While the other three parties fight for power in this election, saying and doing whatever it takes to bring down the others, something special is happening in Guelph, Ont. People are starting to realize that they don’t have to settle for the status quo.

Guelph is my home riding. It is an inclusive, caring community. We’ve led on a number of sustainability issues from conserving water to waste reduction, community energy to local food.

"It’s time we stopped voting for the least worst party and started demanding real change – people powered change," says @MikeSchreiner in pre-election op-ed for @NatObserver #onpoli

Now we have a chance to lead in doing politics differently. To put people over power. To elect Ontario’s first Green MPP.

Ten years ago, few Canadians believed a Green could be elected. Then Elizabeth May proved them wrong. Just over a year ago, three Green MLAs earned the balance of responsibility in B.C. And a few months ago, no one would have predicted the Greens would be leading in any riding in Ontario, but today the polls are saying I’m the frontrunner in Guelph.

As we enter the last days of this tumultuous campaign, I want us to take a deep collective breath and talk about what’s best for our communities today and for our children's future.

Too often our election conversations stray to strategic voting – voting for what you don’t want in order to avoid something you don’t want even more. The outcome is demoralizing as we end up with governments that don’t represent our vision for what Ontario should be.

Like many of you, I’m frustrated by politics as usual. Frustrated by parties that promise one thing to get your vote, but then do another once elected. Frustrated by politics that is too much circus and not enough substance.

My goal is to do politics differently.

To provide a vision for this province for now and the next seven generations. To be honest not only about our vision, but also how we are going to pay for the public services we want.

Our Green vision includes protecting the people and places we love, making mental health supports available to everyone regardless of means, fighting to ensure that one in five new housing units is offered at truly affordable rates, and building world class transit while being honest about how to pay for it. I offer no false promises, but rather an eye on the future and our feet on the ground.

Instead of offering artificial subsidies and expensive band-aids to paper over a broken energy system, I’m willing to have an adult conversation about the real reasons we are paying so much for electricity in this province.

This starts by recognizing that the best solution to address rising bills is to help you save money by saving energy. We also must push back on nuclear lobbyists and say no to rebuilding expensive outdated nuclear plants when we can get water power from Quebec for a third less.

And I’m deeply concerned just how little talk there has been from the status quo parties about how to replace the 300,000 lost manufacturing jobs across southwestern Ontario. We need to skate to where the puck is going and not where it’s been. We need a real plan to tackle climate change that includes embracing the $6 trillion clean tech economy.

In this election, your vote counts.

I truly believe that the only wasted vote is one you don’t believe in.

Your vote for the Green Party is a vote for jobs, people and planet – but whether you choose the Green Party or not, I hope you will vote for the candidate you believe will best represent you and your community.

It’s time we stopped voting for the least worst party and started demanding real change – people powered change.

In this election, in Guelph, we have a chance to make history. I promise, if elected, to work across party lines, represent Guelph first and hold the government to account.

I’m ready to take a seat at Queen’s Park and signal to the rest of Canada that the people of Guelph and the people of Ontario know that a different way of doing politics is possible.

On June 7, vote for what you believe in.

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