Ontario Votes 2014

Forget hydro credit, put money into child poverty: Greens

Ontario’s Green Party is proposing scrapping a hydro rebate and putting that money into helping get children out of poverty.
Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner, centre, visited the Hamilton Victory Gardens to announce his party's plan to reduce child poverty. He chatted with Jerry Noordam, left, of Hamilton Victory Gardens and Hamilton Centre Green candidate Peter Ormond. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Ontario’s Green Party is proposing scrapping a hydro rebate and putting that money into helping get children out of poverty.

Mike Schreiner, head of the Ontario Green Party, used a Hamilton Victory Garden to pitch the idea of getting rid of the 10-per cent hydro rebate other parties are promising, and using that money to double the Ontario Child Benefit, which gives low-income families a maximum of $1,210 per child per year.

“We’re calling on the Liberals to cancel their 10-per cent hydro handout that takes primarily benefits the wealthy,” he said. “Let’s take that $1.1 billion dollars and let’s use it to address poverty.”

The benefit, he said, is “has probably been the most effective anti-poverty measure in the province.”

Schreiner made the appearance at the garden behind the Food Basics at Barton Street East and Mary Street. He appeared with Hamilton Centre Green candidate Peter Ormond.

The Green’s goal this election is to elect the first Green MPP in Ontario, Schreiner said. He thinks it’s possible.

His own Guelph riding is showing Green tendencies, he said. The party is also “pulling strongly” in Dufferin-Caledon and Parry Sound-Muskoka.

“In an ideal world, I would love to see a minority government with one or two Green MPPs holding the balance of power.”

In Hamilton Centre, Ormond has been handing out plants and vegetables instead of flyers. He’s distributed 4,000 strawberry plants, 150 raspberry plants, 250 asparagus and 100,000 bean seeds. He’s about to distribute 100,000 carrot seeds.

“It builds unity,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what stripe you are.”

Here’s where the Green Party stands on a number of hot-button Hamilton issues, in Schreiner’s words:

School closures

For one, the Green Party has called for a moratorium until the ARC (accommodation review committee) process and the funding formula can be revised. Two, we’ve been calling for a merger of the public and Catholic school boards. That addresses three concerns. First, there’s a fairness concern, like why are we funding one religion at the exclusion of all others in 21st-century multicultural Ontario? Second, it addresses human rights concerns. The United Nations human rights commission has cited Ontario twice for discrimination in our school system because we discriminate based on religion and sexual orientation. The third is a fiscal responsibility issue in that studies have shown we can save between $1 and $1.6 billion in duplicate administration, buildings and busing. We would like to see that money reinvested in our kids’ classrooms.

Mid-Peninsula Highway

I’m opposed to it. I think we should be building transit, not new highways. Do we really want to ram a highway through the Niagara Escarpment when we should be protecting a world biosphere reserve?

Light-rail transit

The Green Party is in favour of the province funding light-rail transit. Watch the video for Schreiner’s position. 

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