Almost four years, Guelph made history by sending the first Green Party Member of Provincial Parliament to Queen’s Park. Last week, Mike Schreiner rose to give his last member’s statement in what he hopes is his first term in the legislature. Member’s statements are usually reserved for comments about special occasions or special mentions from one’s constituency, but this statement was phrased like a recap.
Here’s the transcript from Schreiner’s statement this past Tuesday with some relevant hyper links:
“Thank you, Speaker. I rise today to give my last member statement in the 42nd Parliament, and I have to say I’ve learned a lot in the last four years.
“I’m grateful for the way our community has worked together to secure funding for youth wellness hubs, permanent supportive housing, and more non-profit long term care beds.
“And I also want to take a moment to thank my colleagues from all sides of the House for being willing to work together even when we disagree. It was an honour to have my name on the first bill co-sponsored by all four parties in this legislature declaring the month of August Emancipation Month.
“I want to thank the member for Whitby for co-sponsoring the Reserved Parking for Electric Vehicle Charging Act with me, which turned out to be the first Green bill in Ontario history, and we did it at a time even when I was pretty critical of the government’s record on climate and the environment.
“I also want to thank the people of Guelph who helped me write my first private member’s bill, the Paris Galt Marine Conservation Act to protect water in our community. And while the bill has not become law yet, I do want to thank everybody in our community who came together and worked with the Minister to finally close the Dolime Quarry, which is the biggest and direct threat to our community’s drinking water and we’ve been fighting it for decades.
“Speaker, it shows what you can get done, and what you can accomplish, if you’re willing to work with others. Thank you, Speaker.”
Along with his member’s statement, Schreiner rose in the Legislature on Tuesday to challenge the Ford government on pay equity. April 12 was Equal Pay Day and according to Statistics Canada, female employees in Ontario earn 89 cents on average for every dollar earned by a man.
“Yet one of the first things Doug Ford did when he came into office was repeal the Pay Transparency Act, despite experts saying that pay transparency is a key tool to addressing the wage gap. And he rammed through the wage-capping Bill 124, which disproportionately affects women workers,” Schreiner said. “I’m calling on the Premier to get serious about closing the gender wage gap by reinstating the Pay Transparency Act and immediately repealing Bill 124.”
Schreiner also voted against the Bill 111, or the Tax Relief at the Pumps Act. According to Schreiner, the bill, which reduces gas and fuel taxes for six months starting on July 1, will increase fossil fuel consumption at a time when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is again reporting that it’s now or never to act on climate change.
“The way to save people money is by getting Big Oil out of our pockets, but Doug Ford wants to lock Ontario into an expensive, dirty future based on urban sprawl, long commutes, and increased fossil fuel consumption,” Schreiner said. “Ontario Greens will continue to lead the way on addressing the climate emergency, and putting forward real solutions to addressing the cost of living and affordability crisis here in Ontario.”