Federal Green leader urges Mike Schreiner to think twice about Liberal offer

Federal Green leader urges Mike Schreiner to think twice about Liberal offer

Ontario’s Green Party leader is being urged to stick to his roots even as Mike Schreiner considers running for leadership of another political party in the province.

Schreiner is being courted by a group of Ontario Liberals, who have released an open letter urging him to consider quitting the Ontario Green Party and getting into the race for Liberal leadership since the party trying to rebuild her brand after two painful election defeats.

While Schreiner was set to embark on an unofficial listening tour and speak to Liberals, Greens and voters in his Guelph reit, a prominent Green Party member suggested he stay.

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Federal leader of the Greens, Elizabeth May, who called Schreiner a good friend, offered her opinion on whether Schreiner should take the liberal leap.

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“He needs to make the right decision and have a larger group of Green Party members in Queen’s Park because Ontario needs him to fight what Ford is doing to the Greenbelt, to fight for real climate action, to fight for what the Liberals are for keep climate policy appropriate,” May told journalists in Ottawa.

“This isn’t Mike’s party, this isn’t my party.”

In an interview with Global News, Schreiner denied holding talks with the Ontario Liberals but said he had been urged to join a larger political party with a stronger electoral history since the June election, resulting in a resounding victory for Doug Ford led Progressive Conservatives.

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“People have come up to me for the last six months and said, ‘You should consider running for Liberal or NDP leader,’ and I said no.”

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Though unconvinced at first, Schreiner’s stance appeared to ease after receiving the letter from a group of former Liberal cabinet ministers, former leadership candidates and a current Liberal MP asking him to consider the unprecedented move.

“You know what I’m thinking? From the letter I read, there is at least one group of liberals who envision a new liberal party and invite me to join this conversation,” Schreiner told Global News.

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“I felt like I owed it to people to at least consult and at least have a conversation about, you know, how we could do politics differently.”

When asked about his personal political ambitions and whether he would like to become prime minister, Schreiner said he was motivated by a desire to advance a green agenda.

“My personal ambition is to really advance the issues that are close to my heart,” said Schreiner. “Obviously, forming a government would be the most aggressive way to advance this agenda.

“And that’s certainly how I think about it when I think of the kind of Ontario I want to live in.”

The letter continues to divide liberal insiders

The open letter to Schreiner continues to draw scorn from liberal party insiders, who have expressed concerns that the request could tarnish the party’s brand.

“We present the NDP and Doug Ford with this perfectly wrapped gift where (we) have such a chasm internally about what liberalism means to us that we have moved from one direction to the other,” said Liberal strategist Sharan Kaur .

“And the idea that they’re trying to recruit him as some sort of savior to save the party as a leader kind of put everyone off.”

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Kate Graham, a two-time Ontario Liberal candidate and one of the signatories to the letter, does not believe Kaur’s view is a “fair criticism” of the proposal.

“The Ontario Liberals had two really tough elections. I have walked in both. It’s been very hard, how brutally hard, to see, especially in 2022 – fewer voters are voting and the Ford government is being given a bigger mandate,” Graham said. “So we need to do something dramatic.”

“Mike has built a very grassroots party. They could do a lot with a little. We need to be able to do those things now too,” added Graham.

While Schreiner didn’t give a timeframe for when he might make a decision, Graham says the Liberals who signed the letter have little insight into what comes next.

“I don’t know how this movie will end.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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