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Mike Schreiner responds to Liberal plea for a greener leader

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Ontario Green Party Leader and MPP for Guelph, Mike Schreiner, said he is going to take time to "think about the arguments" following an open letter requesting him to run for the Ontario Liberal Party leadership.

The letter, published Sunday to Twitter and signed by a group of Liberal members including former cabinet ministers, is urging Schreiner to run in the party’s leadership race. It states that the party needs to, “rediscover a politics of purpose and principle.”

It is signed by forty Ontario Liberal members, but wasn’t officially endorsed by the party itself.

Former cabinet minister Kate Graham, who finished third in the 2020 Liberal leadership race, tweeted the letter with the hashtag ‘DraftMikeSchreiner’ and includes a link to a website, DraftMike.ca, meant to garner support for the campaign.

Local Liberal organizer Bryan Stortz and former cabinet minister and Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy are among those that signed the letter and want Schreiner to take a run at the party’s leadership.

“We are a part of eight seats,” said Milloy, in an interview with CTV News. “The only way we can be successful is to grow. We’re not some exclusive club where you need to pay your dues. What we should be doing is reaching out non-stop and trying to get new blood, new energy, new people involved.”

Milloy added, after two poor showings in provincial elections where the party has failed to achieve official party status at Queen’s Park, it’s time to do politics differently.

“A number of us came together and said, ‘Look, we always talk about doing politics differently,’” said Milloy. “‘What if we really did?’”

SCHREINER RESPONDS

Schreiner broke his silence on Monday with a statement saying, “I’ve always said that I have no ambition to lead any party other than the Ontario Green Party…I’m going to ask people to give me time to think about their arguments.”

Schreiner added that he needs time to know what his constituents in Guelph, colleagues in the Green Party, and people across Ontario think about this letter. He concluded by saying that he’s focused on his constituents and protecting the Greenbelt.

"My ambition is to put forward the issues I've been fighting for as leader of the Ontario Green Party," said Schreiner. "Taking urgent action on the climate crisis, addressing housing affordability, and expanding mental health services.

"I'm looking to consult with people about the best way to expand on these issues for them at Queen's Park."

LIBERAL LEADERSHIP CAMPAIGN

The Liberal leadership race hasn’t officially begun, with the date of the campaign set to be announced at the party’s annual general meeting scheduled for March 3 – 5.

John Fraser is serving as the party’s interim leader following the resignation of Steven Del Duca in the wake of the last provincial election held on June 2. Under Del Duca, the Liberals managed to pick up one more seat.

Over the last few months, Schreiner — who was the first Green MPP to be elected in Ontario in 2018 — has been combatting rumours that he will run for leadership of the opposing party.

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