It's time for MPs to work together and tone down the rhetoric, Kitchener Centre's Mike Morrice says
'The message I'm getting from our community is just figure out a way to work together,' he says
Kitchener Centre MP Mike Morrice says there shouldn't be any talk about a possible federal election right now.
"I certainly hope that's not where we end up. I don't think anyone in our community wants that," he said, pointing to the recent provincial election and the upcoming municipal election this October.
"The message I'm getting from our community is just figure out a way to work together."
Morrice sat down with CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's Craig Norris, host of The Morning Edition, for a wide-ranging interview on his first 10 months as an MP (the full interview can be heard at the bottom of this article). It's part of a series of summer interviews planned with local MPs.
"I think it is important for parliamentarians to find ways to work together to get some things done. Dental care would be one example in that agreement that is really important to our community," he said.
"We talk about universal health care, but we don't have it: from mental health to eye care to teeth."
He said he would also like to see the tone in the House of Commons change to one that's more civil.
"When I think of question period, Grade 5, 6 students watching this and seeing the heckling and the name calling, I think if we can turn that down a little bit, turn down the rhetoric right now," he said.
"How many times have we heard the word dictator used in the House of Commons? Treason."
Morrice says the heckling by his fellow MPs didn't surprise him, but there have been times — particularly during the protests in Ottawa and debate of the Emergencies Act — when the level of vitriol was higher than he anticipated.
WATCH | Kitchener Centre MP Mike Morrice on his biggest win of the last 10 months.
He'd like to see that change.
"We can disagree without being disagreeable," he said.
"I think if we have more parliamentarians who are trying to bring a reasonable tone, not play to some base of donors you're trying to raise funds from, but the wider communities that MPs are elected to serve," Morrice said.
"I'm going to try to role model that as best I can and and work together as best we can, because I don't think an election anytime soon makes any sense."
Morrice was also asked about the Green party's leadership race and confirmed he will not be running.
"My sense is, there's so much more I can continue to do as an MP and I feel like a lot of members of our community, in the promises I made them, I said I was going to focus on our community and being a voice for our community," he said. "So to me, it would seem a bit disingenuous to shift now to run for leader of the party."
Candidates have until Aug. 5 to put in applications for the party leadership and a new leader should be in place by the end of November, Morrice said.
"One of my criteria for assessing who is the right person to step into this role is whether that person has the chance to win a seat. I do think it's important that over time that the leader of the party has a seat in the House of Commons," Morrice said.
Calls to fund homelessness, mental health supports
Morrice says he's been vocal of the federal government's need to provide funding to help municipalities deal with many issues, among them homelessness and mental health.
"In the most recent budget, there was some money set aside for co-op housing. Not a new idea, but a great idea. We know that that works. But there needs to be so much more from the federal government," he said.
He was critical of the government when the April budget didn't include more funding for mental health supports.
"The Liberals in the last election promised this new Canada mental health transfer — billions of dollars to the provinces. In the budget there wasn't anything," he said.
"When I criticize, I am aspiring to say, you know what, you promised to do it. Can you just follow through on what you told Canadians you were going to do? Because that's the funding that we really need."