This is Our Moment

 

Reflections on the #Morrice2019 campaign launch party

Last Thursday night was definitely a special evening: to have over 500 people join me, Elizabeth May, Mike Schreiner, and our whole team as we celebrated the launch of this campaign was poignant and inspiring.

Photo credit: Dave Klassen

Photo credit: Dave Klassen

It reminded me of another special night: the very first event Sustainable Waterloo Region ever hosted. It was just over ten years ago, in January 2009. After months of talking with people across our community about our dream of businesses becoming part of a local network for climate action, we brought people together for the first time. 200 people showed up in a blizzard.

Sustainable Waterloo Region inaugural Education Breakfast, January 2009

Sustainable Waterloo Region inaugural Education Breakfast, January 2009

And then, like now, the real success of the event wasn’t just in the turnout, but in the magnitude of the response from our community afterwards.

Green Economy Hubs (missing: London ON, launched in May 2019)  Source: Green Economy Canada’s 2017/18 Annual Report

Green Economy Hubs (missing: London ON, launched in May 2019)
Source: Green Economy Canada’s 2017/18 Annual Report

In the case of Sustainable Waterloo Region, that first event was the catalyst for all the ways our community came together to launch the first-ever Green Economy Hub a few months later. In the days and weeks that followed, the organization received its first coverage in The Record, corporate sponsors confirmed their support, we raised $200,000 in the midst of a recession, and business leaders gave us input on the rules for how businesses would later set their carbon targets. The organization would go on to work with dozens of companies that employed 14% of Waterloo Region’s workforce within just five years, and the approach has been replicated in six other communities in the years since.

Fast forward to last week. While I’m elated by what happened on Thursday night, this once again not only because of who showed up, but because of how enthusiastically people responded.

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On Thursday, I shared with attendees that it’s time we be honest with ourselves. That despite the progress we’ve made over the past ten years, we need to listen to what scientists, Indigenous leaders, young people and economists are urgently telling us: we are living in a pivotal moment, and the status quo is insufficient. Almost half of Canadians are on the financial brink (BNN Bloomberg). Home ownership is out of reach for most in Kitchener, and we are living through a climate emergency of our own making. The cost of this crisis is projected to soar to anywhere from $21 - $91B per year by 2050 (National Roundtable on the Environment & the Economy) and we must cut our carbon in half in less than 12 years, if we are to sustain human life on this planet (IPCC).

In light of this, I said that we can be better. We can dream bigger. We can rise to meet the scale of the challenges we face.

As a community, we can bring to Ottawa ideas that reflect the time we’re living in: for example, an economic mobilization at the scale of a Green New Deal for Canada, which could include a shift to 100% renewables, high speed rail, universal access to affordable and energy efficient housing, and a guaranteed liveable income, in place of billions in fossil fuel subsidies and lost corporate tax revenue.

And I shared my offer to residents across Kitchener Centre: that we can choose hope over fear. That, together, we can build a campaign worthy of our neighbours’ support.

I closed by offering attendees this choice:

  • They could either wait until August, September, even October, and decide for themselves at that point whether we had built enough momentum to earn their support.

  • Or they could choose to be part of it now, with us, and contribute to the momentum we’re building together. I called this ‘active hope’.

The response? It was incredible. Minutes later, 32 people committed a combined $23,400 to our campaign, moving us to over 70% of our fundraising goal for fully engaging with residents across the riding over the coming months. 14 people offered to host informal kitchen conversations in their homes, 16 more offered to be part of the campaign team and 39 asked for lawn signs.

Photo credit: Dave Klassen

Photo credit: Dave Klassen

And that was just on the first night of the campaign. In the days that have followed, even more have come forward and offered to be part of our campaign.

All of them actively choosing hope over fear.

All of this which affirms for me: this really is our moment.

That across Kitchener Centre, we are ready to dream bigger. Just like we were ten years ago when so many rallied together to start Sustainable Waterloo Region.

Today, so many are ready to stand together again, to ensure we leave our kids a generational gift, instead of a generational debt.

And because of this, every day, we move closer to building a winning campaign in Kitchener Centre, and bringing big ideas to Ottawa.

152 days to go. Together I know we can do this.

Mike

 

What happens when we dream bigger

In late April, Sustainable Waterloo Region hosted their 10th annual Evening of Recognition, and they couldn’t have picked a more fitting location than evolv1: Canada’s first net positive carbon multi-tenant building.

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It’s a building that was first discussed almost ten years ago, just down the road at the Accelerator Centre. I was in the thick of a brainstorm with about a dozen SWR team members. As a team, we had just come out of a year-long journey starting the organization, in the midst of the 2008 economic recession - showing that businesses were ready to show leadership in the midst of the climate crisis. That they could save money, reduce their carbon footprint and grow the clean economy at the same time.

That night, we decided it was time to be bold, and together we began dreaming bigger about the impact we could have. On the list of ideas?  The aspiration that we could build a space for the clean economy to thrive in, embodying the future we were all aspiring for - right here in Waterloo Region.

On my way in to the Evening of Recognition a couple weeks back, an old friend stopped me, looked at evolv1, and asked, “Mike, how does this feel?”

I told him that it felt wonderfully familiar: evolv1 had only moved from idea to reality because so many people across Waterloo Region – from both the private and public sector – were willing to join us in dreaming bigger. A way of thinking that is baked into the DNA of this community.

The results are incredible. The building, with 2,000+ solar panels and an innovative geothermal well system, generates more energy than it uses. It has a living wall made up of 4,500 plants that provide clean air for occupants. And it provides a healthy, collaborative space for the people that go to work there every day.

All of which started with our community being willing to dream bigger.

As we set out on this campaign now, I’m reminded of the evolv1 journey, and how we’re dreaming bigger again.

It starts with the premise of our campaign: that if we are going to meet the scale of the economic and climate crises we face, we need to dream bigger about the solutions. We need to consider bold ideas like a made-in-Canada Green New Deal, and bring together unlikely allies as we raise our collective ambition.

We’re also dreaming bigger about how together, we can create our own political reality. I’m not shy to point out that in the 2015 election, the Green Party in Kitchener Centre only received 3% of the popular vote. While this time around, we’ve made clear we’re building a campaign that can win, and we’ve scaled our efforts and resources accordingly. In response, I’m hearing from more and more people who are saying that yes: this is our moment. That this time around, they intend to vote for what they are for, rather than the fear of what they’re against. At a time, and in a riding, where we can win.

So, as we set out on this ambitious journey together, it all does feel very familiar.

This Thursday, we’ll come together again to dream bigger. Though this time, it won’t be a dozen people squatting in a small meeting room. This time it’ll be hundreds of us. My friends Elizabeth May and Mike Schreiner will be there - friends who also know what it’s like to dream bigger, and what’s possible when we do.

I hope you’ll consider joining us. Everyone is welcome and registration is online here. Because once again, I feel that together, we’re at the outset of something special. Something that could in turn inspire others across the country. That time when a community stood up and said: we can be better. We can dream bigger. And we can do it together.

Mike

A New Reality Is Possible

As many of you may have already heard, something special happened on Vancouver Island Monday night.

Paul Manly ran a campaign focused on bringing people together from all political stripes. On ensuring our kids inherit a clean, healthy environment. On building the green economy.

And he won.

Manly celebrates with his family after results come in for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith by-election in Nanaimo, B.C., on Monday, May 6, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

Manly celebrates with his family after results come in for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith by-election in Nanaimo, B.C., on Monday, May 6, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

Just as Mike Schreiner did in Guelph last year, and as 8 Green MLAs did on Prince Edward Island last month.

For me, and our campaign, this reinforces our conviction: we are in a pivotal moment, and people in Kitchener Centre, and across the country, are looking for change.

Mike Morrice, speaking with Kitchener Centre residents this past week.

Mike Morrice, speaking with Kitchener Centre residents this past week.

Last weekend, it came up while we were knocking on doors: that integrity, honesty and thinking longer term are so important to our neighbours.

This continues to be our opportunity to truly do politics differently: to bring people together, rather than divide. To prioritize the next generation ahead of the next political cycle. To dream bigger about the solutions to our most pressing challenges: for example, by talking about a Green New Deal for Canada.

Now, it’s our job, to show that in Kitchener Centre, we can build a winning Green campaign. At a time when our neighbours, and voters across the country, are clear: they’re ready for a campaign like this.

If you’d like to be part of it, there’s no better time than now. Elizabeth May and Mike Schreiner will both be at Catalyst-137 for our campaign launch party next Thursday May 16, and everyone is welcome.

Registration is online here

I hope to see you on May 16 as we kick off this historic campaign.

And my thanks to Paul Manly, the many volunteers that were part of his campaign, and for people across Nanaimo-Ladysmith - for showing us what is possible, and for coming together around what matters most: acting decisively to secure a bright future for generations to come.

The time is now

Here. We. Go.

Last Wednesday night, more people came out than ever before for a Green Party nomination meeting in Waterloo Region. The venue reached capacity before the event even began.

It was a momentous night. If you were there, I’m sure you felt it too.

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Green Party members in Kitchener-Centre voted to support a campaign about raising our ambition to meet the scale of the challenges we face.

A campaign committed to meeting those challenges in a way that strengthens our economic security, restores our ecosystems, and truly improves the well-being of Kitchener-Centre residents, and all people in Canada.

A campaign we intend on winning. A campaign where the Green vote will be the strategic vote.

For more on the night, check out some of the early media coverage:

This is now our campaign.

A big thanks goes to an incredible group of people that have already put their time into our campaign to-date: Jennie, two Sarahs, Sean, Jeff, Sara, Steve, Emma, Richard, Emily, Kathy, Puninda, Amanda, Claire, Greg, Katie, Aaron, Christal, Ryan and Rosalind.

Many more of you have offered to contribute and asked when would be the right time to do so.

The time is now.

There are three contributions that are most needed, right now:

1. Stay connected: If you’d like to continue receiving updates on our campaign, today there are three ways we are communicating most often. You can do any or all of the following:

2. Join the team: We are now focused on building the core team that will lead this campaign, changing the conversation in Parliament by being among the ridings in Ontario that will elect a Green MP for the first time ever.

  • I’m keen to speak with anyone interested in being part of this core team, wherever you may live.

  • I’m looking to have 10-20 people contributing 10-20hrs/week each, leading all aspects of the campaign: from social media to technology to event planning.

  • Please email me if you’re interested (mike@morrice2019.ca). I’d be glad to find a time to chat in the coming days.

3. Donate: I announced a goal on Wednesday that is as ambitious and achievable as our campaign: to have $100,000 raised in less than two weeks, by Thursday March 21. We have already raised 11% of our goal over the past few days.

  • If just 250 people contribute $400 (of which $300 is tax refundable) over the next 7 days, we would be fully funded, right from the beginning – a game-changing level of support.

  • Donations can be made online here.

  • Donations of up to $1600 are allowed by law, while contributions of any amount are welcome, needed and appreciated!

Last, please know that if these options don’t fit for you right now, don’t worry.

Those that follow on Facebook, Twitter or join our mailing list will hear from me in the coming weeks and months as other ways to support emerge – from door knocking to videography to research. If there’s a particular way you’d like to be involved down the road, please let me know.

Thank you, again, for your support and encouragement to date. It’s gotten us to this point and I know that, together, it will bring us to a historic night in October.

With gratitude and excitement,

Mike