and financially responsible ways we can quickly ramp up public transit is to invest in more inner-city bus connections," Schreiner said.
"I mean, it's 2022, and here in Guelph, where I live, I still can't get a direct bus to Kitchener-Waterloo or Cambridge, Hamilton, or an express bus to Toronto. It makes absolutely no sense," he added.
The party plans will include bringing back the Ontario Northlander to improve train service to the north and Northland bus service for inner-city bus connections.
The Greens also plan to cut the province's transit fares in half for at least three months to tackle the growing cost-of-living crisis and boost ridership.
They will also stop building new highways, such as the 413 and stop the widening of Highway 417.
7. Other priorities
The party used the last minutes of the interview to hammer in the importance of addressing the issue of poverty in the province.
"We're the only party proposing to double social assistance rates so people are not forced to live in legislated poverty. We know that we're better than this as Ontarians. We know that we care for each other, and people with disabilities should not be forced to live in deep poverty," Schreiner states.
On top of this, the party also plans to work with the federal government to ensure that there is $10-a-day childcare in all communities across the province.
To learn more about the Green Party of Ontario's election promises, check out their campaign platform.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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