5 Reasons Why Mike Morrice is the Best Choice in Kitchener Centre
We’re two days from the 43rd Canadian Federal Election and everyone is starting to make their final decisions. I’ve thought a lot about this over the last three months, talked directly with two candidates, and volunteered with one, so I thought I’d write down some of my own thinking in the hopes it can help inform others. I’m convinced that Mike Morrice is the best pick in our riding. Here’s five reasons why.
1. The race in Kitchener Centre is Green vs. Liberal
There is a lot of talk about strategic voting to avoid a Conservative government in this election. The good news is, Kitchener Centre is one place where you don’t have to worry about that and can vote your conscience. Although Kitchener used to be held by Stephen Woodworth, an arch-conservative, the redistricting in 2011 moved most of his voters out of the area, and he doesn’t have a big enough base here anymore to win. The only public polling available for this district puts his voter share at 23%, far short of what would be necessary to win.
I’m a lifetime NDP voter, so when I was doing my own research I took a close look at their campaign in Kitchener. I was disappointed to learn that the federal NDP have completely written off this riding and invested almost no resources in winning it — they didn’t even open a full-time campaign office. I think this is because the party is strapped for cash this election and had to focus on a smaller number of ridings than normal. I understand and hope they do well in those ridings, but they aren’t going to win in Kitchener.
The Green Party on the other hand has put a huge amount of resources into Kitchener, and the Morrice campaign has been absolutely on fire. They started working in May, months before some parties even nominate a candidate, recruited an army of 300+ volunteers, and have knocked on 30,000+ doors (there’s about 45,000 housing units in Kitchener). The campaign office is a buzz every afternoon and evening with canvassers, phone callers, and greeters. Through sheer effort and dedication they bootstrapped themselves into second place as of the beginning of October. With all the work Mike, the staff, and volunteers are putting in I’d bet a lot of money they’ve closed most of the gap to the Liberals by now.
2. Mike is Awesome
I started canvassing with the Morrice campaign in late august. I had done a bit of canvassing before. Usually what would happen would be: groups of 1–3 volunteers go out, knock on doors on a block, inform people about the candidate, and try to identify people who will vote for you. People are at best polite, listen to what you have to say, and if they (already) like your candidate, they’ll say yes to a lawn sign.
But on the first day I went out with this campaign I could tell what was happening here was different. First of all, Mike himself came out with us. For most campaigns this would be a special, maybe once a week thing, or even just once in a whole campaign when the cameras are ready. But as I kept canvassing, Mike kept coming out, almost every day, doing the grunt work himself and introducing himself in-person to the riding. I’m told he personally has been knocking on 500 doors a week since May, and has worn through two pairs of shoes doing so. The dedication and work-ethic that shows is something I haven’t seen in a candidate before.
Another thing that struck me was, when Mike was at a door with us, it wasn’t a normal canvassing conversation, where you’re just trying to get that phone number or lawn sign. He was listening to people, genuinely and enthusiastically asking what issues were important to them, or what the challenges were in their life. Most of the time people found they had a lot of overlap with Mike’s ideas. In some cases they had some very real disagreements, but even in those conversations most people found they had more in common with Mike than different.
Beyond my own impressions, Mike has the right background and experience to represent us. He‘s lived in Kitchener since 2003. He went to Laurier for business, and has spent the last decade of his career on climate activism, founding Sustainable Waterloo Region in 2008, and Green Economy Canada in 2013.
3. Mike has the right priorities
As I understand it, Mike shaped his priorities through his conversations with voters, at their doorstep, at their kitchen table, or at other events. I’ve found through my own experience canvassing that almost everyone can find a lot to like in this platform, and some things that resonate with them deeply. Here’s a couple that I think are particularly important.
One experience I’ve heard over and over while canvassing is that people are finding it harder every year to make ends meet. It’s no secret why: housing prices have gone up by 50% in Kitchener in just four years, other necessities like food, gas, and childcare are getting more expensive all the time, while real wages have been stagnant for years. The greens have put a lot of thought into how to reverse these trends, including a livable-income guarantee, reinvestments into affordable housing, and reducing out-of-pocket costs from healthcare and senior care. I think their plan is the best out there.
Mike and the Greens are the best party on climate change, period. They are the only ones who take the climate crisis as seriously as it needs to be taken, rejecting half-measures, and setting bold targets with serious plans to meet them. If you are worried about what kind of climate your children or grandchildren will live in, these are the best people to get this done.
Canada’s healthcare system is good, and I think as Canadians most of us are really proud of it, but at the same time we all know it fails in some important areas. That’s why the greens have prioritized a few major improvements to the system that we have. First of all, Universal Pharmacare, so we never have to experience sticker-shock on important medicine ever again (like most of us have at least once). We desperately need to improve Mental health services — it’s still too expensive to find and see therapists, and many of our treatment modes are still based on science from the 60s and 70s. And we can improve the ways we take care of our parents and grandparents. The population is ageing, and I’ve heard from dozens of people that elder-care is becoming harder and harder. We can do better.
Democracy means something different to everyone, but in this case I think it is first an attitude, and then policies that come from it. The attitude is something like: top down forces dominate Canadian politics today, and we should fight to make them more bottom-up. There are a bunch of policy expressions of this attitude. Mike’s support for electoral reform is one, so we can finally move past the first-past-the-post system that means most Canadians don’t have representation in government. Another is the fact that Mike can freely choose how he votes on legislation, unlike in every other major party, where votes are decided by their leader (more on this in the next section). Finally, there’s a thing Mike talks about which he uses the word “Integrity”. This seems to mean something along the lines of: be honest with people, don’t pretend you have a magic wand that can fix peoples problems, but work your ass off to try to do so anyway.
4. Mike will represent Kitchener, not a federal party office
One thing that I like a lot about the Green Party is that they don’t “whip votes”. What this means is that when Liberal, NDP, and Conservative MPs vote on a bill in the House of Commons, they are usually told by their party leader how to vote, and if they refuse they are either kicked out of the party or are disciplined some other way.
I don’t like this for a lot of reasons, but mostly I think MPs should be accountable first to their constituents, and only later to their party leader. It’s not hard for you or me to get our MP on the phone, or at least email them, to ask them to vote a certain way, or tell them about how some issue is affecting us. But how are any of us individually supposed to get Justin Trudeau on the phone? It’s impossible.
With the Green Party, MPs are responsible first to their constituents, and second to the party. This means that Mike decides how he votes, not Elizabeth May, and it means that we can get him on the phone, or find him at the office, and tell him how issues affect us. No other option in Kitchener Centre will put a person in Ottawa whose can truly represent you and me.
5. A green seat here can make an astronomical difference
It’s highly likely that this election will end in a minority government, meaning two or more parties will have to make a power-sharing agreement in order to form a government. I think this is really exciting, because the smaller parties like the Greens and NDP can wield a lot of power in these scenarios and get some real things done, like serious action on the affordability crisis, climate change, or electoral reform.
This is really important to know in Kitchener centre, because for the first time ever, our riding could carry the balance of power in the federal government. I’m not overstating this. Mike himself could be the deciding vote on the biggest issues of the next decade, and while Liberal MPs take their orders from the party, you, me and everyone else in Kitchener Centre will be the ones who Mike listens to the most. That’s an incredible deal for us, and there’s simply no one else running in Kitchener Centre who can offer it to us.
So that’s why I’m supporting Mike Morrice in Kitchener Centre. I think he’s the best option, and it’s genuinely exciting that we could have someone like him representing us in Ottawa come November!
Thanks for reading, I hope this post helped you form your election-day decision at least a little bit. If you’re interested in learning more about Mike, check out his website, especially if you’d like to donate or volunteer. And as always, make sure you vote! You can find information about how to vote in Kitchener-Centre on this page from Elections Canada.