Will Guelph go Green? Schreiner hopes for historic win
Published Monday, June 4, 2018 7:15PM EDT
While Doug Ford, Andrea Horwath and Kathleen Wynne have visited far-flung corners of Ontario over the past month as they’ve attempted to court voters, Mike Schreiner has taken a different approach.
The Green Party leader has spent virtually the entire election campaign in Guelph. It’s his home riding, and it’s where he finished third in the last provincial election – far back from Liberal winner Liz Sandals, but only about 800 votes shy of the second-place Progressive Conservative candidate.
By spending the campaign on home turf, Schreiner has been making a big bet that the voters of Guelph will decide to support him. He says he’s particularly buoyed by hearing from many supporters that they simply don’t see any other party for which they want to vote.
“There’s a lot of dissatisfaction with the establishment parties,” he said in an interview.
If Schreiner is elected as Guelph MPP, he will be the first Green member ever sent to Queen’s Park. He’ll also be the first candidate elected under a banner other than Liberal, NDP or PC since 1995, when a former NDP member was voted in as an independent in the St. Thomas area. (To find someone claiming to represent a specific party other than those three, you have to go back another 20 years.)
Running on a platform that includes a universal basic income, OHIP coverage for mental health services, closing the Pickering nuclear plant and adding tolls on 400-series highways, the Greens’ proposals are significantly more sweeping than those proposed by any of the three larger parties.
However, the possibility of a Green government appears to be extremely remote at best, meaning voters may pick Schreiner or some of this other candidates as a way to simply signal support for new ideas.
The Greens are getting support from Guelph residents like Tony Molesworth, who said Monday that he believed some traditionally Liberal voters would turn to the fourth party following Kathleen Wynne’s admission that the Liberals won’t form the next government.
“I think it’s time that the Green Party got a seat,” he said.
Guelph-area residents have voted for the same party that went on to form the government in every election dating back to 1987.
Other major-party candidates running in Guelph include former city councillor Ray Ferraro (PC), performing artist Agnieszka Mlynarz (NDP) and former Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis Centre executive director Sly Castaldi (Liberal).
With reporting by Natalie van Rooy