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Ford 'has declared war on the modern world,' says Green Party leader

Mike Schreiner addressed party faithful at Green Party convention in Barrie

The Green Party of Ontario held its convention in Barrie on Saturday and their leader, Mike Schreiner, stressed the need to mobilize members of their communities.

“What we need to do today, tomorrow and the next four years (is) we need to organize, organize, organize. Those are our top three priorities," he said. 

Approximately 180 members registered for the convention with around 150 attending the event at the Holiday Inn and Conference Centre on Fairview Road.

Schreiner’s keynote address, which was rescheduled to earlier in the morning due to Premier Doug Ford recalling the legislature for a Saturday sitting, had a congratulatory tone throughout after he made history by winning a seat in the last election, a first for the party.

Schreiner also stressed that “even though I’m speaking at a Green Party convention, I recognize that my No. 1 priority is being MPP for the people of Guelph.”

There was no shortage of frustration expressed about the recent actions of Ford.

Schreiner described Ford as “a leader who has declared war on the modern world” in reference to the new sex education curriculum and the cancellation of the basic income pilot project. He also spoke about using his seat in the legislature “to reach out and talk to the other parties about working together for the people of Ontario.”

In his closing remarks, he challenged the party to “get ready for 2022. I want friends at Queen’s Park, I want Green MPPs at Queens Park.”

Mathew Lund, a party member from Barrie, noted that having the convention in Barrie was significant.

“Keenan Aylwin and Bonnie North were such inspirations throughout the last election," Lund said. "Obviously, Mike Schreiner was the rallying point for the entire party, but next to Mike, Keenan and Bonnie were just absolutely phenomenal and have made the ridings here a pillar of the Ontario Green Party for us.”

When asked about why Barrie was chosen for the convention, Schreiner said “we rotate around the province, so this region was this rotation’s turn, and Barrie is a great city with a strong Green presence with two fantastic candidates in Bonnie and Keenan.”

North ran in the Barrie-Innisfil riding while Aylwin was the candidate in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. 

Schreiner's focus for the province is to create jobs in the ”clean economy” and noted that it is the biggest economic opportunity of our generation. Protecting water and farmland is also very high on his agenda as well as protecting green spaces and natural heritage.

“How do we create jobs that put the people and planet first?”

His thoughts on having been called back to the Ontario legislature by the premier this weekend?

“First of all, I’m happy to be back to work on a Saturday, I work every Saturday anyway, so it’s no big deal to me. However, the premier’s priorities are completely misplaced," said the Green Party leader. "We should be going back to Queen’s Park to talk about how we reverse the biggest one-month job loss Ontario has faced in a decade, instead of some petty, personal political battle over the size of Toronto city council.”

The Ontario Green Party’s convention and annual meeting began on Friday and runs through Sunday where they are shaping party policy and plans for the next election.