Schreiner acclaimed Green party candidate
A downtown Guelph meeting room was awash in Green party signs and I Like Mike buttons Tuesday evening as party faithful acclaimed entrepreneur and provincial party Leader Mike Schreiner the Guelph...
GUELPH — A downtown Guelph meeting room was awash in Green party signs and I Like Mike buttons Tuesday evening as party faithful acclaimed entrepreneur and provincial party Leader Mike Schreiner the Guelph candidate for the next Ontario election.
About 120 party faithful crammed into a sweltering Innovation Guelph room for the vote, for which Schreiner was running alone. The ballots were then destroyed without organizers revealing what percentage of support he received. The remaining options were for voting “someone else” or “none of the above” under the Green party system.
“I’m honoured and touched to be the Green party nominee here in Guelph,” Schreiner said before coming out swinging against the lacklustre political status quo in Ontario, including a provincial legislature that’s been prorogued and, thus, largely idle.
“What’s happening in Queen’s Park right now? Absolutely nothing,” he said as audience members yelled “shame, shame.”
“We need to expect and demand more,” Schreiner continued, urging a new alternative for a swooning Ontario through “bold new ideas.”
The challenges are many, but can be overcome, he said, listing troubled sectors like education, health care and transportation, as well as lamenting poverty, pollution and “mega-quarries.”
He saw plenty of opportunities for improvement, starting with revitalizing Guelph’s economy as an agricultural enterprise base. “I want Guelph to be the local food hub for southern Ontario,” Schreiner said.
Ian McGugan of Orangeville endorsed Schreiner and the Greens in a brief interview.
“He’s a hell of a guy and it’s time,” he said of the co-founder of a local organic food distribution company.
Party faithful said Guelph is ripe to elect Ontario’s first MPP. But that’s been said before by 2007 Green candidate Ben Polley, who was at the time encouraged by Elizabeth May’s selection as national leader.
Polley, Schreiner’s campaign co-chair, cited in an interview at Tuesday’s event several reasons for renewed optimism, including May’s election since then as Canada’s first Green MP. He also noted internal party polling suggesting voters would be more receptive this time to a local Green candidate. The party’s responding by “directing our resources” to improve its chances, Polley said.
Schreiner told the Mercury Greens are demonstrating they can field strong candidates that offer the voters real choice. “The response from the community has been fantastic,” he said, citing recent discussions with local community and business leaders, as well as encouraging internal polling results.
And the riding, he said, merits a strong voice in Queen’s Park, rather than a party backbencher like Liberal incumbent Liz Sandals.
“It deserves to be represented by the leader of a political party,” Schreiner said.
“We think this is a fantastic opportunity for the Green party . . . and this great city of Guelph,” co-campaign manager Davis Estill told the audience.
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