Interview with Mike Schreiner
By Cory Bilyea
Photo by Cory Bilyea
Mike Schreiner sees himself as the “voice of reason,” as an opposition member of provincial parliament (MPP) in the Ontario legislature. Schreiner was recently elected with an impressive 45 per cent of the votes in Guelph, Ont., making him the first ever Green Party MPP to hold a seat at Queen’s Park. He takes his role very seriously and brings to the table his personal experience and knowledge about the environment, climate change and possible solutions to the current climate crisis the world is experiencing right now.
In a recent interview at his Guelph constituency office, Schreiner spoke at length about his thoughts on the environment and climate change. “The climate crisis is on us,” he said, “We’re experiencing climate change right now.” Referencing the recent spring flooding in Ontario Schreiner said, there are “$682 million in insurable damages plus an equivalent amount of uninsurable damages.”
Tornadoes in Ottawa, forest fires in B.C., some of “the list of extreme weather events and the negative effects it’s having on our finances, our lives and our well-being,” Schreiner said.”You know we’re experiencing it, and we have to act.” He added, “Failure to act is irresponsible. How can we leave a world for our kids that is unsafe and potentially uninhabitable?”
Doug Ford, current leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PC), has a “Plan for the People” that includes a section on his website referring to future generations and how we can all do our part, planning on “embracing innovation and focusing on initiatives that deliver results,” to leave a cleaner environment for future generations.
Andrea Horvath, Ontario leader of the current New Democrat Party (NDP), also has a platform on her website with the NDP’s stand on the environment and climate change, including sustainable energy and “pricing carbon through a fair, effective and transparent cap-and-trade market.”
The Liberal Party, currently being headed up by the interim leader John Fraser, MPP of Ottawa South, does not clearly outline a climate change plan on his website.
Schreiner has clear and precise objectives available on his website regarding climate change, safe water, forests, nuclear disaster awareness and banning fracking in Ontario. He understands the pressing urgency of climate change and the need to move forward quickly with a concrete plan to combat the many facets of the crisis currently on the world’s radar.
In further conversation, Schreiner spoke on his thoughts about the current Ontario government’s reluctance to listen to other people regarding climate change and the cap-and-trade program.
“The one thing Minister Phillips (Rod Phillips, minister of environment) has made very clear to me,” he said, is “that he is open to any ideas I have around tackling climate change, as long as it doesn’t entail a price on pollution.” Schreiner said, “In many respects, putting a price on pollution is actually the most conservative tool you can use to reduce carbon pollution.” He added, people would respond better if they realized that polluting was going to cost them money. The other tools in the toolbox, like providing incentives, have been cancelled by the Ford government, “leaving only regulation, which is the most expensive and least conservative approach.”
“I don’t even see how they can put together a climate plan, that is meaningful in anyway,” he said. “I’m deeply worried that Ontario is just simply going to abandon action on climate change.”
Schreiner has worked hard to keep the city of Guelph in the forefront of leading innovations, to keep their environmental footprint to a minimum, including advocating to protect Guelph’s drinking water from local quarries and fighting climate change by putting a price on carbon pollution. His proven track record as a successful entrepreneur and small business owner speaks to his ability to lead and make a difference at the provincial level, and therefore, his voice should be heard regarding climate change and any plans moving forward to help save future generations and the planet.
Photo by Cory Bilyea