The opening move for the next Provincial Election here in Guelph was made by the man who will have to defend the seat. On Tuesday night, Guelph MPP and Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner was acclaimed as the local Green Party’s nominee for the 2022 Provincial Election, and he’s ready to prove again that a Green MPP from Guelph can make a difference.
“It’s been almost three years since I was elected to serve Guelph and I’m honoured to have the opportunity to be the Green candidate for Guelph once more,” Schreiner said in his speech accepting the nomination.
“I want to thank all of you for the chance to continue the work we started in 2018 – fighting for housing affordability, mental health services, investing in community-led projects, climate solutions and fighting to protect our water and the places we love,” Schreiner added. “There’s a lot more I want to do for our community and I am incredibly grateful and excited to begin the next chapter.”
In the 2018 Provincial Election, Schreiner secured a historic victory with just over 45 per cent of the vote, which was more than the second place PC candidate, and the third place NDP candidate combined. Although he’s been a caucus of one for the last three years, Schreiner believes his record is one worth running, and winning on.
“I think it’s general knowledge at Queen’s Park that most people consider me one of the most effective opposition MPs, both in terms of putting pressure on the government, and in delivering for members of my community in the riding,” Schreiner said in a media availability before the meeting.
Among his successes, Schreiner touts his advocacy for affordable housing and the environment, getting bipartisan support for his Paris-Galt Moraine protection bill, co-sponsoring successful legislation with a government member, and being a leading voice on pandemic response measures from calling for a moratorium on forced evictions to the classification of community gardens as essential.
“I think I’ve shown that you can do politics differently,” Schreiner explained. “You can be confrontational and hold government accountable, while at the same time work with the government in areas where you can find agreement, and not let partisanship get in the way. When you do that, you can play a really important role in getting things done.”
Schreiner will be using his important role to try and get big things done for his party in next year’s election, when the goal will not only be the re-election of the one current Green member of the Ontario Legislature, Schreiner, but the election of more Green MPPs.
“I’ll be spending a fair amount of time in Guelph like I normally do, and I will balance that with supporting candidates in other ridings,” Schreiner said. “One of the things I love about having the opportunity to campaign across the province is that it lets me share all the amazing things that are happening here in Guelph, and also learn about other things happening in other communities and bring bring those lessons back to Guelph.”
Between 40 and 50 members of the local Green Party took part in a virtual meeting on Zoom to hear Schreiner’s speech and endorsements from Parry Sound-Muskoka Green Party candidate Matt Richter and HOPE House executive director Jaya James. Local Green Party members had 48 hours to rank their vote for Schreiner and “None of the Above”, with Schreiner the clear victor on the first round of balloting.
Schreiner’s formal nomination comes at least 12 months before the writ will be drawn up for the 2022 election. Election Day will be the first Thursday in June, if not before, so why is Schreiner and the Green Party getting itself into an election-ready posture now?
“You’ve started to see the other party’s across Ontario start to nominate candidates, and we felt that it was important to take the opportunity of this being a constituency week, when Queen’s Park is not sitting, to put forward my nomination,” said Schreiner. “It was important to let people know my intentions, because people were asking if it was my intention to run for re-election, and I wanted to make that clear to the community.”