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​​by Isabel Mosseler
Tribune

Mike Schreiner is not new to West Nipissing – he’s been to Sturgeon Falls a few times - but West Nipissing may be unfamiliar with him. The leader of the Green Party of Ontario (GPO) made a pit stop in Sturgeon Falls last week, March 27, as part of a 20-city tour of the province to share the “Green Vision for Ontario,” and to let people know that there is an alternative. It was his 48th interview in five days to promote the GPO policy platform. “It’s our vision of how we’ll fight for jobs, people and planet,” he said.

The stop in Sturgeon Falls was a last minute addition as he travelled from North Bay to Sudbury. As of yet, there is no candidate in the local riding of Timiskaming-Cochrane, but Schreiner said he’s planning on running a full slate. “We’re meeting our targets to achieve that, and we’re on target for 50% women and 10% youth candidates. We want to make sure we have diverse voices and perspectives to talk about GPO policy and also influence how our party approaches priorities.”

The Liberals and Progressive Conservatives also haven’t declared their candidates in the Timiskaming-Cochrane riding yet; they will all have to face incumbent New Democrat John Vanthof.

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Schreiner insisted the GPO is not only about the environment, but also about jobs and people. “I just toured a bio-products facility … in Sarnia taking forest by-products and converting them into plastics, so we can do without using fossils fuels… It’s a win for everyone, a great way to create good middle class manufacturing jobs, a win for reducing greenhouse gas pollution and solving climate change, and it’s a win for the forestry industry as well because we’re sourcing products from Ontario rather than importing fossil fuels from other provinces or countries. That’s the kind of 21st century economy we are fighting for,” he stated.

In the north, Schreiner said he’s very excited to have David Robinson, head of the Northern Ontario Economic Institute, as the candidate for Sudbury. “He’s been writing a lot of proposals …how do we have more autonomy and decision making in the north for northerners? A big part of that is restoring the Ontario Northland Service… If we want to combat climate change, we need to be investing in transportation services for people; options like rail service. And there is huge opportunity in forestry and mining.” Given the history of West Nipissing, how a local mill was sold to a US company and then shortly thereafter de-commissioned, he said, “Exactly! That’s why I’m not in support of selling our companies to the US [based corporations].”

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