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Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner launches the party's election platform at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday May 13, 2014. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner launches the party's election platform at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday May 13, 2014. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ontario Greens set out platform focusing on ‘jobs, kids, environment’ Add to ...

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner says his party would save money by merging all Ontario’s school boards into one single system.

Setting out his party’s platform today at Queen’s Park, Schreiner identified “jobs, kids and the environment” as the three main priorities.

He says combining the public and Catholic school boards into one single French and English system would save $1.2 to $1.6-billion every year by cutting out duplicated administration, busing and buildings.

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He says the school system is long overdue for an overhaul and the move would address human rights concerns and allow more money to be invested in classrooms.

As for jobs, Schreiner says the Greens would lower payroll taxes on small businesses by doubling employers’ health tax exemption and then pay for that by raising tax rates on Bay Street corporations by one per cent.

He says small businesses would benefit from having the health tax exemption doubled, because they could then double their payrolls without paying taxes on those jobs.

“If lowering corporate tax rates – which the Liberals and the Conservatives are putting forward – were the solution to our jobs problem, we wouldn’t have a jobs crisis in Ontario,” he said.

On the environment side, his party wants to focus on building transit and investing in energy-saving options for homeowners.

Schreiner took aim at the other party leaders, specifically NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s call for reductions in the provincial part of HST – which Schreiner says the province cannot afford – and PC Leader Tim Hudak’s job creation plan.

“Hudak (is) calling for a million jobs when we have 555,000 people unemployed in this province,” said Schreiner.

“I guess that’ll go to 655,000 once he cuts 100,000 jobs and I believe it’s this kind of political games and magic math that’s turning people off politics.”

“I want people to know that there is a fourth option – a political party that’s on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and good public policy to Queen’s Park.”

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