There wasn’t much news coming out of last month’s Federal Election, but history was made locally up the road in the riding of Kitchener Centre. That district is the home of Mike Morrice, the first candidate from the Green Party of Canada to be elected to the House of Commons from Ontario. Last week, Morrice appeared on CFRU’s Open Sources Guelph to talk about making history and what happens now.
“There is no secret sauce. To me, what was important was just putting in the work,” Morrice said about his victory last month. “It’s a pretty humbling experience, but I think there were a number of people that created the space to do the work and focus on democracy, first and foremost, and then politics second, which is a big reason why I chose to run with the Greens, and I had that agency to actually listen.”
Morrice said his election was also a result of playing the long game. He ran in Kitchener Centre in 2019 and he finished in second place riding a nation-wide increase in popular support for the Green Party. In 2021, Morrice had a further advantage once the Liberal incumbent Raj Saini dropped out of the race after the nomination period closed, and enhancing Morrice’s credentials given his past a community activist.
“So many people said, ‘I know you can win, tell me about the impact you can have as a Green MP,’ so we heard that shift in the tone and in the conversation having run before in 2019,” Morrice said. “I think I will be a better MP this time than if I was elected last time because I’ve had more time to listen and host roundtable conversations, spending time stuffing harm reduction kits at a local clinic and things like that. I think when I look back on all of those experiences, they made me better prepared to be a strong voice for our community.”
Morrice will also be a strong voice for the Green Party as it tries to rebuild post-election. Nation-wide support for the party collapsed last month forcing the resignation of now-former leader Annamie Paul just a little over a year after she was acclaimed at a virtual party convention.
“I do recognize the position of influence I have in the party, I recognize my privilege, and I recognize that I have a role to play in conversations across the party in this rebuilding stage,” Morrice explained. “I recognize that I’ve got a role to play as it relates to ensuring that Green voices are heard from across the country, and I will be engaging in some of that. There’s a lot to bring to the table as it relates to serving our communities as well, and putting democracy first. This is where Greens are really needed at this time of high partisanship.”
In terms of his first moves as a newly elected Member of Parliament, Morrice will be joining fellow Green MP Elizabeth May and the rest of the Canadian contingent going to COP26, the annual climate change conference that’s taking place next month in Glasgow. Morrice says that he hopes to fight for the maximum amount of action on climate change as part of the national team.
“Both domestically and internationally, we’ve got an important voice at the table when it comes to following the science, and we don’t need to be ideological about it, and we don’t need to be partisan about it,” Morrice said. “I just don’t care about whether one plan is better than some other government’s plan, that’s not the yardstick. The yardstick has always been, and continues to be, to follow the science and listen to what scientists, Indigenous leaders and young people have been calling out for, and that’s what I intend do.”