Green candidate Mike Morrice elected in Kitchener Centre

Green Party candidate Mike Morrice won the riding of Kitchener Centre Monday evening. The race was a tight one after the Liberal incumbent ended his campaign to re-election, following an announcement the party had dropped him as their candidate.

'I'm both exhausted and kind of exhilarated,' Morrice said early Tuesday morning

Green candidate Mike Morrice will be elected in Kitchener-Centre, CBC News projects. (Mike Morrice)

Green party candidate Mike Morrice was elected to represent Kitchener Centre early Tuesday morning. 

Morrice took about 34 per cent of the riding's votes, with 95 per cent of ballots counted. 

"It's a bit surreal," Morrice told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo just before 2 a.m. 

"I'm both exhausted and kind of exhilarated." 

He is the first Green MP to be elected in Ontario's political history. As of early Tuesday morning, the only other projected win for the Greens was former leader Elizabeth May, in her riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands. Meanwhile, Green Party leader Annamie Paul lost her bid to win Toronto Centre

Morrice first ran in the 2019 federal election, but came in second to then-Liberal MP Raj Saini.

Saini, dropped out of the 2021 race following allegations of unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate comments. Saini denied all the allegations as "unequivocally false" but said he would no longer run for re-election, although his name remained on the ballot. 

Conservative candidate places second

Conservative candidate Mary Henein Thorn was in second Tuesday morning with about 25 per cent of the votes. 

In third was NDP candidate Beisan Zubi, with 18 per cent of the vote. 

Incumbent Raj Saini got about 17 percent of the vote, despite halting his campaign. Diane Boskovic of the People's Party captured seven per cent of the vote and Ellen Papenburg of the Animal Protection Party had 0.3 per cent of the vote.

Top issues in Kitchener Centre

As candidates in the riding knocked on doors this campaign, they were asked about climate crisis, housing, the opioid crisis and economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this election, Morrice said housing was the issue he heard about repeatedly from voters from all walks of life. 

"There are so many folks in our community, so many neighbours who need, and have been calling out for, meaningful action when it comes to addressing the unaffordability of housing and rising rent prices," said Morrice, who added other priorities include the climate crisis and healthcare. 

Watch the panel of 2021 Kitchener Centre candidates:

PANEL: Kitchener Centre federal election candidates

3 months ago
Two candidates in Kitchener Centre - Green party candidate Mike Morrice and NDP candidate Beisan Zubi - discuss their top issues in this federal election. 19:18

History of riding

Saini first won the Kitchener Centre seat in 2015. That year, he beat the incumbent, Conservative Stephen Woodworth, with 48.78 per cent of the vote to Woodworth's 30.36 per cent of the vote.

Woodworth held the seat from 2008 to 2015. In 2008, he beat then Liberal MP Karen Redman. Redman had been the MP for the riding in 1997, when she beat the Progressive Conservative's John Reimer.

The riding was created in 1996 from parts of two other ridings: Kitchener and Kitchener-Waterloo.

(Elections Canada)

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