It has been an historic night for the Green Party of Ontario.
Leader Mike Schreiner has been elected MPP for Guelph, marking the first win by a Green Party representative.
The Green Party have failed to capture a seat in the Ontario legislature since the party formed in 1983, but they did not run a full slate of candidates until the 2007 election.
Schreiner responded to his historic win saying, “I just want to thank the people of Guelph for making history tonight. I’m so excited to work hard for this community and to be a champion for Guelph.”
He adds he intends to reach out to Premier-elect Doug Ford to ensure he keeps his promise on issues important to the Green Party, including climate change.
“As Ontario’s first Green MPP, I will help develop policies in Ontario to solve the climate crisis in a way that benefits our economy and also benefits people in our communities,” he said.
When asked what it means for Ontario to have elected it’s first Green MPP, Schreiner said, “It says that Guelph, in particular, is leading the change for a sustainable future. I think that’s spreading across the province. I think this is a great opportunity for Ontario to say ‘Let’s embrace the clean economy, let’s leap into the future now and let’s work hard to protect the people and places that we love.'”
The 2007 Ontario election has been their most successful result in the popular vote, winning over eight per cent.
They lost some support in the following elections, dropping to two per cent in 2011 and almost five per cent in 2014.
In the 2018 election, they captured just over 4.5 per cent of the popular vote.
Incumbent Liberal MPP Liz Sandals for Guelph did not run in this election.
The Green Party has had some vocal supporters over the 2018 election campaign including protesters who showed up to both live candidates debates. Schreiner was not included in either debate.
Instead, he live-tweeted his answers to the candidate questions during the CityVote debate and the consortium debate.
Earlier Thursday, Schreiner told CityNews all the people who have volunteered on his campaign have really inspired him, ““We have had over 500 volunteers be a part of this campaign they are all so passionate and committed and working really hard. They are really just inspiring me.”
He also said a Green MPP could mean some big changes, not only in Guelph, but in Ontario.
“I think so many voters in this campaign have been dissatisfied with the three status quo parties and they are looking for change,” he said. “If we can elect that first green seat and I show people that politics can be done differently that will inspire them to be more engage in politics and elect more greens in the future.”
The federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May responded to Schreiner’s win, extending a hearty congratulations.
“Mike Schreiner will be an outspoken advocate for Green values and a tireless champion for the people of Guelph,” said Ms. May. “For years, he has been a leader on issues such as campaign finance reform, protecting Guelph’s drinking water and food supplies and supporting small business. He goes to Queen’s Park with bold ideas and a willingness to work across party lines to make Ontario a better place to live, work and play. His collaborative approach is badly needed in this era of cynical and extreme politics.”