Map of Kitchener Centre federal riding

Five Questions on Sustainability: Kitchener Centre

Reep posed five questions on sustainability to each of the candidates in Waterloo Region. The responses for the candidates in the Kitchener Centre riding are below. Please see the original post Five Questions on Sustainability for information on the other ridings.
In this Riding
Mike Morrice (Green)
Mike Morrice headshot

We are at the beginning of a crucial decade for climate action. If elected, what meaningful actions will you take to combat the climate crisis?

As a Green MP, I will work hard, across party lines, to ensure Canada sets science-based targets that will effectively curb the effects of climate change. This includes:

  • Setting more ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets so we can reach net-zero by 2050.
  • Legislating legal emissions limits for industries. The science tells us we must reduce emissions 60% by 2030 to stay on track, a doubling of the Liberal’s plan.
  • Stopping investing taxpayer dollars into fossil fuel subsidies, pipelines, and new projects.
  • Instead investing those funds towards long-term solutions like renewable energy and a just transition including worker retraining.

I have a proven track record of bringing people together – across parties, with all levels of government, and with businesses and not for profits to create significant results. I helped lead the shift to a green economy in Waterloo Region and across Canada by first founding Sustainable Waterloo Region in 2008, and Green Economy Canada in 2013. Both organizations are dedicated to helping businesses and organizations reduce their carbon impact while increasing profits.

Achieving our community’s interim GHG reduction target of a 50% reduction by 2030 (based on 2010 levels), will require bold and immediate actions from the federal government. What specific federal policies/actions would you work to implement, to enable greenhouse gas emission reductions and help municipalities reach that target? 

I fully support this reduction target, and know we need all levels of government working together to meet GHG reduction targets. Each is responsible for different areas of policy that impact our community’s emissions. In particular:

  • Greening our electricity grid – We must ramp up renewable electricity, and eliminate all fossil fuel electricity generation by 2030. This requires us to start by eliminating energy waste.
  • Completing a National Building Retrofit – at the scale of a Green New Deal – to make residential, commercial, and institutional buildings carbon neutral by 2030.
  • Creating access to clean transportation– This includes pushing for more public transit like light rail, electric buses, and high-speed rail. It also means ensuring all new vehicles are electric by 2030, expanding incentives and charging stations, and replacing existing combustion engine vehicles by 2040. Improved walking, bicycle, and other active transportation must be prioritized.
  • Affordable housing intensification – to enable lower income households to live in areas with access to public transit: https://mikemorrice.ca/blog/homes-for-people

In addition, we need financial support for municipalities for climate change adaptation. The federal government must take leadership from the Region of Waterloo and City of Kitchener – municipalities who have strong climate action strategies.

We know that home energy usage, especially heating, is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. If elected, how will you help people make their homes more sustainable? 

Canada was once a world leader on climate change. Unfortunately, as a country, our emissions have increased the most of the G7 countries since 1990. Our government needs to once again set ambitious targets, invest in the low-carbon economy, and ensure that this transition benefits everyone. I would work to:

  • Continue and improve funding for the current government retrofit program so homeowners, landlords, and tenants have options to lower their impact and bills through one-time investments.
  • Expand the retrofit program to include no or low interest loans to enable people to implement recommendations immediately, making energy savings more accessible to everyone.
  • Create significant, long-term incentives to homeowners.
  • Provide training and workforce support for un or underemployed individuals to work in retrofitting and other solutions.

I helped set an example for the region by initiating and collaborating on the construction of Evolv1, the first office building to receive the Zero Carbon Building- Design Certification from the Canada Green Building Council. The project demonstrated a design that could operate with a zero-carbon balance and designed onsite renewable energy systems and is one that can be replicated for multi-unit dwellings in addition to office buildings.

Tackling climate change is going to require both preventing further change and adapting to the effects we are already feeling. If elected, how will you help provinces and municipalities prepare for the increased storms and heat waves of climate change?

I will support:

  • Funding for municipal climate adaptation including the feasibility and installation of green roofs on municipally owned buildings to combat urban overheating and alleviate stormwater runoff
  • Policies so our critical conservation authorities can focus on the work they are meant to be doing
  • The conservation of riparian or buffer zones and preserving natural areas through rehabilitation initiatives and protection policies
  • Climate-proofing essential infrastructure, prioritizing upgrades to drinking water and wastewater systems to protect against flooding, droughts and contamination.

The Green Party of Canada’s Mission Possible further states: ”Invest significant resources in adaptation measures to protect Canadian resource sectors such as agriculture, fishing and forestry from the ravages of climate change. Review all infrastructure investments for adaptation to climate change. Map flood plains, tornado corridors and other areas of natural vulnerability and adjust land use plans accordingly.” 

How will you help low-income Canadians move towards a low-impact, carbon neutral future?

We know that in addition to meeting the basic need for shelter, housing is a social determinant of health, impacting all other areas of a person’s life. By creating jobs through retrofitting and energy solutions, and decreasing energy consumption in housing for low-income neighbours, we are not only providing opportunities for increasing income, but are decreasing their energy bills, ensuring their overall housing is even more affordable. I will work collaboratively with other MPs to:

  • Push for a Green New Deal that leaves no one behind, and creates a better present and future for us all.
  • Create programs for workers and supporting a just transition – According to trade union research, this will create over four million jobs.
  • Expand affordable housing intensification – that give lower income households access to public transit: https://mikemorrice.ca/blog/homes-for-people
  • As mentioned above, expand retrofit programs to include no or low interest loans, making energy savings more accessible to everyone.
Beisan Zubi (NDP)
Beisan Zubi headshot

We are at the beginning of a crucial decade for climate action. If elected, what meaningful actions will you take to combat the climate crisis?

I recognize that we are facing an emergency when it comes to the climate crisis. That is why the NDP will create a Climate Emergency Committee of Cabinet and establish a strong Climate Emergency Secretariat in the PMO. We will set a target of a 50% reduction by 2030 (based on 2005 levels), in line with climate science. To help us achieve this target we will work with partners to establish multi-year national and sectoral carbon budgets, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, and make carbon pricing fairer while rolling back loopholes the current government has given to big polluters. 

Achieving our community’s interim GHG reduction target of a 50% reduction by 2030 (based on 2010 levels), will require bold and immediate actions from the federal government. What specific federal policies/actions would you work to implement, to enable greenhouse gas emission reductions and help municipalities reach that target?

On top of the broader actions listed previously to help Canada reach a 50% reduction by 2030 we will change the National Building Code to ensure that by 2025 every new building built in Canada is net-zero. And we will set a target of retrofitting all buildings in Canada by 2050 – beginning with upgrades to all buildings built before 2020 in the next 20 years. 

To help reduce emissions around transportation we will help any municipality interested in build towards fare-free transit while electrifying transit and other municipal fleets by 2030. We will develop a public inter-city bus system to replace the defunct Greyhound services. We will also support creating high-frequency rail along the Quebec-Windsor corridor. 

We will also focus on powering Canada with net-zero electricity by 2030, and move to 100% non-emitting electricity by 2040. 

All of these initiatives will help municipalities and their residents reduce major sources of emissions. To reach our emission reduction goals we will need every level of government to pull together, an NDP government will be a willing and enthusiastic partner in this. 

We know that home energy usage, especially heating, is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. If elected, how will you help people make their homes more sustainable? 

Our investments will create more than a million good jobs in a first mandate. These jobs will include a focus on energy efficiency retrofits, renewable energy, and infrastructure.

Tackling climate change is going to require both preventing further change and adapting to the effects we are already feeling. If elected, how will you help provinces and municipalities prepare for the increased storms and heat waves of climate change?

We have already seen many of the impacts of climate change over the past few years. To respond to this we will work with provinces, municipalities and Indigenous government to make sure that communities have the resources they need to cope safely with extreme weather events. We will create a National Crisis Strategy that will help communities plan for and adapt to the changing climate. The strategy would be supported with long-term funding for adaptation, disaster mitigation, and climate resilient infrastructure. We will also expand federal funding to respond to disasters, and support communities in proactively adapting their infrastructure to withstand floods, forest fires and other extreme weather events. 

Additionally, we will also work with the agricultural sector to help them adapt to climate-induced weather changes and other impacts of the climate crisis.

How will you help low-income Canadians move towards a low-impact, carbon neutral future?

Our plan for building retrofits means that renters will have their homes become more energy efficient, helping them reduce their personal emissions. 

Transit is also key to helping low-income Canadians move towards low carbon living. Our plan to support free transit will help these Canadians access transit while our goal of fully electrified transit by 2030 will means that this will be one of the most climate friendly ways to move around the city.

Notes: Mary Henein Thorn (Conservative) did not respond to Reep’s email survey. Former candidate Raj Saini withdrew from the election.