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Green Party of Ontario

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Green Party of Ontario
Parti vert de l'Ontario
Active provincial party
LeaderMike Schreiner
PresidentArd Van Leeuwen
Deputy leadersAislinn Clancy
Matt Richter[1]
Founded1983; 41 years ago (1983)
HeadquartersSuite 232, 67 Mowat Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada[2]
IdeologyGreen politics
Political positionCentre-left[3]
Colours  Green
Seats in the Legislature
2 / 124
Website
gpo.ca

The Green Party of Ontario (GPO; French: Parti vert de l'Ontario) is a political party in Ontario, Canada. The party is led by Mike Schreiner. Schreiner was elected as MPP for the riding of Guelph in 2018, making him the party's first member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.[4] In 2023, Aislinn Clancy became the party's second elected member following her win in the Kitchener Centre byelection.[5]

The Greens became an officially registered political party in 1983.[6] It fielded 58 candidates in the 1999 provincial election, becoming the fourth-largest party in the province.[7] In 2003, the party fielded its first nearly full slate, 102 out of 103 candidates, and received 2.8% of the vote. In 2007, the party fielded a full slate of 107 candidates, receiving over 8.0% and nearly 355,000 votes.[7] Subsequently, the party's popularity declined in the 2011 and 2014 elections during tightly contested races between the Progressive Conservatives and ruling Liberals. Its popularity and vote share have increased since, and in the 2022 election, the party received 5.96% of the vote.[8]

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

The Green Party of Ontario became an official political party in 1983 and was registered with Elections Ontario.[6] Shortly thereafter, the party contested its first election, fielding nine candidates who collected a combined 5,300 votes or 0.14%. In the 1987 election the party again ran nine candidates who fared worse, collecting 3,400 votes or 0.09%. In 1990, the party captured a higher result, with 40 candidates capturing 30,400 votes or 0.75%.[9]

The party elected Frank de Jong as its first official leader in 1993. It ran its first election as an organized party in the 1995 provincial election, losing more than half its support and falling to just 14,100 votes or 0.34%.

De Jong led the party through three election campaigns, gradually building party support to just over 8% in the 2007 provincial election.[10]

The 2003 provincial election saw an increase in vote share for the Ontario Greens. Running 102 out of a possible 103 candidates, the party captured 126,700 votes, or 2.82%. The GPO placed ahead of the Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP) in two ridings, and took fourth place in 92 others.[11]

Throughout 2006, there was a move toward major constitutional changes in the party.[12] Included in the changes were the formation of a much larger Provincial Executive, which included two gender paritied representatives from each of six regions, gender paritied Deputy Leaders, and the creation of multiple functionary roles separated from the Provincial Executive.

At the Party's 2006 Annual General Meeting (AGM), it adopted further changes to the existing Constitution that, amongst other things, reduced the size of the Provincial Council and renamed it the Provincial Executive. One of the first acts of the new Provincial Executive was to strike a hiring committee to bring on a full-time campaign manager in response to mounting internal pressures to ensure the party was ready for the October 2007 provincial election.[13]

Under de Jong's leadership, the party fielded a full slate of 107 candidates in the 2007 provincial election, receiving over 8.0% and nearly 355,000 votes.[7] In the run-up to election, the Greens' support climbed into the double-digits for the first time in party history.

Although the party did not elect a member to the provincial legislature, it did increase its share of the popular vote to 8.1% (a gain of 5.3% from the 2003 election), placed second in one riding (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, with 33.1% compared to the PC incumbent winner's 46.7%), and took third place in a number of other ridings. Shane Jolley, the Green candidate for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, earned more votes than any Green candidate in Canadian history at that time.[14]

The previous GPO logo

De Jong announced his resignation as leader on 16 May 2009, at the Green Party of Ontario Annual General Meeting. A leadership and policy convention was held 13–15 November 2009 in London, Ontario.[15]

Following his resignation, de Jong was replaced by Toronto entrepreneur Mike Schreiner, who was the sole candidate in the party's leadership race.[16] The Greens failed to win seats in the subsequent 2011 and 2014 provincial elections, though Schreiner received 19% of the vote in Guelph in 2014.

2018: Breakthrough[edit]

In the 2018 provincial election, their third election under leader Mike Schreiner, the party ran on a platform of investing in green jobs and clean energy, rolling out a universal basic income,and investing in mental health services.[17] The party ran a full slate of candidates including over 50% women for the first time. Schreiner was excluded from the televised leaders debates, which led to an unsuccessful campaign by Fair Debates to encourage media to reverse the decisions.[18]

Headshot of Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario and MPP for Guelph.
In 2018, party leader Mike Schreiner became the first Green MPP elected to the Ontario Legislature.

In May 2018, a month ahead of that year's general election, the Toronto Star editorial board endorsed Schreiner as the best candidate in Guelph and said that he was "the most forthright leader in the campaign for the 7 June Ontario election."[19] Schreiner was also endorsed by the Guelph Mercury's editorial board in an op-ed, "Mike Schreiner is the candidate most worthy of representing Guelph provincially," citing ten reasons to vote for Schreiner.[20]

Schreiner's campaign proved successful, and he was elected as the first ever Green MPP in Ontario history. He captured 45 per cent of the vote in the Guelph riding, more than doubling the previous percentage and nearly tripling his raw vote numbers.

2022–2023: Expanding[edit]

Aislinn Clancy and Mike Schreiner address the media from the Queen's Park Media Studio
Deputy leader Aislinn Clancy was elected in 2023.

Schreiner was re-elected in the 2022 provincial election and was again the only Green candidate elected.[21] The party narrowly lost in Parry Sound—Muskoka, a riding that had been held by the Progressive Conservatives since its establishment in 1999. Green candidate Matt Richter placed second to PC candidate Graydon Smith, losing by just over 2,100 votes.[22]

The party elected its second MPP in 2023. Green candidate and deputy leader Aislinn Clancy was elected in a 2023 by-election in Kitchener Centre, doubling Green representation in the Legislature. Clancy won just under 48% of the vote, solidly beating the ONDP candidate. The seat had previously been in New Democratic hands since 2018.[23]

Policies[edit]

The Green Party of Ontario shares the values identified by the Global Greens: participatory democracy, nonviolence, social justice, sustainability, respect for diversity and ecological wisdom.[24] The party describes itself as socially progressive, environmentally focused and fiscally responsible.[25]

In the lead-up to the 2022 election, the party released policy papers focused on housing,[26] climate change[27] and mental health.[28] Its 2022 platform identified three priorities: a caring society, focussed on improving equitable healthcare, education, and social services; connected communities, focussed on tackling housing affordability by building more infill development, strengthening protections for renters and addressing speculation in the housing market; and new climate economy, focused on achieving net-zero emissions by 2045 by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, growing green jobs and protecting the environment.[29]

Housing[edit]

The party advocates for more permissive zoning laws that allow the construction of missing-middle and midrise housing.[30] It argues that infill development is more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than sprawl development.[30]

Its elected members have also called for more stringent tenants protections[31] and for the province to partner with non-profit and co-operative housing providers to build affordable non-market homes.[26]

The party's housing plan, released in 2021, featured seven strategies to build what the party referred to as "more liveable and affordable communities."[26] They included building more inclusive neighbourhoods through missing middle and midrise development, protecting farmland and other natural land from urban sprawl, building and maintaining a provincial affordable housing supply, ending chronic homelessness, strengthening protections for renters and addressing speculation in the housing market.[26] The Toronto Star editorial board endorsed the plan, referring to it as "an ambitious document that proposes tackling the housing crisis from all vantage points."[32]

Climate[edit]

The Green Party supports phasing out fossil fuels and moving to renewable energy sources. Its platform included a number of measures to increase the affordability and accessibility of electric vehicles, retrofit homes and businesses to increase energy efficiency, and phase out fossil fuels to reach net zero by 2045.[29]

The party is opposed to the construction of new nuclear plants.[29] It has called for an end to the province's offshore wind moratorium in order to increase access to renewable power.[33]

Greens advocate for stronger protections to wetlands and agricultural land.[29] Party leader Mike Schreiner was vocal in opposing the Ford government's plan to allow development on southern Ontario's Greenbelt, which was ultimately reversed in 2023.[34]

Health[edit]

The Greens' healthcare policies are rooted in prevention, including increasing upstream investments in the social determinants of health like social isolation, housing insecurity and poverty, as well as partnering with the federal government to implement universal pharmacare and dental care programs.[29] The party advocates for improving the recruitment, retention and safety of public healthcare workers.[29] It supports a publicly funded, publicly delivered healthcare system and opposes the privatisation of healthcare services.[29]

The party supports a non-profit long-term care system and has called to phase out for-profit long-term care homes while increasing base funding for the sector. In its 2022 platform, the party pledged to build 55,000 long-term care beds by 2033 and at least 96,000 by 2041.[29]

In 2022, the party released a mental health policy paper calling for the expansion of access to mental health and addictions care under OHIP and an immediate base budget increase of 8% to the community mental health sector.[28]

Education[edit]

The party's education platform includes updating Ontario’s funding formula to reflect evolving student needs, including adequate funding for special education and rural and remote schools.[29]

The party supports in-person learning and opposes mandatory e-learning or hybrid learning models.[29] It has called for the elimination of EQAO standardised testing.[29]

In the 2022 provincial election, the party pledged to cap elementary classroom sizes at 24 students for grades four through eight and at 26 students for kindergarten.[29]

At the postsecondary level, the party has called to increase sector funding by indexing the base operating grant for Ontario's postsecondary institutions to the weighted national average.[29]

Its 2022 platform called for the reversal of OSAP funding cuts through the conversion of loans to grants for low- and middle-income students and the elimination of interest charges on student debt.[29]

During the 2007 provincial election, education, and specifically the funding of religious schools, was a central issue. GPO policy calls for an end to the publicly funded Catholic school system, a merger that it claimed would save millions of dollars in duplicate administrative costs.

Social programs[edit]

The Green Party of Ontario believes in modernizing the social safety net to account for present-day challenges. Greens have advocated for the doubling of the Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works.[29]

It has been an advocate for a universal Basic Income for all Ontarians, in order to provide economic security while at the same time cutting red tape and bureaucracy.

The party supports ten-dollar-a-day daycare. In its 2022 platform, it pledged to work with the federal government to ensure continued funding for universal access to ten-dollar-a-day care.[29]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Green party leader Mike Schreiner called for an increase in the number of provincially legislated sick days from three to ten and for a ban on employers requiring sick notes from employees who take time off due to illness.[35]

Electoral reform[edit]

The GPO is a strong supporter of electoral reform. In its 2022 election platform, it called for the creation of a "diverse, randomly selected Citizens Assembly on electoral reform" to provide recommendations on how to modernise the Ontario electoral system to better reflect voters' democratic will.[29]

Taxation[edit]

Greens have historically supported tax relief for small businesses, generally funded by modest increases to the corporate tax rate. They have also proposed road pricing (including tolls, parking levies and land-value taxes near subways) to pay for public transit.

The party has proposed a number of tax measures to reduce speculation in the housing market, including a multi-homes tax on all individuals and corporations owning more than two residential properties, a vacant homes tax and an anti-flipping tax.[29]

The party favours a revenue neutral carbon fee-and-dividend approach to pollution pricing. In its 2022 platform, it proposed to take over federal administration of the carbon pricing system, increasing the price by $25 annually until it reaches $300/tonne and returning all revenues collected from individuals to individuals as dividends.[29]

Party leaders[edit]

Picture Name Term start Term end Riding(s) contested as Leader Notes
Frank de Jong 1993 2009
General elections By-elections
Davenport (2007 – Loss) Burlington (2007) – Loss
Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey (2003 – Loss) Parkdale—High Park (2006) – Loss
Parkdale—High Park (1999 – Loss)
Nepean (1995 – Loss)
First Leader, elected in 1993, and re-elected 2001. Later served as Leader of the Yukon Green Party (2016–2019)
Headshot of Mike Schreiner, leader of the Ontario Green Party Mike Schreiner November 2009 Incumbent Simcoe—Grey (2011) – Loss
Guelph (2014) – Loss
Guelph (2018) – Won
Guelph (2022) – Won
Elected Leader in 2009, unopposed. First leader to win a seat in the Ontario legislature (2018-present)

Elected Greens[edit]

Election results[edit]

Election Leader # of seats Change +/− # of votes % of popular vote Standing Legislative role Government
1985 N/A
0 / 125
New Party 5,345 0.14% New Party Extra-parliamentary Progressive Conservative minority defeated in no confidence vote, replaced by Liberal minority
1987
0 / 130
Steady 3,398 0.1% Steady Extra-parliamentary Liberal majority
1990
0 / 130
Steady 30,097 0.75% Steady Extra-parliamentary NDP majority
1995 Frank de Jong
0 / 130
Steady 14,108[36] 0.34% Steady Extra-parliamentary Progressive Conservative majority
1999
0 / 103
Steady 30,749[37] 0.79% Steady Extra-parliamentary
2003
0 / 103
Steady 126,651[38] 2.82% Steady Extra-parliamentary Liberal majority
2007
0 / 107
Steady 354,897 8.02% Steady Extra-parliamentary Liberal majority
2011 Mike Schreiner
0 / 107
Steady 126,567 2.94% Steady Extra-parliamentary Liberal minority
2014
0 / 107
Steady 233,269 4.84% Steady Extra-parliamentary Liberal majority
2018
1 / 124
Increase 1 264,094 4.64% Increase 4th No status Progressive Conservative majority
2022
1 / 124
Steady 276,704 5.98% Steady 4th No status Progressive Conservative majority

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Green Team". Green Party of Ontario. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  2. ^ "Contact". Toronto: Green Party of Ontario. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  3. ^ Dunn, Christopher (January 2016). Provinces: Canadian Provincial Politics, Third Edition. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9781442633995.
  4. ^ "Historic win for Green Leader Mike Schreiner in Guelph". CBC News. 7 June 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Bueckert, Kate (30 November 2023). "Green candidate Aislinn Clancy wins Kitchener Centre byelection". CBC News. Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ a b "History". Green Party of Ontario. Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ a b c "STATISTICAL SUMMARY" (PDF). Toronto: Elections Ontario. 10 October 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Graphics and charts". Elections Ontario. 6 June 2022. Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Ontario elections from 1985–2003". Archives.cbc.ca. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Past Election Results". www.elections.on.ca. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007.
  11. ^ "2003 election". Webcitation.org. Archived from the original on 19 October 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  12. ^ Green Party of Ontario, Annual General Meeting, 22–24 September 2006: page 13.
  13. ^ "History". University of Guelph. Archived from the original on 4 May 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  14. ^ Election 2007 Archived 29 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Tindal, Chris (17 May 2009). "Chris Tindal » Frank de Jong to step down as Green Party of Ontario leader". Christindal.ca. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  16. ^ Ontario's Greens pick Mike Schreiner as new leader, Globe and Mail, 14 November 2009
  17. ^ Jones, Allison (14 May 2018). "Ontario's Green party releases platform focusing on energy conservation". Canadian Press.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Help move proportional representation forward by writing a letter to the media outlets in favour of including the Greens in the TV debates". Fair Vote Canada. Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ Board, Star Editorial (21 May 2018). "Star Editorial Board: Guelph voters should consider making history and sending the Greens' Mike Schreiner to Queen's Park". Toronto Star. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  20. ^ Laidlaw, Maggie (25 May 2018). "Is Guelph Going Green?". Guelph Mercury. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  21. ^ Powers, Lucas (3 June 2022). "Ontario's Progressive Conservatives sail to 2nd majority, NDP and Liberal leaders say they will resign". CBC News.
  22. ^ MuskokaRegion.com (2 June 2022). "'Simply incredible' Progressive Conservative Graydon Smith new Parry Sound - Muskoka MPP". MuskokaRegion.com. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  23. ^ "Greens win 2nd seat in Ontario as Aislinn Clancy wins Kitchener Centre byelection | Globalnews.ca". Global News. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  24. ^ https://gpo.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Constitution-and-Bylaws-AGM18.pdf#page12 [bare URL PDF]
  25. ^ "About the GPO". Green Party of Ontario. Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. ^ a b c d "Building Livable and Affordable Communities: The Green Party of Ontario's housing strategy". Green Party of Ontario. Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ "Roadmap to Net-Zero: The Ontario Greens' Climate Plan" (PDF). Green Party of Ontario. Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ a b "Building a more caring Ontario: Ontario Greens' Mental Health Plan" (PDF). Green Party of Ontario. Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "The Green Plan: New solutions to old problems" (PDF). Green Party of Ontario. Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ a b "It's time for homes you can afford in communities you love". Green Party of Ontario. 6 January 2024. Retrieved 13 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ Fraser, Justine (6 March 2024). "MPP for Kitchener Centre introduces first private member's bill that aims to protect Ontario renters". CityNews Kitchener. Retrieved 13 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. ^ "Housing needs a range of solutions. Ontario's Greens propose a way forward". Toronto Star. 28 June 2021. Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  33. ^ "Ontario Greens renew call to end offshore wind moratorium". Green Party of Ontario. 11 December 2023. Retrieved 21 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. ^ Jones, Allison (24 August 2023). "Ontario Green Party leader calls for public inquiry into Greenbelt land removals". Canadian Press. Retrieved 21 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  35. ^ "Schreiner calls on PCs to restore paid sick days". Green Party of Ontario. 19 February 2020. Retrieved 17 June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  36. ^ "Green Party of Ontario Candidates and Results 1995 Provincial Election". 25 October 2009. Archived from the original on 18 October 2009.
  37. ^ "Green Party of Ontario Candidates and Results 1999 Provincial Election". Archived from the original on 18 October 2009.
  38. ^ "Green Party of Ontario Candidates and Results 2003 Provincial Election". Archived from the original on 19 October 2009.

External links[edit]